News | Nov 05 2019

Larry Merchant recalls his first impression of Andy Ruiz Jnr

Former HBO analyst Larry Merchant remembers the time he watched "a fat slob" box in Macau, not knowing Andy Ruiz Jnr would one day rule the world
Andy Ruiz stops Joe Hanks in th 4th round, Saturday night at the Cotai Arena at The Venetian Macao Resort in Macau, China  |  Chris Farina/Top Rank

WHEN long-time HBO analyst Larry Merchant first set eyes on Andy Ruiz Jnr, the current WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight champion, it was anything but love at first sight.

They were in Macau, it was 2013, and Ruiz, six years from shocking Anthony Joshua and the world, was for now all fast hands, potential and excess skin. He was pummelling fellow Americans like Joe Hanks and Tor Hamer with ease but still seemed a long way from challenging the world’s best heavyweights.

That year Merchant, now 88, saw the round, boyish face and the big belly, then the hand speed and skills. He was shocked by his frame, but impressed by his game, and left China hoping Ruiz would one day knuckle down.


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