Andy Ruiz Jr. admits mishandling fame and fortune cost him dearly during his rematch against Anthony Joshua.

Celebrating and living lavishly for too long between his fights with Joshua precipitated poor preparation for their immediate rematch in December 2019. A rotund Ruiz came in at 283½ pounds for their second fight, 15½ pounds more than he weighed for their first fight, and the former heavyweight champion performed accordingly.

Joshua, whom Ruiz stunningly stopped in the seventh round of their June 2019 fight at Madison Square Garden, thoroughly out-boxed Ruiz in their 12-round rematch. The British superstar won a unanimous decision (119-109, 118-110, 118-110) and regained his IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO belts from Ruiz in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.

Ruiz recalled during a virtual press conference Tuesday to promote his upcoming fight against Chris Arreola that he suffered through a period of depression after losing those titles back to Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs). The former champion claims he learned invaluable lessons from failing to remain focused and disciplined, which have helped him flourish while working with new trainer Eddy Reynoso.

“What a lot of people don’t understand is that I’ve been waiting for this moment my whole life,” Ruiz said. “And once that moment happened, you know, I kind went a little off the road, you know? I started doing things that I thought I would never be able to do. I wasn’t really focused on the [Joshua rematch]. But now, like I said, I was really devastated. I do not wanna go back. I do not wanna do the same mistakes I did before. And like I said, I’m more motivated than I ever been before. I have God on my side and Eddy right here, so we’re ready for whatever comes my way.”

The 31-year-old Ruiz hopes he can fight his way back into position to fight for a heavyweight championship again. His comeback will begin more modestly May 1, when Ruiz (33-2, 22 KOs), of Imperial, California, and Arreola (38-6-1, 33 KOs, 2 NC), of Riverside, California, will square off in a FOX Sports Pay-Per-View main event at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California ($49.95).

“Losing [in] my last fight against Anthony Joshua, it was devastating, you know?,” Ruiz said. “Because I did not do the things that I was supposed to do. And I look back right now, and I’m like, ‘Damn, man, if I would’ve stayed dedicated, if I would’ve stayed disciplined and do the right things that I was supposed to do.’ And that was the most important fight of my life, [in] the rematch against Anthony Joshua. But now, it’s totally different. Now I got my mind right. You know, I got a great trainer. So, we’re just ready for May 1st. But like I said, of course I was really disappointed because I knew the ability that I had to stay champion.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.