Dillian Whyte was flabbergasted when Andy Ruiz Jr. turned down a $5 million offer to fight Whyte in the United States.
Whether Whyte gets to fight Ruiz at some point or the former heavyweight champion pursues other opponents, the brash British contender suspects Ruiz’s career will mirror that of the besmirched man who pulled off the biggest upset in boxing history. Whyte compared Ruiz to James “Buster” Douglas during a three-way interview with Sky Sports’ Adam Smith and promoter Eddie Hearn that debuted on Matchroom Boxing’s YouTube channel Wednesday.
“He’s still a big draw in the heavyweight division, but I think Andy Ruiz might be another Buster Douglas,” Whyte said. “Shine once and that’s it, you know, because [of] the lifestyle that he’s enjoyed.”
Ruiz (33-2, 22 KOs) knocked down Anthony Joshua four times and stopped him in the seventh round to pull off an enormous upset last June 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York. The ex-IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO champ didn’t take training seriously for their immediate rematch, came in 15½ pounds heavier than he was for their first fight and lost a 12-round unanimous decision to Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) on December 7 in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
Mike Tyson was a 42-1 favorite over Douglas when the Columbus, Ohio, native knocked out a previously unbeaten Tyson in the 10th round 30 years ago in Tokyo.
Douglas was 14½ pounds heavier for his first title defense than he weighed when he upset Tyson eight months earlier. Evander Holyfield knocked out Douglas in the third round of that October 1990 bout in Las Vegas.
Whyte, meanwhile, had hoped to become Ruiz’s first opponent after Joshua beat the Mexican-American veteran. Ruiz’s disinterest in fighting Whyte made the London resident accept a bout with another former heavyweight champion, Alexander Povetkin.
Whyte (27-1, 18 KOs) and Russia’s Povetkin (35-2-1, 24 KOs) were supposed to fight for the WBC’s interim heavyweight championship May 2 at Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. The Whyte-Povetkin card was postponed until July 4 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ruiz didn’t have a fight scheduled when the coronavirus crisis brought boxing to a standstill last month.
“Let’s be honest, we offered [Ruiz] $5 million to fight me in America, in his hometown,” Whyte said. “If he’s turning down that kind of money to fight me – and these guys all say I’m garbage. You know, he beat Joshua. He should take a fight with me for $5 million, easy. I think that’s what he got paid to fight Joshua the first time for the world titles. You just lost and you’re getting paid a lot of money to fight in America. I said, ‘I’ll come to America and fight.’ If you don’t wanna take it, then, you know, um, these guys, they say a lot of things about me. When it comes down to it, they know I’m a real, old-school dog. I will come to fight. I don’t play no games.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.