Iconic boxing coach Teddy Atlas is considering working with fallen heavyweight Andy Ruiz Jr, but admits that working with the Mexican star would be ‘like dealing with a drug abuser’.
Atlas, who has trained former world champions including Michael Moorer, Mike Tyson and Alexander Povetkin, said that Ruiz had ‘a problem with eating’ and that he would have to undertake strict measures should they work together.
Ruiz shocked boxing last summer when he stopped Anthony Joshua to become the first Mexican world champion. But he came under fire for losing the titles to the British star immediately in the rematch last December after he weighed in at 20st 3lbs and looked out of shape.
Cornerman Teddy Atlas says training Andy Ruiz Jr would be like ‘dealing with a drug abuser’
Ruiz Jr has admitted his struggles with eating and that he has gained too much weight
Atlas said that he would have to go back to the drawing board if he started coaching Ruiz, taking away his temptations and forcing him to focus.
‘With a kid like Ruiz, it’s almost like dealing – and this is gonna sound harsh, and I don’t mean it to sound harsh – but again, the truth sometimes can sound that way – it’s almost like dealing with a drug abuser,’ he told radio station SiriusXM.
‘You know, he’s got a problem with eating. And if you had a kid that you were really trying to save from drugs, what would you do?
‘You don’t have to be a drug counselor to understand that you’d remove him from the things that are comfortable for him. You remove him from his surroundings. Well, the same thing with a Ruiz.’
He was dismantled by Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia and immediately blamed his figure
The Mexican looked out of shape as he lost comfortably to the British fighter in their rematch
Atlas brushed off speculation that he was trying to control Ruiz and take him away from his father, who is his manager and has huge influence over his career, and said changes were necessary to take him back to the top.
‘I’d have to remove him from his surroundings. “Oh, Teddy, you don’t want him with his father. Oh, you don’t want him with his family. Oh, you wanna be a dictator”.
‘You wanna call it that, go ahead and call it that. You have to do what’s gonna be able to change things.’
He said there was no agreement in place yet to work with Ruiz, although he had invited him to New York to discuss the prospect of a link-up and make sure the desire is still there from Ruiz to become a champion again.
It came months after he stopped Joshua to become the first ever Mexican world champion
‘I haven’t agreed to anything, other than saying that if you’re serious, you come to New York and you spend a couple days with me.
During that time, I would work in the gym, see how coachable you are, get an idea and a feel for your attitude and ask some very important questions.
‘Why is this important to you now? You’re a multi, multimillionaire. Why is it important to you? Why? Why do you wanna continue doing this? And what is your expectation?
‘And I would listen to him. And then I would have a decision to make. And he would have a decision to make, whether or not he could get along with my philosophy, that he could buy into what I would believe.’
Following Ruiz’s one-sided defeat to Joshua, he split acrimoniously with his former trainer Manny Robles, bidding to turn over a new leaf.
Atlas, who has trained the likes of Alexander Povetkin, said he hadn’t agreed to train Ruiz yet
Robles said he ‘saw it coming’ and hinted that Ruiz had been difficult to control in the build up to his rematch with Joshua, with his father playing a part in the frustrations.
‘I’ve seen it coming, I’ll be honest with you,’ he told ESPN. ‘Andy was just doing whatever the hell he wanted to do. The dad, obviously with him being the manager, he just had no control over his son. None of us had control of him, for that matter.’
Ruiz himself was honest about his struggles with eating in the wake of his crushing defeat, saying he ‘ate everything’ in the build up to fighting Joshua.
‘I think I ate everything… EVERYTHING… that’s why I gained so much weight,’ he said. ‘I was having too much fun, I was celebrating too much. Even out of shape, even the way that I was training back and forth (between Mexico and California)… f******, I did pretty good, dude! I did pretty good! But, I wish I had taken it more serious.’