LOS ANGELES – Former heavyweight champions Andy Ruiz Jr. and Deontay Wilder have been going back and forth online and through the media in recent months trying to publicly negotiate a fight against each other.
Wilder (43-2-1, 42 KOs) has previously stated that Ruiz (35-2, 22 KOs) was offered a lot of money, and urged him to get the fight done. Ruiz’s father Andy Sr. said Wilder was misleading the public, detailing that they were offered a 70-30 purse split. That prompted Wilder to proclaim that Ruiz would be rendered to be nonexistent if he passed on the fight.
Several months have passed since their summer squabble, and neither fighter still has a date to return to the ring from one-plus year layoffs.
Wilder last fought in October 2022 and knocked out Robert Helenius in one round, while Ruiz last fought in September 2022 and scored a unanimous decision against Luis Ortiz.
“Wilder, let's talk one on one. You got my number. I got your number. Let's get on a phone call and let's make it happen brother,” Ruiz said in an interview with BoxingScene.com and other media.
“If he thinks fighting me is easy, then give me the $25 million that you say I was asking for.”
"I had a dream that I beat up Deontay Wilder. God gave me that dream that I had my hand raised. I've been trying to fight him for a long time.”
The Mexican-American Ruiz could not recall the method of victory that unfolded in his dreams, but “The Destroyer” persisted that a real life meeting with Wilder would end with a stoppage victory.
“I win by knockout,” said Ruiz. “All I am going to do is counterpunch his punches, and that's it. I'm going to stay small, and I'm going to win. I'm going to beat him with combinations. Seeing the punches, reacting, explosiveness, and hitting him with that great shot.”
The 34-year-old Ruiz said he’s planning on taking a tune-up fight in 2024 with hopes of dialing it up again to put himself in position for a shot at the heavyweight title.
“I'm going to return next year. I'm just trying to get in there and get my feet wet, you know,” said Ruiz. “Best believe that you guys are going to see the bounceback of Andy Ruiz Jr. No fight is easy, trust me. Even if you fight the easiest guy, it's not easy.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer, and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, through email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com, or via www.ManoukAkopyan.com.