Four weeks ago, as he was licking his wounds following his rematch defeat to Anthony Joshua, former heavyweight champ Andy Ruiz issued a statement of intent via social media:
“I’ll be back stronger. I WILL be champion once again. I appreciate all the love and support from the true fans. I appreciate the haters as well and can’t wait to prove the haters wrong once again. Back to the gym. Let’s start this journey to the belts,” Ruiz wrote last month.
Okay, that sure sounded like a man on a mission, a fighter with a genuine desire to right a wrong, right? Well, for a man on a mission, a man who “can’t wait” to prove the haters wrong and get “back to the gym,” it is perhaps worrying, at least a little, that here, well into the first month of the new year, Ruiz is on vacation still – nowhere to be seen near a gym. Manny Robles, who spoke with Sky Sports, said he is not even sure if he and “The Destroyer” will continue their working relationship.
Ruiz has not been in touch with Robles, while Robles himself says it is not up to him to call his fighter (or former fighter) to see if he wants to train, that this is all up to Ruiz himself.
“I don’t know. That’s for Andy to decide,” Robles said when asked if he will carry on working with Ruiz. “I want to say it is still good. He has gone on vacation and everything seems to be fine. We’ll find out in the near future. At some point, we will speak. If and when he’s ready to get back to the gym, that’s when my job begins. My job is not to call him every day. He’s a man, not a kid, and must be treated as such.”
Ruiz apologized to Robles after the December 7 defeat in Saudi Arabia, freely admitting he did not give his best – either in the ring or in training in the lead-up to the massive return fight. But is Ruiz really sorry, does he really want to make amends? If he really “can’t wait” to get back at it in an effort to, well, make amends for the defeat, a fight for which he came in at an unsightly 283 pounds, then one would quite naturally think Ruiz would be back in the gym by now.
Of course the Mexican-American has time to get fully focused, regain his full motivation and then get back to work in the gym. But if you’re a Ruiz fan – and with his style, his fast hands and his overall talent and skill, it’s easy to like Ruiz – are you not at least a little bit concerned or worried that he is still not back to work? All fighters are different, of course, but Joshua was back in the gym days after the Dec. 7 rematch.
Can Ruiz, 33-2(22) and still only 30 years old, get the hunger back, the right kind of hunger? Let’s hope so, maybe more for his sake than for ours. We are tired of the Buster Douglas comparisons, but we all know how bad things went for Buster after his overweight flop against Evander Holyfield. Let’s indeed hope Ruiz can get his act back together. If he can, then maybe he can regain those belts.