Andy Ruiz vs. Siarhei Liakhovich on December 20th in Phoenix, Arizona
By Jim Dower: #3 WBO, #10 WBC heavyweight knockout artist Andy Ruiz Jr (23-0, 17 KOs) will be fighting 38-year-old former WBO heavyweight title holder Siarhei Liakhovich (26-6, 16 KOs) in a scheduled 10 round bout on December 20th at the Celebrity Theater, in Phoenix, Arizona, USA.
Ruiz’s promoters at Top Rank are taking their time with the 25-year-old Ruiz by matching him slowly against guys that can build up his skill-set and confidence. However, they’re going to need to do something about his weight, because he’s far too heavy to compete against the top tier guys unless he drops a good 30-40 pounds.
In Ruiz’s last fight against Kenny Lemos, Ruiz weighed 272 pounds. He was fortunate to be fighting a weak opponent, because had he been in with a top contender like Alexander Povetkin or some of the other contenders, he would have been picked apart. Ruiz’s weight could make him the next Chris Arreola.
It doesn’t matter how much power he has. If Ruiz can’t get his weight down to at least 240, then he’s going to be too slow to beat the better fighters in the heavyweight division.
Ruiz is listed at 6’2”, but he looks no more than 5’11”, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We saw Mike Tyson fight at a high level with that height, but Tyson had fast hand speed. Ruiz is slow and just a big puncher with limited reach.
Ruiz’s best wins of his five-year pro career have come against Manuel Quezada, Tor Hamer, and Joe Hanks. The Ruiz-Hamer fight might have been more competitive if Hamer came with some fire in his belly, but he looked like he didn’t want to be there in that fight. It would have been interesting to see how that fight would have gone if Hamer fought Ruiz Jr like he did against Kevin Johnson.
Liakhovich has lost three out of his last four fights with all three of the losses coming by stoppage to Deontay Wilder, Bryant Jennings and Robert Helenius. Despite still having good power, Liakhovich appears to be headed towards journeyman territory.
In 2006, Liakhovich defeated WBO champion Lamon Brewster by an exciting 12 round decision to capture his WBO title. Unfortunately for Liakhovich, he lost his WBO title in his first title defense in getting stopped by Shannon Briggs in the 12th round in November 2006.