Andy Ruiz couldn’t have been more proud when he stepped on the scale for his latest assignment.
The former unified heavyweight champion has faced criticism from across the industry over his physique as he will never be mistaken for a bodybuilder. His 268 ¾ pound announcement of his upcoming WBC heavyweight semifinal eliminator with Luis Ortiz was understandably met with mixed reactions. There were those who preferred him to come in around 250 pounds. Others drew parallels with his catchweight of 268 for a historic knockout victory over Anthony Joshua in June 2019 to become the first fighter of Mexican descent to win a share of the heavyweight crown.
“God made me a champion at this weight,” Ruiz said after the official pre-fight weigh-in on Saturday. “There is no point in changing my weight just to make myself look a certain way. I’m fine, I feel blessed, I’m ready to rock and roll.”
Ruiz-Ortiz takes place Sunday night atop a four-fight Fox Sports Pay-Per-View from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles (Sunday, 9:00 pm ET, $74.99). The event is also available to buy online through Fite TV and PPV.com.
Ruiz (34-2, 22KOs) is more than twelve pounds heavier than his catchweight of 256 pounds in his most recent victory, a twelve-round off-the-canvas decision over Chris Arreola on May 1 in Carson, California. The burly heavyweight from Imperial, California worked with Eddy Reynoso for the fight, dropping almost 30 pounds since his December 2019 loss to England’s Joshua to return the WBA/IBF/WBO/IBO titles.
The still-relevant heavyweight contender, who turns 33 on Sept. 11, will outweigh the taller Ortiz by more than 20 pounds based on the official weigh-in result. The difference is similar to the first fight with Joshua, which remains the best victory of his career for Ruiz, although he hopes to embark on a path that eventually leads to something bigger in his next fights.
That dream begins with getting past Ortiz on Sunday.
“I want to make a big statement,” Ruiz said. “I’m here for the long haul. I’m only 32 years old. I’m still learning from every fight. I think right now is my time. it’s my year
“Luis Ortiz is a tough guy. We know. That’s why we’ve been putting in all this hard work. God willing, we will get this victory.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox