Listen to Andy Ruiz Jr for just a few minutes and he won’t need to tell you what his favourite word is right now – it’s discipline.
The ‘D’ word rolls off the tongue of the 31-year-old Californian every few seconds as he prepares for his second chance at boxing glory. Starting against Chris Arreola on a FOX PPV show in Carson on Saturday night (May 1).
‘The Destroyer’ stunned the world when he dethroned Anthony Joshua in June 2019 at Madison Square Garden. He was a late stand-in and a huge underdog, and came away with the IBF, WBA and WBO world heavyweight titles.
But while Ruiz clearly enjoyed his reign as champion a little too much, he did not enjoy what it resulted in. He was 283lbs for the rematch with AJ in December 2019. Flabby and slow – not the man who had become king a few short months earlier.
Joshua would box smartly to easily win a decision over Ruiz, who was left to ponder the error of his ways. He ballooned further after the bout, and was 310lbs before realising change was needed.
The new Ruiz follows ‘Canelo’
Now Ruiz is a big part of the successful stable of fighters handled by star trainer Eddy Reynoso. Working every day alongside the likes of P4P king ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and lightweight superstar Ryan Garcia.
The two words Andy seems to utter most during his daily routine are ‘Canelo’ and ‘discipline’. The value of watching the Mexican megastar close up, learning from him, is real. The magic is clearly rubbing off.
Speaking on his own YouTube channel, Andy said: “Ready to rock and roll man, ready to prove not just to my fans and to the world but to myself that I’m capable of becoming the two-time heavyweight champion of the world.
“I was at 310lbs and last time I jumped on the scales I was 257. Really motivated, like I said this is just the beginning.
“After this fight, God willing we’re gonna get the victory, and we’re gonna become victorious. Keep grinding, stay disciplined, stay dedicated, just exactly like how ‘Canelo’ does it. We gotta have our mentality like that.
“Doing everything that that man is doing, training hard, staying disciplined, working hard on every single thing, the fundamentals, trying to perfect every single punch, doing a lot of head movement.”
What motivates Ruiz Jr more than anything as he prepares to take on fellow Cali heavyweight Arreola (38-6-1)? It’s quite simple.
“I think staying disciplined is the most important thing in this boxing game. What goes through my mind while the fight is getting closer, is getting those belts back.
“The guy in front of me is trying to take away the Cheerios from my kids, so that’s what motivates me as well. I gotta win, we’re like gladiators in there – either I’m gonna kill him or he’s gonna kill me.”
Andy Ruiz on past mistakes
Looking back to his short reign as world champion, and the misery of that defeat by Joshua, Andy had a stern and very honest message for any young fighter out there. Do as I say, not as I did.
“This is not a sport that’s for ever. We’ve gotta give it all we have until we achieve our goals. And not to do the the same mistakes that I’ve done. Once you have it, once you become champion of the world, you’ve gotta work hard, stay disciplined.
“You don’t wanna regret when you lose, like how I did. But thanks to God, I got down but I got back up. That’s exactly how it is in the world.
“What am I gonna do different against Chris Arreola that I didn’t do in my other fights? Just stay disciplined – I think that’s my favourite word right now, discipline, because it’s something I’ve been lacking my whole professional career.”
While Ruiz vs Arreola retails for $49.95 in the United States, UK fans can also watch the bout in the early hours of Sunday May 2. It will be aired by BoxNation on the Premier Sports platform.