“…Don’t underestimate this little fat boy” Andy Ruiz Jr. warned Anthony Joshua prior to their fight at Madison Square Garden. Weighing in just under 270 pounds and standing 6 feet, 2 inches tall with no visible muscle definition, Ruiz seemed like an unlikely matchup for the undefeated (previously) and favored Anthony Johnson.
It was all kind of a blur once the 3rd round began and Joshua found out quickly that he, in fact, did have some work to do if he wanted to keep his titles. Joshua managed to knock Ruiz down which wasn’t surprising as everyone assumed he would be victorious. The surprise came when Ruiz got back up in the same round and knocked Joshua down, twice! Joshua was saved by the bell in the end of the third round to hold off an early defeat.
4 short rounds later, Ruiz knocked Joshua down two more times. After the second knockdown, the referee called the fight in Ruiz’s favor in the seventh round by technical knockout. 29-year-old Ruiz became the heavyweight champion of the world, which means he is also the #1 heavyweight amongst the WBA, IBF WBO and IBO heavyweight fight-sanctioning bodies.
This stunning upset also made history as Ruiz became the first heavyweight champion of Mexican descent.
ESPN boxing veteran writer Nigel Collins explained, “It doesn’t matter what you look like or what kind of physique you have. The most important thing is knowing how to fight.”
He went on to explain that Ruiz actually practiced the technique of cutting off the ring against Joshua. To ‘cut the ring’ means he didn’t waste energy chasing Joshua around but instead moved with Joshua where he wanted to go.
Collins went on to say, “That’s a skill that involves a lot a lateral movement. You don’t want to follow the guy because he’ll always be one step ahead of you. You move laterally so you’re still right in front of him without following him.”
“Some fighters do a lot of stuff that uses up energy that’s not really accomplishing anything. [Ruiz?], no. Every move he made, he knew what he was doing.”
Collins spoke on Ruiz’s ability to master agility drills, “…he was doing it great, like a ballet dancer.”
“We want to talk about fat fighters,” Collins elaborated, “How about George Foreman when he came back? You know, he was making cheeseburger jokes at press conferences and he had this big gut on him and he ended up winning the heavyweight championship 10 years after he retired.”
Ruiz’s vice is Snickers candy-bars. “My Dad would always give me a Snickers before a fight,” Ruiz said. “It gives me energy. It gives[s] me everything I need to get the win.”
Ruiz’s win was one of the biggest upsets in boxing history which meant a barrage of criticisms for England’s Anthony Joshua. Namely from another top heavyweight Deontay Wilder who Joshua had been accused of dodging fights with.
The moral of the story is simply, don’t judge a boxer by their build. Thine can getteth hands whenevereth thou wisheth.