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Andy Ruiz Jr. – Can Teddy Atlas turn his career around?


By Kenneth Friedman: Former IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. is considering using grizzled veteran trainer Teddy Atlas as his new coach to replace Manny Robles. This will be a gamble on Ruiz’s part if he does choose Atlas, as it might not be the ideal situation for him.

It would be a good idea for Ruiz to give Atlas a test run by using him for a month or so before making a decision whether to keep him permanently as a coach. What Ruiz doesn’t need is to have a trainer that he can’t stand personally.

By now, Ruiz should have a good idea of the kind of coaching style that works for him. It’s important that Ruiz find a trainer that he can relate to, and not someone that is going to be a control freak.

The fact that Ruiz still doesn’t have a coach to replace Robles suggests that he might not be back in action in the first half of 2020. Ruiz doesn’t have an opponent for his next match. #1 WBC contender Dillian Whyte (27-1, 18 KOs) has been calling Ruiz Jr. out, but it looks like that match isn’t going to take place. If Ruiz wants the fight with Whyte, he’ll need to make a coaching decision quickly.

No opponent yet for Ruiz’s next fight

Andy rejected the offer from Whyte’s promoter Eddie Hearn, and presumably the second offer, if there was one, wasn’t to his liking either.

“andy_destroyer13: You didn’t want any smoke so I moved on to the next opponent. Big announcement coming soon,” said Ruiz in dismissing Whyte as an option for his next fight.

Ruiz need to get back in the ring soo though, since it might be idea for him to be staying inactive and gaining a lot of weight that will be pure torture for him to melt off.

Some see Atlas as more of a motivational coach than an X and O’s type of guy, and that may not be a good fit for Ruiz. There’s a very good chance that Ruiz Jr. will quickly tire of Atlas’ in your face confrontational style.

Atlas likes to get his fighters hyped up in between rounds, and it’s unclear if that approach would work with Andy. The last thing Ruiz needs is for him to get worked emotionally, and then walk into a big shot from the likes of Anthony Joshua, Dillian Whyte or Deontay Wilder. Ruiz must be smart when he faces those types of fighters.

Atlas is a good coach, he’s no guarantee of future success for Atlas. A trainer can only do so much for a fighter, especially if they’re not able to control their weight in between fights.

West coast trainer might be better fit for Ruiz

Atlas is just one of a number of trainers that Ruiz Jr. (33-2, 22 KOs) is considering for the job to turn his career. Andy lost to Anthony Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) in their rematch last December in Saudi, and the effort that he put in was less than spectacular.

At 283 lbs, Ruiz looked bad going into the fight, and even worse during it.  It might be too much of a culture shock for Ruiz to go with Atlas with his high intensity coaching style. Ruiz seems pretty placid, but he’s probably not going to like Atlas sitting on his stool when he goes to sit down in between rounds.

Atlas is likely going to be blunt with his disapproval of Ruiz if he sees something he doesn’t care for with the way he’s training. That’s positive. You always know where you stand with Atlas, but if Ruiz doesn’t like the way he talks to him, it won’t be surprising if he starts blowing off training days. That could be the beginning of the end for Atlas as the coach for Ruiz.

If Atlas can’t help Ruiz control his diet, then this working relationship will go nowhere. It doesn’t matter how great of a trainer Atlas is, Ruiz has got to take ownership of his diet, and learn to walk away from the kitchen table.

Ruiz’s fortune may sink his career

There’s no point in having Atlas as a trainer if Ruiz is going to eat whatever, party, and be casual about his training. That’s the bad thing about fighters suddenly coming into a lot of money. Oftentimes their careers quickly go downhill. Joshua is one of the few that have made a massive amount of money, and he’s still working hard. Deontay Wilder is another.

The money hasn’t destroyed Joshua’s ambition. Some would argue that the money has taken away Tyson Fury’s drive, as he’s dressing nicely, and talking about wanting to retire after 3 more fights. Would Fury be talking about retirement if his bank account was empty? Probably not. Ruiz has made so much money in a short period of time from his 2 matches with Joshua that it must be tough for him to focus on his craft. Atlas won’t change that, and neither will any other trainer.

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