Andy Ruiz And A History Of Boxing Mistakes

Ruiz isn’t the first champ to lose the title outside the ring.

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The warning signs were there when Andy Ruiz hit the scales in Diriyah and announcer Michael Buffer read the numbers: “Two hundred and eighty-three point seven pounds”.

Already considered overweight for his height, the unified champ had weighed in more than fifteen pounds heavier than when he had won the belt five months previous.

The next night, when Ruiz was forced to follow Anthony Joshua around the ring for twelve rounds, struggling to impose himself while Joshua floated and peppered him at will, his lack of preparation became clear to all.

All of a sudden Ruiz’s banter about Snickers bars that fans had enjoyed in the lead up to the fight took on a darker tone:

Ruiz: "You have Snickers?"

Fan: "We have Snickers, yes."

Ruiz: "Aah."

Fan: "We have a box of Snickers for you!"

Ruiz: "Well, bring them on!"

Ruiz had been an unlikely champion, coming from nowhere to embarrass the best looking heavyweight champion in a generation, but he had crumbled under the pressures of championship status:

I think we started too late. I don't want to say that the three months of partying or celebrating and what not kind of affected me, but what can I say?

It was a pressure his opponent, Anthony Joshua, well understood:

It was mainly just the discipline, I had some of my own issues. Andy said that he had his issues, the things that come along with being a champion. Andy is a really nice guy so maybe it was hard to say 'no' to certain things as well.

Ruiz isn’t the first champ to lose the title outside the ring.

In 1980, after handing Sugar Ray Leonard his first-ever loss and capturing the welterweight titles, Roberto Duran celebrated. Hard.

In the rematch five months later Duran couldn’t complete the eighth round and waved the fight off. The fight became famous as the 'No Mas' fight as Duran delivered his now familiar-sounding explanation:

I beat Leonard, and then I got really fat. I had to lose too much weight, I got cramps. I didn’t have strength for anything.

Of course, it could have been worse. When Tyson Fury shocked everyone by ending Wladimir Klitschko’s nine-year reign as champ, he also succumbed to the celebratory spirit. And spirits.

By the time the rematch rolled around The Gypsy King’s weight had blown out and his drug and alcohol abuse were widely discussed. Then he stopped showing up for press conferences and started postponing the fight. A positive test for cocaine and deteriorating mental health lead Fury to cancel the rematch and relinquish the titles he’d only just won, without having the chance to defend them.

Winning a title is near impossible, but keeping that title is a feat even fewer can achieve. It takes skill, focus and mental strength to show up to the gym and push yourself when everyone just wants to party with the champ.

But as Ruiz discovered, the penalty you pay for that lack of discipline is enormous.