Andy Ruiz Jr defeats Liakhovich, looks poor
By Dan Ambrose: #3 WBO, #8 WBC, #13 IBF heavyweight contender Andy Ruiz Jr (23-0, 17 KOs) put in a workmanlike performance last Saturday night in defeating former WBO heavyweight champion Sergei Liakhovich (26-6, 16 KOs) in beating him by a 10 round unanimous decision at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona.
The fight was a lot closer than it was expected to be, as Liakhovich had no problems taking the slow power shots thrown by the flabby looking Ruiz Jr. The final judges’ scores were 98-92, 96-94 and 99-91.
A fair score for the fight would be 96-94 in favor of Ruiz Jr, because he was for all intents and purposes gassed out by the 3rd round. Ruiz Jr’s power and work rate dropped off significantly by the 3rd, and he looked like he was fighting on fumes from that point on. The two fighters clinched constantly with little in the way of action.
Ruiz Jr looked like he was carrying around at least 30 pounds of excess flab on his frame. You have to wonder how good he would be if he lost that weight and trimmed down to a solid 240. Ruiz Jr, 6’2”, weighed in at 267 pounds for the fight, and that’s far too much weight for him. With the way that Ruiz Jr was waddling around last night, he would do well to put in some cardio and cut down on some carbs to trim down to a lower weight.
Sadly, this was the toughest opponent of Ruiz Jr’s career in facing 38-year-old Liakovich, and it was disappointing that Ruiz Jr could never hurt him. This is the same Liakhovich that Deontay Wilder knocked out in only one round last year in August. Wilder made easy work of Liakhovich, which kind of shows you the gulf between Wilder and Ruiz Jr.
It’s unclear what Top Rank’s endgame is with Ruiz Jr. Are they just looking for a payday fight for him to challenge for a world title where he gets annihilated or do they really think he has a chance at winning a world title? If they really think he has the talent to win a world title then they need to convince him to take off some weight, because he’s far too overweight to compete with the likes of Wladimir Klitschko.
For that matter, Ruiz Jr would likely be in a world of hurt if he were to get in the ring with either Bermane Stiverne or Deontay Wilder. Ruiz Jr was wide open for anything that Liakhovich threw last night. His head was like a door stop for Liakhovich’s punches. You can only imagine what Deontay Wilder and Stiverne would do to a guy like Ruiz Jr without him having any defense, hand speed or stamina.
I see Ruiz Jr as basically a three-round fighter at best, and he just doesn’t belong fighting against the top guys, in my view. He’s a knockout waiting to happen once they put him in with a good heavyweight. The weight needs to come off in a big way if he wants to improve his stamina.