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Andy Ruiz and The Naked Sushi Girl

Andy Ruiz Jr. seemed like a likable enough guy and he definitely was a lovable underdog back on June 1 as the tide was turning in his upset of three-belt champ Anthony Joshua in Madison Square Garden. Who could feel anything but warm-fuzzy over his real-life Rocky story and that touching “We don’t have to struggle anymore, Momma” post-fight quote?

Fast forward to the present tense, though, and the words “sad sack” and “cliché” come to mind.

It took Joshua promoter Eddie Hearn all of one day to entice Ruiz into reaching for the shiny coins held over his head and ditching any supposed reluctance he had to fighting the Joshua rematch in Saudi Arabia December 7.

The new champ got his $9 million pot sweetened a bit—reportedly an amount “exceeding $1 million” and Mexican TV rights—but the battle for “who’s the boss” was quick and one-sided with Hearn scoring a first-round KO.

What Ruiz got was nothing compared to what he could’ve got if he had the resolve to keep the outside-the-ring battle going. Hearn vs. Ruiz would’ve been an even-money battle in the courts—Hearn’s “watertight” contract vs. Ruiz’s trumped up safety concerns, legitimized by the US State Department’s warnings for Americans traveling to Saudi Arabia-- but Ruiz didn’t have to follow through on a court date. If he had simply held out long enough, Hearn would’ve had to cave. Joshua needs those belts that Ruiz has and he has to beat Ruiz for them, not reacquire them as they are stripped from the guy who beat him into meek submission.

As I wrote for

The battle could’ve gone on and on with the winner ultimately determined by who can hold out the longest.

But it never got to that—and never was going to get to that point-- because it was always clear who could hold out the longest.

Ruiz may hold the IBF/WBO/WBA heavyweight titles, but he’s “just” a fighter and, as such, just a pawn in the game, albeit one with some shiny belts. Hearn knew that and had been glibly poking at Ruiz from the first moment the champ had publicly balked at traveling to Saudi Arabia for the Joshua rematch.

At any rate, Ruiz played his role as powerless pawn and grabbed at the shiny nickels held over his head by Hearn and company. With a $450,000 Rolls-Royce in his possession, a sack full of new bling, and a brand new mansion in the ridiculously overpriced California real estate market to cover, Ruiz can’t exactly afford to haggle too much or for too long. It might even be a safe bet to assume that Ruiz is somewhat cash-poor at the moment and needs the second Joshua payday to fund this new lifestyle of his.”

And, just as I was sending over the FightHype article, The Sun in the UK broke the story of Ruiz’s early birthday party for himself, complete with lingerie-clad waitresses, at his new mansion:

Having pocketed close to £5million for his shock title win against AJ in June the newly crowned unified champ splashed the cash on a personalised luge ice sculpture with his initials encrusted.

Ruiz had a live performance by rapper Scotty Music, and partied with internet superstars Logan and Jake Paul with a naked sushi girl leaving little to the imagination.

The birthday boy even sliced open a bottle of champagne with a knife.”

The videos of the “white party” (where everyone invited dresses in all white) are even dopier than The Sun’s account. Just stupid people doing stupid things, trying to look cool doing them. And, in the middle of it all, was Ruiz—neck-deep in lingerie girls and pretense, looking like a big, dumb kid trying to play-act protagonist in a 90’s Puff Daddy video.

So much for the humble family man who just wanted to make “momma” proud.

As I also wrote for FightHype:

"A tough luck pug making it big and spending it bigger is a tale almost as old as the sport itself. And if Ruiz continues to fall into this tired old boxing story, he’ll be another case of rags-to-riches-back-to-rags. Win or lose on December 7 and for every fight after that, no money will be enough to keep his head above water and he’ll forever be at the mercy of the suits’ whims. That’s classic boxing business.”

Ruiz is heading down that prizefighting road reserved for big losers who win, but can’t help losing again. And, to be honest, based on everything we’ve been seeing lately, it’s getting harder and harder to feel bad as we see the disaster awaiting him down the road.

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