Evander Holyfield recently sent some encouragement to his former training partner Andy Ruiz Jr.
Ruiz famously delivered the first loss of Anthony Joshua’s professional career to become the new unified heavyweight champ early in 2019. He beat the British fighter by technical knockout in the seventh round of their June bout, claiming the WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO titles in the process.
In December, the heavyweights collided in a rematch, but Ruiz was soundly outboxed and ultimately outpointed by Joshua. His championship reign came to an end as Joshua defeated him by unanimous decision victory.
Post-fight, the Mexican fighter admitted “partying and missing training” were major factors in his loss.
Holyfield is confident that Ruiz can claim his belts back if he puts in the effort.
“Of course it’s possible. Joshua became champion again, right? He made an adjustment,” Holyfield told TMZ. “People who make adjustments, their chances is still good. His [Ruiz] chances are good. He made some bad choices, when you make bad choices, you gotta be accountable. If you’re accountable, you can make adjustments.
Holyfield and Ruiz got acquainted in 2011, when the former brought the latter in as a sparring partner. At the time, Holyfield was taken aback by the Mexican’s speed and punching power and knew it was a sign of great things to come.
Both Holyfield and Ruiz’s father have been there to offer words of wisdom, and they believe he will taste success again if he listens.
“Go back to the work plan, do what you’re daddy tell you to do,” Holyfield said. “All these years he’s been right, what makes you think he gonna be wrong.”
30-year old boxer Terence Crawford also believes Ruiz will “be back”.
“Just get back in the gym, you know, train hard, lose a little bit of weight, he’ll [Ruiz] be back,” Crawford said. “I know him personally, and he will come back from this loss.
“I know Andy. He will come back stronger than what he did. He knows where he’s at right now. He knows he’s among the top heavyweights in the world, so he’ll bounce back.”
Do you agree with Holyfield and Crawford that Andy Ruiz Jr. will bounce back to reclaim the heavyweight gold?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 12/30/2019.