Andy Ruiz blamed three months of partying for his one-sided world heavyweight championship defeat to Anthony Joshua on Saturday, admitting he had failed to train seriously for his first title defence.
The 30-year-old Mexican-American stunned the world in June when he floored Joshua four times on the way to a sensational upset victory in their first fight at Madison Square Garden.
Ruiz had drawn gasps of disbelief on Friday when the weigh-in revealed he had ballooned to 283 pounds (128.4 kilograms), fully 15 pounds heavier than his fighting weight six months ago.
Ruiz’s poor conditioning was ruthlessly exposed by Joshua on Saturday, who nimbly outboxed the chubby champion.
“Three months of partying and celebrating affected me, what can I say?” Ruiz told reporters after the fight.
Asked what he’d do differently if granted a rematch with Joshua, Ruiz replied: “Listen to my coach. Listen to my dad. And take it more seriously.”
Ruiz, who was granted a ritzy homecoming parade in his Californian hometown of Imperial following his win in June, said he had started his training camp for the rematch too late.
Trainer Manny Robles had wanted Ruiz back in the gym in July. Ruiz only started his camp in September.
“I’m OK, I’m just a little disappointed,” Ruiz said. “I should have listened to them. I tried to do the training on my own. I should have listened to them more. There’s no excuses…the partying and all that stuff got the best of me.”
Robles meanwhile refused to point the finger at Ruiz.
“You’ve got to be with your fighter 100 per cent,” he said. “I’m not the first coach where situations happen in camp. I have to apologise to him because this is a team effort and when you don’t win it hurts. It always hurts.”
Ruiz, however, was able to take encouragement from the fight, insisting he would be a different proposition in a third encounter.
“For being out of shape I did pretty good, I took all his shots,” he said. “I got him a few times … If we’d have gone toe to toe … For the trilogy I know I’m going to be a lot better.
“Being overweight, I wasn’t fluid enough, I wasn’t moving the way I wanted to move. I think if I’m lighter I’m going to let my hands go and be a completely different fighter.”