Has Andy Ruiz Improved Since his Loss to Anthony Joshua?
On September 4, former unified heavyweight champion Andy “The Destroyer” Ruiz Jr (35-2, 22KOs) defeated two-time world title challenger Luis “King Kong” Ortiz (33-3-2, 28KOs). During the course of the fight, The Destroyer would drop King Kong three times en route to a unanimous decision victory. However, the win didn’t seem overly impressive.
To the former champion’s credit, he came into the fight in much better shape and condition than in prior fights. This is considering his debacle with Joshua where he came in weighing a whopping 283 pounds for their rematch in which he was soundly defeated. Moreover, he was facing a guy who was as dangerous and skilled as any other heavyweight in the division in Ortiz, despite the Cuban’s age.
While Ruiz was the favorite going in, not many people expected him to walk through Ortiz. However, most thought he would put on a better performance with the goal of reclaiming his world titles being the motivation. But instead, he was forced to a close unanimous decision win that could’ve gone either way had he not claimed three knockdowns along the way.
HAS THE DESTROYER REACHED HIS PEAK?
The fact of the matter is that Ortiz was able to neutralize Ruiz with his jab and oftentimes shook up the former champion with his hard straight left. Prior to his fight with Ortiz, The Destroyer hadn’t fought since defeating Chris Arreola in May of 2021. That fight, while he clearly won, wasn’t as impressive either. While Ruiz may be taking his career more seriously, he simply may have reached his ceiling as a fighter.
The Ruiz that fought and beat Arreola and Ortiz, in this writer’s opinion, doesn’t beat Tyson Fury or Oleksandr Usyk. Moreover, there’s a new foe that has the attention of the former champion and that’s former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (42-2-1, 41KOs). The heavy hitter, who’s set to face Robert Helenius on October 15, has reciprocated the interest in a possible showdown next year. Even coming off two brutal losses to Fury, Wilder poses a major threat due to his height, reach, and explosive power.
For Ruiz to get back to the top of the division, he’s going to have to evolve as a fighter. The heavyweight division is simply too deep with skilled and hungry fighters.
By: Jerrell Fletcher