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Andy Ruiz Jr. Lives up to Alias in Macao

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By Bill Tibbs


Imperial, California heavyweight Andy Ruiz Jr., now living and training in  Las Vegas, donned the moniker “The Destroyer” upon turning pro in the spring of 2009. He recently turned some heads and backed up his alias with his fourth round TKO win over previously undefeated, 21-0 Joe Hanks in Macao, China. The two unbeaten heavyweights met on the undercard of Zou Shiming’s second pro fight on Top Rank’s “Fists of Gold 2” card at the Venetian Resort’s Cotai Arena on July 27th.
 
The quick-handed, mobile, Mexicali, Mexico native Ruiz showed a solid chin walking through some hard, third round shots unloaded by New Jersey’s Hanks. However, Ruiz’s strength and his deceptive hand speed for a man who enters the ring in the 250-pound range may set him apart from most of the heavyweight crop right now. In a recent phone conversation, Top Rank matchmaker Brad Goodman said, “[Ruiz] is very fast and has great movement for a big man and he has a good chin. He walked right through Hanks’ right hands.”

Ruiz also appears to possess some power in his punch, dispatching 14 of his 20 opponents inside the distance. While he has been moved along at a steady pace, the Hanks fight was his first noticeable step up in competition. In pre-fight interviews, Hanks, a top sparring partner for many heavyweight contenders, was confident he would be too much for Ruiz. However, Goodman was confident that Top Rank’s charge could handle Hanks. While quickly gaining control of the fight in the first two rounds and showing some good whiskers in the third, Ruiz landed a hard right, then a lightning-fast left hook that dropped Hanks in the fourth. While Hanks beat the count, Ruiz jumped on his dazed opponent and ended the night with another fast, hard left-right follow-up from which Hanks did not recover.
 
After the fight, Goodman expressed they were “happy with the outcome but not surprised. We had done our homework on Hanks and were confident Andy would get past him. Andy is a fast, strong kid who can put his punches together.” Top 15-rated Ruiz, who picked up the World Boxing Organization (WBO) Inter-Continental heavyweight title with the win, is currently inching toward a world top 10 ranking in both the World Boxing Association (WBA) and WBO rankings. Added Goodman, “We are excited about Andy and we want to move him along because we believe in him but we’re not rushing. There is always room to improve. He’s just gonna get better.” While historically, great Mexican fighters are traditionally the “big little men,” it looks like there may be an exciting new Mexican heavyweight to watch in the tradition of the “big, big man.” Don’t be surprised to see Ruiz, who lit up the Venetian crowd with his exciting knockout, to likely return to Macao in November to showcase his abilities on the Manny Pacquiao-Brandon Rios undercard. “We’ll get him back to China in November or we may get him back in the ring before that here in the U.S.,” said Goodman. “We’re very excited about Andy here at Top Rank. We believe he is going to be the heavyweight champion of the world one day.”
 
Questions and comments can be sent to Bill Tibbs at hwtibbs@shaw.ca.
 
 
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