I’m going to start this by saying that I can’t remember the last time I watched a boxing match and if you’re anything like me, you wouldn’t know that tonight there’s a Heavyweight Championship fight happening in Saudi Arabia between the champion Andy Ruiz Jr. and the challenger former champion Anthony Joshua. Now, this podcast is not about boxing, but it’s a fantastic story about how somebody got a heavyweight championship fight. You see Andy Ruiz Jr. is the champion right now, but less than eight months ago, he was relatively unknown. Anthony Joshua though was the unified heavyweight champion back in April. Joshua was at the fight, Jarell Miller, he handpicked to fight for the championship, but not long before the fight Miller got disqualified for failing repeated drug tests. So this championship match, it’s supposed to be happening in seven weeks and Joshua doesn’t have an opponent. So Joshua’s manager, Eddie Hearn, starts looking to figure out who would be a good opponent for this fight.
And he didn’t have a tremendous amount of options that either were good enough or be in fighting shape to be ready for this bout. So my impression at this point is there’s a whole lot of managers and consultants and lawyers and they’re all sitting in a room, kind of like Rocky when Apollo creed meticulously picked out the Italian stallion to fight him for the championship match and it wouldn’t be something that the little people, the world, even the ham and egg fighters, the people with no clout, it wouldn’t be something where they would have an influence over, but fresh off of his fight and knowing he was in shape Ruiz with his old school mentality and his new school mindset wound up getting a shot to fight for the heavyweight championship. The way he went about getting that fight will spin your mind in terms of the complexity of it.
Actually, it’s nothing like that. He went on Instagram and he sent a message to Eddie Hearn. He didn’t have any middleman. He didn’t have lawyers or managers or hey, my people will call your people type of stuff. He got on Instagram. He sent direct message and he asked her to give him a chance, told him that he was better than any of the other options out there and that he’d earned it. And Hearn realizing that he not very many options and figuring the shorter overweight fighter with not much of a history that they can follow would be a pushover for Joshua before he’d move on to his big payday with contender Deonte Wilder. But what happened after that was historic. He immediately moved in with a chef, changed his diet completely eating chicken and fish and tons of greens, lost 30 pounds and attempted to get himself ready for this huge fight.
And on June 1st he stepped into the ring at Madison Square Garden in New York City with his still seeming out of shape body facing against Joshua, who’s got the physique of a statue but Ruiz had a mission. He said when he stepped into that ring, when he looked into Joshua’s eyes, he basically looked at him and said, this guy is trying to take Cheerios out of my kid’s mouth. That’s what he kept telling himself before the fight started. And in the third round, Joshua connected with the right and sent Ruiz to the canvas, knocked him down and nobody would’ve been surprised if that was it, but always got back up and he got back up angry and later in that round he turned it all around and knocked Joshua down and he continued fighting and trying and knock Joshua down three more times until the seventh round where the fight was eventually stopped.
And Anthony Ruiz Jr. was named the Heavyweight Champion of the World. It was an upset that the boxing world hadn’t seen since Mike Tyson was stunningly knocked out by Buster Douglas back in 1990 and if it wasn’t stunning enough that he knocked him out to win the heavyweight championship. When you look at the history of Ruiz, you look at his childhood, it becomes even more intriguing and exciting to learn about. He was a kid that was always overweight, he was always picked on getting into tons of troubles joining gangs. He said that boxing was the thing that got him away from the streets and the corners in boxing took him from there to the center of the ring at Madison Square Garden in New York City. He was crowned heavyweight champion of the world and it’s more than that to his family and his environment. He was crowned the first Mexican American heavyweight champion of the world.
And tonight win or lose as he has a rematch again with Anthony Joshua, he’ll be announced as the champion when that fight starts. And the reason why I’m telling this story is this never would’ve happened if he didn’t do something that most people are afraid to do, which is to reach out and take that chance. And this day and age, we’re old school meets new school, we’re having the guts to ask for something that you believe you’ve earned, but to ask it in a personal way goes so much farther than most people realize. I don’t know where he was that day that he picked up his phone, but he had built up the credibility to make the ask. And he got on his phone and he went to Instagram and he sent a message, one message, but it was the right message to the right person. And that message got on the shot for the heavyweight champion of the world.
I bet Eddie Hearn kind of regrets agreeing to it, but he needed somebody to fight Joshua and Ruiz not only put himself in the right spot, and he asked when he needed to ask, but he did all the work, not only in those seven weeks to lead up to that fight, but in that fight after he got knocked down and getting himself back up, knocking Joshua down and not stopping until he was the champion of the world. And I love that story because it eliminates the excuses. Oh, I can’t get my chance. Nobody gives me a shot. Nobody’s going to give you a shot. You’ve got to go out and take the shot. And Ruiz went and did it. Ruiz didn’t use the excuse of, Oh, I don’t know the right people. He went out and found the right people. And whether you want to become heavyweight champion or something else, you have the opportunity to do it yourself. So I’m kind of hoping he wins even though I won’t be watching the fight. I’d love to see him stay champion cause I love the story and by the time I come back with you tomorrow, we’ll know what happened. I’ll talk to you then.