By Aragon Garcia: Andy Ruiz Jr. is planning on being ready for any possible game plan that Anthony Joshua and his trainer Rob McCracken might have for their rematch on December 7 in Saudi Arabia.
Ruiz’s trainer Manny Robles insists that they’ve put together a number of strategies to deal with the different looks that former IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) might have.
Robles thinks that Joshua might choose to stay on the outside, using his jab and trying to box his way to a 12 round decision victory. However, Robles also believes Joshua could attempt to go toe-to-toe with Ruiz. This would be a move that he might use to surprise Ruiz, because it’s something he would least suspect.
Given that Joshua sometimes is unable to stay on course with the game plans given to him, he might veer off track and go against his trainer Rob McCracken’s strategy of fighting defensively. In that case, Ruiz will be ready for him when he tries to slug.
Ruiz won’t be caught by surprise against Joshua
“The most important thing is that we believe in ourselves that we did it once, and we’re going to have to go out and do it again,” Robles said about Andy Ruiz needing to be confident.
“We cannot allow ourselves to look passed Anthony Joshua. It’s not in our nature to think this way. I wouldn’t allow Andy to think this way. We have Anthony Joshua next, and that’s the only thing in our mind. We have to be ready for everything, and we have to be ready for an Anthony Joshua who might be thinking of going toe-to-toe.
‘But then again, we have to be prepared for Anthony Joshua who might go out there and try to use his height and distance to box and stay away, and try to out-box. We pretty much have to be ready for everything, and we have to have a Plan-A and a Plan-B. And we plan to execute those plans no matter what the cost,” said Robles.
Andy Ruiz isn’t looking to fight at specific weight
“He’s lost some weight absolutely,” said Ruiz’s trainer Manny Robles to IFL TV. “It’s part of the training that you’re going to lose some weight. We’re not where we want to be yet, but we’re close. It’s how Andy is going to feel where he’s at his best. That’s the question.
“It doesn’t have to be a specific weight. Does that make sense? He’s got to feel comfortable, and I’ve got to see where he’s at to where he performs at his best, and catch him at that weight and say this is where we need to be.
“It’s about feeling at your best, particularly him. He’s different. We don’t want to hit a specific weight. Instead, we want him to feel at his best,” said Robles.
Ruiz will be staying in the 260s for the rematch with Joshua, because it’s too hard for him to maintain his strength when he drops below that. Last time they fought, Ruiz showed that he still had better foot and hand speed that Joshua when he weighed 268 lbs.
The weight isn’t going to be a factor for Ruiz in the rematch, because the fight very likely end before the 12th round. Either way, one of these fighters are going to get knocked out on December 7th.
There’s no evidence that it’ll be Ruiz that gets knocked out in this fight. He’s never been stopped, and he has excellent recovery ability. If Joshua tries for a knockout, there’s a good chance that he’ll gas out again, and wind up getting knocked out like last time.
Ruiz wasn’t at his best for first Joshua fight
“I don’t think so,” said Robles when asked if Ruiz was at his best for his previous fight against Joshua on June 1. “Sitting back and looking at the fight now on numerous occasions, I feel like he wasn’t. I feel like we had more to do, and more work to do mentally and physically. And I feel you’ll see a better mentally and physically fighter this time around.
“I think he’s still the same person outside of boxing, but this time around, I think he’s got a bigger responsibility boxing-wise knowing he’s a world champion,” said Robles about Ruiz. “He’s got that sense of responsibility. We talk about that from time to time. ‘Listen, this isn’t about just you anymore. You got a whole country behind you here and in Mexico.’ Not just in the U.S and Mexico, but all over the world.
Ruiz has responsibility to his fans
“He’s [Ruiz] picked up fans everywhere. So we’ve got a responsibility to those people and to make sure we keep those belts. We’re treating the situation a different way,” said Robles when asked about Ruiz’s mentality going into his rematch with Joshua.
It’s difficult to imagine Ruiz being any better in the rematch than he was for his first fight with Joshua, but we could see that. Last time, Ruiz was brought in as a replacement opponent three weeks before the fight, and he had little time to prepare. Condition-wise, Ruiz wasn’t in the best shape that he could be for the Joshua fight.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn says he wasn’t ready because he had been training for a fight against Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller. Still, Joshua had a leg up on Ruiz because he had gone through a full training camp, and he was preparing to fight an opponent around the same size.
Ruiz wasn’t training at all. He was taking it easy after having stopped Alexander Dimitrenko two months earlier on April 20th.
The Destroyer Ruiz views himself as challenger to Joshua
“We still feel like we’re the challengers, and we understand that we hold the belts, and Andy is the champion,” said Robles in saying Ruiz is still the B-side for Joshua. “But we have to train as challengers. We have to remain hungry, and stay hungry. We understand the situation isn’t what we want, but we understand that.
“In this case, we don’t have the upper hand. Anthony Joshua, Eddie Hearn, and Matchroom Boxing, they do have the upper hand . Why because it’s their show. If we had anything to do with where we’re fighting, we wouldn’t be fighting in Saudi Arabia.
Ruiz wouldn’t have picked Saudi Arabia – Robles
“We’d be fighting in America in maybe Las Vegas or Southern California. So this is their show,” said Robles about Ruiz being the B-side opponent for Joshua and his promoters at Matchroom’s show. “With that said, we’re coming in as challengers. We understand we’re not the favorites.
“If you look at the betting now, a lot of people aren’t holding us or thinking we’ll win again. So we’ve got to prove the world wrong, and everyone that does not still believe, we’ve got to make them believe,” said Robles about Joshua and the boxing world.
There’s a lot of suspicion about why Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn wanted to so badly stage the Ruiz rematch in Saudi Arabia instead of in the UK or in the U.S. Some believe that Hearn wants the fight in Saudi so that Joshua will get an advantage over Ruiz similar to how he had things his way against Joseph Parker in Cardiff, Wales.
That’s a fight where the referee didn’t allow inside fighting. Joshua greatly benefited from that, and Parker was helpless to do anything about it.
Ruiz needs to be prepared for any possible tricks Joshua might have up his sleeves on the night. With the fight taking place in Saudi Arabia, there’s no telling what will happen. Ruiz needs to make sure he takes the fight out of the judges’ hands by knocking Joshua out if possible. But that could prove difficult if he’s holding and moving all night long.
If there’s a referee that prevents inside and medium range fighting, Ruiz could be out of luck. Parker never got a rematch after losing to Joshua under suspicious circumstances, and Ruiz may not either.