Trainer Manny Robles is still pretty upset at former IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. for him slacking off and not putting a full effort into his December 7 rematch against Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia. Robles reveals that he was embarrassed at the condition that Ruiz Jr. (33-2, 22 KOs) showed up for at the weigh-in the day before the fight.
Ruiz weighed in at 283 pounds and was far off from the 268 pounds that he weighed in the first fight against AJ in June of 2019. Even that weight wasn’t ideal, but infinitely better than the 283lbs that Ruiz Jr. came in for the second match against Joshua.
With Ruiz being severely out of shape, Joshua took advantage of it by winning a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision in their rematch in Saudi. Ruiz Jr. then subsequently cut Robles loose as his trainer and signed on with Eddy Reynoso, the guy that trains Canelo Alvarez.
Reynoso is going through a hot phase in his career as a trainer, thanks to Canelo. Like a lot of trainers, Reynoso may cool down once Canelo is shot or retired. Switching trainers could be a pointless endeavor if Ruiz Jr. doesn’t have the discipline to show up to his training sessions daily.
Robles: It wasn’t the perfect camp
“It was nothing like the first camp,” said Manny Robles to Boxing Social on Ruiz’s training camp for his rematch with Joshua. “What helped us a lot in the first fight [against Joshua] was coming off of the Dimtrenko fight. So he had no time off.
“He had a week off. When we beat Joshua, he had three months off. I didn’t see him. I’m not his babysitter, and I’m not his dad. I don’t deal with the guy, and I didn’t see him. And I was in my gym working with my boxers as I usually am.
“I didn’t see him until he showed up at the gym, and we started going again. But he wasn’t in good shape, and he wasn’t in the right place. I think with him winning the belts and beating Joshua, it was very overwhelming for him, and he didn’t know how to handle it.
“It was too much to handle. I also take responsibility. When a fighter loses, we all lose as a team, and we have to hold ourselves accountable. It was unfortunate, but it wasn’t a perfect camp, and he wasn’t 100%. It showed on the scales on the day of the weigh-in, and it showed in the fight,” said Robles about Andy Jr.
Going from rags to riches would be hard for anyone, but it was too much for Ruiz to deal with going into the rematch with AJ.
It’s an understatement what Roblems says about it not being the perfect camp for Andy going into the second fight with Joshua. For Ruiz to slack off like that, he had to have believed that he would still be able to pull out the victory. After all, it had been so easy the first time he fought Joshua, so it’s entirely shocking that Ruiz didn’t train hard.
The trainer didn’t see Ruiz for three months
“I did see him on a couple of occasions,” said Robles when asked if he saw Ruiz Jr. after his win over Joshua before he started training camp for the rematch. “We visited the president of Mexico together, and maybe a couple of more times when he had his parade in his hometown. I was invited to that. I was invited to another couple of events.
“I didn’t see him for three months without him, not training, not doing anything at all. His head was in the wrong place. I figure when you win that world title, you want to get right back in the gym and defend what’s yours. That wasn’t him. He’ll tell you.
“I’m not telling you anything that you don’t already know. It’s unfortunate, and hopefully, he’ll learn from it and move on and grow. You learn more from your defeats than you do your wins, and you become a better man and better boxer,” said Robles.
In hindsight, Robles should have pushed Ruiz Jr. during that three month period to encourage him to join him in camp, but perhaps might not have worked. If Robles had burned his bridges with Ruiz before his rematch with Joshua, would he have cut him loose a little earlier?
Robles was embarrassed by Andy Ruiz’s condition
“I knew about it prior [to the weigh-in that Ruiz was overweight],” said Robles. “And I was embarrassed and super embarrassed. I felt ashamed. Honest to God, I did everything I could to convince him to get him right on track, but it’s up to the fighter.
“I did the best I could. The team around him, we all did the best we could. His father did the best he could, but it wasn’t enough. His head was in the wrong place. Of course, you can’t.
“You’re hopeful, and you don’t want to lose faith. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that he was in terrible shape because if he were, he would have got knocked out. He went the full 12 rounds, and he did get clipped by Joshua on a couple of occasions, but he took it well.
“He took it like a champ because he’s got heart. He was in decent shape, but he wasn’t in great shape. He needed to make the same weight that he was the first time, but he stopped. He wasn’t consistent in not being in the gym every day, conditioning and sparring,” said Robles.
Even with Ruiz in bad shape, he had his moments in the fight. When he pressed Joshua and landed shots, you could see the same vulnerability in the British heavyweight that existed from the first fight. Unfortunately for Ruiz, he couldn’t press him often enough, and he wasn’t throwing combinations as he did in the first fight.
Joshua coming into the fight leaner and with a different game plan put Ruiz in a bad place, as he didn’t have a new game plan and conditioning was worse. Instead of Ruiz cutting down to 250, which is what he should have done, he let himself go.
Andy Jr. did apologize via text message to Robles
“He was there but not like I expected and not like I wanted him to. I don’t understand,” said Robles on why Ruiz Jr et up. You’re at the top. You’re a world champion, and you’re supposed to be a good role model,” said Manny.
“We weren’t speaking at all,” said Robles about him and Ruiz after his loss. “We spoke in Saudi Arabia, but once we got back in California, he went his way, and I went mine. I was back in the gym the next day, but he fell off the radar.
“I sent him a message. I saw it coming from his father and another person. On the way back from Saudi, I felt like this isn’t going anyplace. Nobody wants to work with a fighter that’s not willing to put in the work. That’s what the situation was.
“I saw it coming, and I felt it was only a matter of time before they reached out to me to say they were moving on. Andy Jr. told me I was his best coach he’d ever had, and his dad said they were sticking with me until the very end.
“When the loss came, everything changed. Andy did send me a text message, apologizing for his behavior. What I respect about Andy is at the post-fight press conference, he blamed himself,” said Robles.
That was a class move on Ruiz’s part to text Robles to apologize, but obviously, it would have been better if he met with him face-to-face or spoken to him on the telephone. It’s hard to imagine a popular fighter like Canelo not speaking to his trainer Reynoso in person if he decided to cut ties with him. In hindsight, Ruiz probably wishes he’d handled it differently with Robles in letting him go.
It won’t be easy for Ruiz Jr to come back
“It’s good, and it’s great,” said Robles on Ruiz Jr. now being trained by Eddy Reynoso. “I think Reynoso is going through a good phase right now. He’s got the best fighter in the world in Canelo Alvarez.
“It’s what Andy wants. I’m not going to get up in the morning and run for Andy. Reynoso isn’t going to babysit Andy., especially when he’s got someone like Canelo. We’re not talking about a little kid here.
“We’re talking about a grown adult. If you want it, let’s go get it. If you don’t, then get out of the way. That’s the situation with Andy. A new coach in Reynoso. He has to discipline himself each day to get back what he once had. It won’t be easy, but it’s possible,” said Robles on Ruiz, coming back to recapture a world title.
It’s going to be extremely hard for Ruiz to come back from his loss to Joshua because he’s not going to get an immediately third fight against him. Indeed, Ruiz Jr. may need to wait until 2022 or 2023 before he gets another world title shot, and even that’s not guaranteed.
Ruiz Jr. will need to put together some solid wins over quality opposition before he gets another world title shot. That means Ruiz will need to risk his neck fighting guys like Luis Ortiz, Adam Kownacki, Daniel Dubois, and Dillian Whyte.