Ruiz vs Dimitrenko: Can Andy Ruiz Jr. Still Make It To The Top?

By James Slater - 03/08/2019 - Comments

Former WBO heavyweight title challenger Andy Ruiz Junior, last seen pounding out a wide decision victory over the rarely stopped (as in twice) Kevin Johnson back in July, is all set return to action for just the third time since his closer than close decision loss to Joseph Parker. “The Destroyer,” still only 29 years of age, will face the big Alexander Dimitrenko on a big card in April, and Ruiz will hopefully be aiming to put on a show to remind the fans how good he is.

Ruiz, he with (arguably) the fastest hands in the current heavyweight division, also has underrated punching power, a good chin and, when he’s in shape, a good engine. Ruiz should have beaten Parker, yet he inexplicably faded, or at least stopped pumping out punches, in the closing rounds. Now, if he has retained the desire and the ambition to win a world title, Ruiz should be able to bag a win over Dimitrenko, 41-4(26) and last seen being stopped by Bryant Jennings in August of last year – and then move on.

Ruiz will be giving away plenty of height and reach against Dimitrenko (6’7” to 6’2”), but that’s about all. Ruiz, 31-1(20) is seven years the younger man, he is fresher, he has never been stopped (Dimitrenko has been halted on three occasions) and he is the faster man. But if he does beat Dimitrenko, what then for Ruiz? Hopefully the naturally gifted and talented contender will stay active, far more so than last year, when he had just two fights (the year before, Ruiz didn’t box at all) and will then get himself into the mix at top level.

If he shows he means business next month there could be plenty of good and meaningful fights for Ruiz. Maybe, in facing the giant Dimitrenko, Ruiz is auditioning for a shot at lineal heavy champ Tyson Fury – Bob Arum at least used to rate Ruiz quite highly, after all. It’s not over yet for Ruiz, despite his inactivity and lack of a high profile. Can Ruiz still make it to the top, to a world title? Again, it will depend largely on the fighter, and on the fight left inside him.

If Ruiz is as motivated as he was when he was taking care of good/decent fighters like Joe Hanks, Elijah McCall, Tor Hamer and Franklin Lawrence, who knows, maybe he can get in there with a big name, a champion even, and put it all together. Or maybe Ruiz, if he does get another big chance, will let himself down again the way he did against Parker. It’s been pretty frustrating being a Ruiz fan, that’s for sure. Now is the time for the man from Imperial, California to get his act together in a big way and make each fight count.

There are plenty of heavyweights out there who would kill to have the natural abilities Ruiz has.