When It All Doesn’t Line Up Nicely

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As I sit here tonight, I am alone once again.  No relationship, no close friends readily available to talk to.  It’s not like I can post something and have a plethora of people offering their assistance.  Life doesn’t seem to work like that for me.  It never has.

People that I  get mentored from rarely, and I mean rarely, message, call or text out of the blue to see how I am.  They have their own lives and responsibilities to look after.  Sorry to say, but that should never get in the way of reaching out to others.  With everything on my plate now with the stable job, nice place to live, volunteering and a “side project” (on Thursday nights), I still find the time to reach out to others.  Church shouldn’t be the place I go to get mentored, but that’s the way it is.  Try to plan to get together for lunch or something with somebody else is a time consuming process.  How hard is it to reach out to others and take the focus off yourself?  Regardless of things going well, or how well you think things are going for me, the Christmas season is kind of a lonely one, if you know my family dynamic you’ll understand what I mean.  So, keep that in mind.  Please.

Anyhow, last night I watched the heavyweight championship boxing title fight that took place in Saudi Arabia, between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz,

This could be a David vs. Goliath kind of story.  A tale of two different paths, two different lifestyles, two different boxers.

Joshua is black, from England.  He is a massive dude, standing 6’4″ tall and weighing 235 lbs.  He is chiseled, well spoken, humble and a good boxer.  He was the champion going into his title defense on June 1 in New York, holding three of boxing governing bodies championships.

Andy Ruiz was a last minute replacement to fight Joshua, on 5 weeks notice.  Joshua’s original opponent failed four drug tests and was taken off the fight card.

Ruiz is from California but of Mexican heritage.  He only had one loss in his career but was known as a guy that was one of the hardest punchers in the heavyweight division.  He didn’t have a title shot before, and as a result, didn’t make a whole lot of money in boxing up to that point.  It was a struggle for him and his family to pay their bills on time, as a result.  He also is a father to five children and married.

Andy Ruiz is also a heavy dude.  He came into that fight weighing around 265 lbs.  He said in pre-fight interviews that he was always known as the chubby fat kid that nobody took seriously as a boxer.

It was Joshua’s first fight in the United States after fighting exclusively in England with over 20 fights to his credit.  That night on June 1, it seemed like the moment was too big for him, he looked nervous and not completely prepared for what was about to happen.

Joshua knocked down Ruiz with a counter-punch that dropped him.  After that, Ruiz managed to give Joshua a concussion as he took a shot to the side of the head that offset his equilibrium and made his legs go.  His punches didn’t have the same snap, allowing Ruiz to get inside and after flooring the champ multiple times, the referee stopped the fight.

Ruiz was now the heavyweight champion of the world and the first fighter of Mexican heritage to become the heavyweight champion.  No longer did the Ruiz family have to struggle paying their bills.  Ruiz bought his mother a car, bought flashy jewelry for himself and was a media darling celebrating his newfound fame.

The rematch was held in Saudi Arabia.  Ruiz came in 16 lbs. heavier and tried to dismiss it as a concern, saying he had been in training and working hard.  Joshua, on the other hand, trimmed down about 10 lbs. for this fight, being in camp for three months leading up to the fight.  Joshua promised a different outcome, and boy was he ever spot on with that one.

Ruiz was the shorter fighter and needed to get inside.  Joshua kept him at bay using his long reach and keeping the distance with his jab, sticking and moving, careful not to get into any prolonged exchanges with Ruiz that might leave him exposed to get popped.  Joshua landed a stiff jab in Round 1 that opened up a cut on Ruiz.  For the rest of the fight, Ruiz looked overweight and slow.  Ruiz eventually lost the fight by a unanimous 12 round decision from the judges scorecards (118-110, 118-110, 118-109).

After the fight, Ruiz said he was overweight for the fight.  He also said he didn’t train as hard as he should have, never listened to his dad or trainer and tried to train his own way, and didn’t spend three months in camp preparing for this fight.

So, the obvious question is, what happened?  And why, during the pre-fight interview moments before the fight, did he look into the camera and proclaim that the morning of the weigh-in (one day before the fight, weigh in took place late afternoon), he said that morning he weighed the same as he did for his first fight, leading the interviewer to believe that Ruiz gained 15 pounds that day just from eating.  


In the post-fight presser (that is slang for press conference) Ruiz publicly apologized to his dad and his trainer, saying he should have taken the fight more seriously.

What I am trying to get at is, Ruiz is a boxer and has been doing it since he was six years old.  He knew the responsibility and the life of a boxer, how to train and prepare for a fight.  He should have known that Joshua was humbled and embarrassed that night in New York and was fully committed to training and correcting the mistakes he made in the first fight.  Ruiz lied and downplayed his lack of conditioning and weight gain for the rematch.  But in the end, he admitted that the combination of his work ethic, weight gain and taking it for granted lead to his loss.

When you have been at something for a long time and have had little success to show for it, once you finally make it to the big stage, it affects everyone in a different way, whether you are a boxer, or a comedian.  The preparation for each discipline is different.  In comedy you are mostly alone and have to create alone, practice alone and you don’t have an intermission to have a coach tell you what you did wrong, and how you can make the rest of your performance better.  That’s what an audience in comedy is there for, to give you instant feedback.

Ruiz looked like a fool and has probably taken himself out of the heavyweight title picture, especially since Joshua now has two mandatory title defenses to make from 2/3 of the sanctioning bodies titles that he currently holds.  Ruiz will probably never get this big of a chance again, and go back to the paydays he was used to getting before his first go around with Anthony Joshua.

I don’t get a lot of opportunities for the big stage to perform.  I can count on one hand the number of times that has happened, and none have gone well.  The preparation was there, but the belief was not.  There is that moment at the pit of my stomach that tells me it’s going to go like shit and usually does.  Never mind how good the material is or how well I did in previous shows up to that point.  None of that matters.  Whether I get another chance or not (I have had multiple second chances that always fail) is hard to say.

You need to be prepared at all times, because there may come a day when you get a second chance.  With Ruiz’s second chance, he had the belief but took the process for granted.  In my case, I don’t have the belief but am prepared.

How’s that for irony?


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