By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – Abel Sanchez is pleased for Andy Ruiz Jr.
Ruiz’s former trainer was in his corner when Ruiz lost a majority decision to Joseph Parker in their 12-round fight for the then-vacant WBO heavyweight title in December 2016. Even though Sanchez doesn’t train Ruiz anymore, he knows how much hard work it took for Ruiz to get back into position to knock off Anthony Joshua on June 1 at Madison Square Garden.
Thus, Sanchez has enjoyed watching all the attention his fellow Mexican-American has received since the newly crowned champion dropped Joshua four times and stopped him in the seventh round to pull off one of the biggest upsets in boxing history.
Sanchez still doesn’t expect Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs) to have a long championship reign. He predicted a refocused Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) will win their rematch and regain his IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO titles when they square off in October or November somewhere in the United Kingdom.
“[Joshua] beats him in a rematch,” Sanchez told BoxingScene.com. “And the reason I say that is because we’re taking away all the accomplishments before the Ruiz fight. Before the Ruiz fight, this guy was unbeatable. Wilder couldn’t beat him. They were talking about $50 million. Fury couldn’t beat him. He gets beat by Andy, and now he’s nothing. He’s crap. That’s not true. It doesn’t work that way, not to me, anyway. He’s a gold medalist, who has credentials, and there’s a reason why he’s there. And Andy had a great night, and Andy did the things that were necessary that night, and [new trainer] Manny Robles had a great game plan. That doesn’t mean that Joshua has nothing.”
Sanchez feels Joshua’s shocking setback will force him to get back to concentrating primarily on boxing. The trappings of celebrity were huge factors, according to Sanchez, in Joshua losing to Ruiz.
“Anthony, unfortunately, became a star in the UK,” Sanchez said. “That became the priority, being a star, and boxing became second. Now he has to go back to boxing being first and being a star second. He’s everything in the UK. I saw a picture of him on his own plane, his own jet. Sometimes you have to realize what pays the bills. What pays the bills is him climbing through the ropes and being ready for the guy across the ring from him that wants the true hell.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.