When Andy Ruiz Jr. reflects on the life-changing, rollercoaster seven-month stretch of 2019 – how he upset Anthony Joshua that June to become Mexico’s first heavyweight champion, how it all came crashing down in an embarrassing defeat that December – and then recalls how depression and shame engulfed him for much of 2020, the boxer wants no parts of comeback talk.
Saturday night, Ruiz Jr. will indeed return to the ring for the first time since that December 2019 loss in a rematch with Joshua that cost him his belts.
And this upcoming bout against Chris Arreola in a Fox Sports pay-per-view event does represent a meaningful step in Ruiz’s quest for redemption. But because Ruiz, in his words, has experienced so much change and learned so many lessons in the last 17 months, he’s not even the same man or boxer anymore.
“I feel like the old Andy died and this is the new Andy,” the 31-year-old Ruiz told USA TODAY Sports. “I feel like this is my pro debut. It means a lot because I know inside that I’m doing the right things and progressing, going to the gym and training hard. It means a lot to me and hopefully the fans can see and say, ‘Andy could be more dangerous than he was before because he is more dedicated and more disciplined.’”
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