One thing has become sickening apparent since Andy Ruiz Jr. lost his world titles on Saturday night…there’s simply not much care for how the Mexican-American is feeling.
The horrid fat-shaming and bullying of Ruiz Jr. has become too much of late, with many wading in without any notion why things happened the way they did.
Ruiz Jr. won the world title on June 1st when shocking Anthony Joshua to rip away his four world titles. After years of grafting without anyone taking notice and coming from poverty, they were finally now taking notice of Andy Ruiz Jr.
What many fail to realize is that months prior to the Joshua fight, Ruiz was contemplating quitting the sport altogether.
Leaving Top Rank at the end of a long association without too much to show for it at the age of 29 was disheartening for Ruiz Jr. Then Al Haymon stepped into the breach with a promise to build Ruiz Jr. towards a world title shot in the years ahead.
Withing four months, and after picking up a modest purse for beating Alexander Dimitrenko in his comeback outing, Ruiz landed a big fish.
A huge step up in wages was on offer. A situation Ruiz believed already made him a winner in the sport. Finally able to provide for his family the way he wanted to, Ruiz had nothing to lose heading into the New York clash.
Basically, losing to AJ meant Ruiz had already won. And that’s where the ultimate Eye of the Tiger, plus the perfect storm for an upset emanated.
In front of a massively pro-Joshua crowd at Madison Square Garden, the Mecca of Boxing, Ruiz Jr. took advantage of overconfidence. Joshua put his chin up in the air, obviously without researching the strengths of Ruiz and boy did he pay for it.
Unbelievably, and just six months after thinking hard about retirement, Ruiz Jr. was the unified heavyweight champion of the world.
Add to that the fact that he also became the first boxer of Mexican descent to win the top division crown. It was a double-whammy in terms of overwhelming pressure.
Two full-on weeks of interviews, mixed in with a clutch of parties, saw Ruiz lapping up the adulation. The last thing on his mind was a contracted rematch.
Once the formalities died down, it was onto the spending. Cars, jewelry, gifts for family and a huge house followed. And what do you do with a new house? – You have a house-warming party or ten!
Those two weeks turned into two months. Ruiz next attempted to buy some time as Joshua continually pushed for a rematch venue.
Rankling over the purse, venue and anything else he could manage, Ruiz was stalling as the non-stop celebration continued.
The 30 year-old managed to get another month out of his new lifestyle before the return was on the cusp of being confirmed.
By this time, Ruiz was in advanced party mode. To the point where Ruiz put out a video stating no such fight would take place. A check-boost later, and Ruiz was on board. He tentatively took to the gym.
At one point, the lack of beer and food saw Ruiz shed weight quite easily. This was before smokescreens and mirrors filled the column inches over his poundage.
But somewhere towards the end of camp it all got too much for Ruiz and things went badly wrong. Whether it was the mental pressure or the fact that he truly knew his body wasn’t in the right condition, we may never know the real truth on that score.
What we do know is Andy Ruiz Jr. is a nice guy. He’s a family man. So giving him such a hard time when he’s already dealing with a shattering fall from grace is downright disgusting.
Those experienced in the sport should know better. We should allow Andy to come to terms with the swift and honest end of his Cinderella story before passing such judgment.
I, for one, have no doubts Andy will be back.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News and an Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay