THEY can goad him all they want but for as long as Andy Ruiz Jnr remains in possession of three of the four world heavyweight titles (WBA, IBF and WBO) it is he who will have the last laugh.
Laughter is seemingly the tool Ruiz will use to deal with the criticism of Tyson Fury, the self-proclaimed lineal champion who this week labelled him a “bum”, whereas quiet confidence will again fuel the Mexican-American when it comes to rematching former champion Anthony Joshua later this year.
Asked about Fury’s recent comments, centring on a belief Ruiz and Joshua are “bums fighting each other”, Ruiz told K.O. Artist Sports: “Yeah, Andy Ruiz is a bum, everyone’s a bum. I’m still a fan of the guy (Fury). I don’t know if people want me to talk bad about him, but that’s not the type of guy that I am.
“As long as he does what he has to do, I salute Tyson Fury. And Wilder, too, you know, because it takes a lot for us big guys risking our lives inside the ring to take care of our families.
“I’m not the type of guy to talk outside of the ring. But inside the ring, I’ll be doing all the talking for sure.”
To his credit, respectful Ruiz is the only one of the leading heavyweights who has this year taken a risk. Fury and Wilder, of course, chose to go their separate ways following a thrilling December rematch – beating Tom Schwarz and Dominic Breazeale respectively – and Joshua ignored the possibility of fighting Wilder, or even British rival Dillian Whyte, in favour of making his American debut in June.
Ruiz, though, when receiving the call to fill in for the caught-out Jarrell Miller, didn’t need to be asked twice.
‘First I want to focus on the rematch,” he said. “Joshua was overlooking me and saying, ‘After I beat Andy I’m going to fight Wilder,’ and this and that, instead of being focused on me.
“I think that’s what I want to do right now. I just need to focus on the rematch. I don’t care who I’m going to fight next after I win, the main thing right now is just to fight Anthony Joshua and beat him.”
That’s the thing with big upsets in boxing. Until the win is repeated in the rematch, some will forever deem it a fluke. It’s unfair, perhaps, but always the way.
It’s why, for Andy Ruiz Jnr, a return with Anthony Joshua is essential and all about proving the naysayers wrong – again.