Freddie Roach warns Andy Ruiz over losing weight for Anthony Joshua
By Jeff Aronow: Legendary trainer Freddie Roach says heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. is making a big mistake in slimming down for his rematch against Anthony Joshua on December 7th. Freddie believes that Ruiz’s team wants him to lose weight for the wrong reasons.
Roach thinks that they’re encouraging Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs) to trim down in order to appeal to the boxing public rather than to improve for the second fight against former IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs).
Roach has trained Ruiz before, and he went through the same routine of trying to lose weight. It didn’t work well for him.
Ruiz says he’s at 265 lbs
Despite what Roach says about Ruiz having dropped a lot of weight, he’s saying that he’ only lost three pounds from the 268 lbs. that he weighed for his previous fight against June 1.
If that’s true, then Joshua could be in trouble on December 7th, because he needs Ruiz to be weaker and not as good as he was last time. Losing 3 to 10 pounds isn’t going to make much of a difference for a fighter Ruiz’s size. He’s not a lightweight. A smaller fighter losing 10 lbs would greatly impact their performance, but not a guy that was close to 270 lbs last time he fought.
Roach says Joshua returning to his Olympic style of fighting
“Not really because I trained him as an amateur for five years, and he was a very good amateur,” said Roach to IFL TV about him being being surprised with Ruiz’s win over Joshua. “He puts combination punches better than any big man I’ve ever seen. He is always a little bit chubby, and a little bit fat. People used to make fun of him. In the Olympic trials, he came in second, and almost made the Olympic team, and he’s a very, very good fighter.
“It wasn’t a big shock, no, because I thought Joshua put too much muscle on. He was having trouble going into the late rounds with all that muscle, and I’m really happy that he’s lost a lot of that bulk. I think he’s a much better fighter without that weight because it slows him down. It’s hard to carry all that extra weight for 12 rounds.
“So I like him better in this fight than I did the first time, yes. But now he’s going to go back to his style when he was in the Olympics. He’s going to box and use his jab, and be much more mobile than he was in the first fight. I’m not picking him to win because I know both guys really well. The best man will win,” said Roach.
Joshua losing muscle weight may have more of a negative impact on his performance than Ruiz dropping three lbs. AJ has been hovering in the 240s mostly in the last five years of his career, and he drops before that, it could spell trouble for him.
Ruiz’s team wants him THIN to appeal to public – Roach
“He’s slimmed down quite a bit for this fight, and he’s tried that before,” said Roach. “I remember training him here, and I drove him to Las Vegas to see a dietitian. They wanted him to be skinnier to be more appealing to the public. I said, ‘Yeah, the thing is, he doesn’t fight that well when he’s skinny. I like him better as the chubby one. He fights better, and he’s used to it.
“He [Ruiz] won the title doing it, and now you want to change something all of a sudden,” said Roach about Ruiz looking chubby in beating Joshua weighing 268 lbs. “And he’s been through it before, and it’s something that didn’t work. He knows that for a fact, and he’s already been through that. When I saw how skinnier he was, I was a little shocked. That’s why I gave the other guy [Joshua] more of a shot than I did the first time.
“I think the people in his camp want him to be more appealing to the public. And I say, screw the public. Fight at a weight you’re comfortable at, and fight were you’re used to. He’s always been a chubby kid, but he’s always been a good fighter. I think it’s a mistake for him to lose weight,” said Roach.
The reason why Ruiz’s team wants him thinner is because they know Joshua will try and use movement in the rematch. If Ruiz is close to 270, it’ll make it difficult for him to get to Joshua with him running around the ring all night.
Joshua needs to use his reach and jab against Ruiz
“I just think he needs to use his jab. He has a very good jab, and a long reach,” said Roach when asked what Joshua needs to do to beat Ruiz. “Use his jab, and keep him at the end of his reach and don’t try and knock him out early.
“Just try and outpoint him, and have an idea of taking him out in the later rounds. I feel that with all the muscle gone, he will be able to do that,” said Roach.
Joshua TRIED to use his jab against Ruiz last time they fought, but he flew right passed it like it wasn’t there. Joshua doesn’t have jab that he can pump out repeatedly to keep shorter fighters off of him. But even if he did, you can’t keep a fighter off with just a jab.
It requires movement, power shots, and tying them up. Joshua doesn’t move well, and he’ll get hurt if he tries to grab Ruiz. If Joshua opens up his arms to try and hold, he’s going to be defenseless for a moment. Trying to hold combination punchers is extremely difficult and dangerous.
Wilder too big of a puncher for Luis Ortiz says Roach
“The Cuban fighter [Luis Ortiz] is a tough fighter, but I wonder how old he really is,” said Roach discussing the rematch between WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and Luis Ortiz. “He’s just happy to be in America, because life is so much easier and better for him in this country than it was at home [in Cuba]. He’s definitely a talented guy, and he can punch, and I think that Wilder is too much of a puncher and the better puncher.
“One punch in the heavyweight division can change a lot of things, and the heavyweights are unpredictable. I’m really happy to see the heavyweights are making noise again, because for a little while after [Mike] Tyson, it was kind of boring. Nothing was really going on. But right now, the plots turning. Will Tyson Fury come out the best fighter in the world? I think maybe, yes, but we’ll see,” said Roach.
The southpaw Luis Ortiz (31-1, 26 KOs) will have a puncher’s chance against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) in their rematch on November 23. It doesn’t matter if Ortiz is older than his listed age of 40. He’s still dangerous, and highly skilled.
Roach could be way off with his belief that Tyson Fury will emerge as the #1 heavyweight in the division. Based on Fury’s recent performances against Otto Wallin, Tom Schwarz and Wilder, he’s likely to be knocked out in the rematch with Deontay.