LOS ANGELES – Andy Ruiz Jr. has never been confused with a Michaelangelo carving.
Throughout the course of his 13-year career, Ruiz’s weight has always caused heavy discussion.
Ruiz has weighed as much as 297 pounds in his pro debut to 256 pounds in his last fight in May.
When he shocked and dropped Anthony Joshua on short notice in 2019, he weighed 268 pounds. But then he enjoyed the victory lap too much and ballooned to 283 pounds within six months. The rotund Ruiz admitted that his lack of conditioning was largely the reason he lost to Joshua in the rematch.
Ruiz (34-2, 22 KOs) will look to rebound once again when he takes on Luis Ortiz (33-2, 28 KOs) on Sept. 4 at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on FOX pay-per-view.
It will mark just the second fight since Dec. 2019 for the former heavyweight champion of the world.
“We’re here again and I’m thankful for another opportunity. We didn’t come here to cherry-pick anybody. We wanted a tough opponent and that’s why we picked Luis Ortiz. He’s strong, he’s awkward, he’s a lefty, but we’ve had a long training camp and we’ll be ready,” said Ruiz.
“The main thing for me is going to be staying busy. I’m not underestimating Luis Ortiz, because he comes to fight. He wants to be world champion. On Sept. 4, we’ll go toe-to-toe and we’ll see who’s going to win.
“It feels good to have this fight set. We know this isn’t going to be an easy fight. He has a different style than what I’m used to, but we’ve trained really hard at the gym to perfect the craft. He’s going to bring it, but we just have to do the best we can to get this victory and go on to win world titles. This is a big fight for me to climb back up the ladder.”
Ruiz will employ the services of this third head trainer in as many fights. Ruiz split from coach Manny Robles after the second Joshua fight and linked up with Eddy Reynoso for his May 2021 unanimous decision win against Chris Arreola.
But Ruiz has since split from the reigning trainer of the year and joined forces with Mexican coach Alfredo Osuna.
Ruiz insisted that his goal isn’t to become a body beautiful while he prepares to fend off the 43-year-old Cuban contender.
“I wanted to work with Osuna a long time ago, it just wasn’t the right time then. He’s used to training for lefty fighters. I feel like this is exactly what I needed for this fight. My team is going to bring the best out of me,” said Ruiz.
“The main focus has just been training my skills. This isn’t a weightlifting contest, so I’ve been getting back to what originally made me a champion. I’m not here to lose weight or look the part, I just want to be the part.
“I’ve been doing this all my life. I’ve been fighting since I was six-years-old, so the muscle memory is there. I needed this long training camp for this type of fight. That’s going to help me get comfortable in this fight.
“I think this is a similar fight for me to the Anthony Joshua fight, it’s just that he’s a lefty. We have a great team and we’re working hard. Sept. 4 is going to be a hell of a fight.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com.