Andy Ruiz Jr. can take comfort in knowing that the best available version of himself will enter the ring this Saturday, no matter the final outcome.
It was the only way to approach his all-Mexican heavyweight showdown with Chris Arreola, since the previous version didn’t come close to getting the job done in his most recent fight.
“Right now, I’m motivated,” Ruiz told Fox Sport’s Heidi Androl during the final pre-fight press conference held Wednesday in Los Angeles ahead of this weekend’s Fox Sports Pay-Per-View headliner from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. “I kind of did a self-death to myself. I killed the old Andy and am reborn with the new Andy.”
The “new Andy” is significantly slimmer and trimmer than any previous version that has appeared in the ring while under the Premier Boxing Champions banner. California’s Ruiz (33-2, 22KOs) weighed 262 pounds for his PBC debut in April 2019, then weighed 268 for the historic upset knockout win over Anthony Joshua in June 2019 to become the first boxer of Mexican heritage to lay claim to the heavyweight throne.
Ruiz ate himself out of a title reign, showing up a grotesque 283 ½ pounds for the Dec. 2019 rematch with Joshua, dropping a lopsided decision to concede the WBA/IBF/WBO/IBO titles. The 31-year-old Imperial, California subsequently admitted to surpassing 300 pounds while falling into a deep depression before connecting with 2019 Trainer of the Eddy Reynoso, with whom he has undergone a complete transformation of ahead of Saturday’s showdown with Arreola (38-6-1, 33KOs).
“I let my family and a lot of people down,” acknowledged Ruiz. “That’s why I had to make a big change. I know what I am capable of doing. I know what I accomplished and I know that I have inside to become a two-time Mexican heavyweight champion of the world. That’s exactly what I need to do.
“I need to (climb) back up the ladder and get on top. Being disciplined and working hard on the things I need to do is going to take me that far.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox