Andy Ruiz Jr. is going to let you worry about his weight and physique. He doesn’t care about that anymore.
The former heavyweight champ, known as much for his bulk as his ability, learned his lesson when he outpointed Chris Arreola in May of last year. He was focused on the scale and how he looked leading up to that fight, not on strategy, which led to a so-so performance.
Ruiz (34-2, 22 KOs) worked diligently for his pay-per-view fight against fellow contender Luis Ortiz (33-2, 28 KOs) on Sunday in Los Angeles but keeping his weight down was not a priority.
“I learned from my last fight,” Ruiz told me and Kenneth Bouhairie on a recent episode of The PBC Podcast. “Losing that much weight (down to 256 pounds), I think it was bad. I feel God made me a champion being heavy and being husky when I fought Anthony Joshua. I’m not trying to change that.
“The only thing I’m changing is trying to lose fat but trying to gain muscle [while] still staying around the same weight, like in the 260s, so I can feel strong.”
Ruiz was referring to his stunning seventh-round knockout of Joshua that gave him three of the four major titles in June 2019. He weighed 268 for that fight. He came in at a hefty 283.5 for the rematch six months later, lost a wide decision and was roasted on social media for neglecting his training.
That criticism undoubtedly played a role in his decision to lose weight for the Arreola fight. However, as he said, he won’t fall into that trap again.
He expects to weigh in Friday somewhat below his weight for the first Joshua fight.
“Right now I’m at 267 pounds,” he said. “… I’ll be like at 260 [at the weigh-in] but I’ll try to fight at round 265 at the fight, when I’m inside the ring. But right now weight isn’t an issue. … I think the main thing is having the conditioning, having the power, being explosive for this fight.”
How is Ruiz able to keep his weight under control without focusing on it? Consistent work.
He recently opened his own gym in the San Diego area, about 100 miles east of his hometown of Imperial. And he has a stable team, including a new main trainer, Alfredo Osuna, focused solely on him – after parting ways with Eddy Reynoso – and a conditioning coach.
He’s there every day, by all accounts, doing what he’s supposed to be doing.
“I had to make a decision,” he said. “What do I want to do? After a fight do I want to train and keep my weight [steady] or gain weight and then have to lose it right away. That takes a toll on your body. Now I’m focused.
“As long as I have my gym I’m able to control my weight and stay busy as well. I still have a lot [of room] to improve. I’m ready to have more fights this year, to get it on with everybody.”
Fight Week: Andy Ruiz Jr. vs. Luis Ortiz and return of Juan Francisco Estrada
Andy Ruiz Jr. vs. Luis Ortiz set for Sept. 4 in Los Angeles
Luis Ortiz gets up from two knockdowns to stop Charles Martin in six
Andy Ruiz Jr. survives early scare to easily outpoint Chris Arreola