Andy Ruiz’s transformation from 300lb party animal to slimmed-down heavyweight
Andy Ruiz Jr's appearance on the scales before his rematch with Anthony Joshua was as predictable as it was disappointing.
Six months after he had pulled off one of the biggest upsets in boxing history, the Mexican-American sheepishly kept his vest on as he weighed a stone heavier for the sequel.
Conspiracy theories immediately took hold; perhaps the heavyweight had stuffed weights down his trousers? Or perhaps under his sombrero?
The truth, as is often the case, was far simpler; Ruiz Jr had simply succumbed to the unexpected trappings of fame.
“I think I ate everything… EVERYTHING… that’s why I gained so much weight," he said later. “I was having too much fun, I was celebrating too much."
Ruiz Jr went on to lose his belts as Joshua jabbed his way to a boring but effective points win in Saudi Arabia.
The beaten man was left to lick his wounds, albeit with an injury aided by his newly-inflated bank account.
He did so without trainer Manny Robles who publicly criticised his fighter for not training properly for the biggest fight of his career.
They split weeks after the rematch and, barring the odd social media post, Ruiz Jr disappeared from the public eye.
Six months later, however, he announced he was training under the expert tutelage of Eddy Reynoso, known predominantly for his work with pound-for-pound No.1 Canelo Alvarez.
And on Saturday night, Ruiz Jr will make his long-awaited return when he takes on Chris Arreola.
He will do so in considerably better shape than he was in for his rematch with Joshua having shed 30lb, or two stone.
“I was at 310lb when I started this camp," Ruiz Jr said this week. "We started losing weight slowly but surely. People are wondering if I’m still going to have the same power after losing weight, but I’ve been working hard for this moment and the power is definitely staying with me.
“The main thing I’ve learned here is discipline. That’s something you can’t buy, you have to do it on your own. You have to want it.
“I’ve learned so much here. We try to perfect every punch and every movement. I’m not just a fighter who comes forward. I have more abilities. Losing weight is going to let me show more of what I can do.
“I come to the gym with a smile on my face now. I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’m a lot better than I was before. I just have to keep working and stay disciplined. I have to be in the gym, even when I don’t have a fight date. It’s got to be a lifestyle."
Ruiz Jr certainly looked much slimmer at a recent workout and with Arreola likely to provide little resistance, the former champion can look to re-establish himself in boxing's premier division.
With Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury set to meet twice this year, the belts could well be strewn all over the heavyweight landscape by 2022.
And few would back a fit and firing Ruiz Jr from re-taking his place on the throne.
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