Andy Ruiz jr is the man most likely to be between our boxing star Joseph Parker and a world heavyweight title. Here are 10 things you need to know about the heavyweight.
1) The 27-year-old Ruiz was born in Mexicali but brought up just over the border in Brawley, California. His father forced him into boxing - the kid would plead to be allowed to play baseball. "(Dad) would always say, 'You have to train; there is nothing more important than doing your training,'" Ruiz told eurosport. Ruiz went on to fight for Mexico at the 2008 Olympic qualification tournaments but lost. He had a 104 - 8 amateur career. He turned professional aged 19.
2) He has won all 29 of his professional fights, 19 of those by KO. His most recent bout was a unanimous decision over the moderately rated American Franklin Lawrence in California. ESPN wrote that Ruiz "hurt Lawrence in the second round and proceeded to dominate the remainder of the fight in a methodical performance." He is ranked 7 by the WBC, 5 by the IBF, and 3 by WBO and 14 by fightnews.
3) Ruiz has ended up on the Parker radar after pulling out of a fight with Hughie Fury. Ruiz also pulled out of a Dallas fight in January. The latest decision has been described as "bizarre" by an SB Nation writer, who said Ruiz's career "has been going nowhere". After the Dallas no-show, veteran promoter Bob Arum said Ruiz could be his own worst enemy. "I love the kid...as a contender from Mexico, that makes him a bit of an anomaly in the heavyweight division. We want to have big plans for Andy. But because of the problems he remains a work in progress instead of the next big star."
3) Ruiz has worked hard over the past 18 months to shed weight. There was a time when Ruiz almost prided himself on being...FAT. He believes opponents underestimated him because of that. "They doubt me because I'm a chubby kid...when they get in the ring, they get their asses knocked out."
4) Everyone involved with Ruiz, and Ruiz himself, thought he was too fat after another slovenly performance in late 2014. Arum told ucnlive: "Even though he was winning, nobody would credit him as being legitimate because he looked like a slob...It was always, 'Yeah, he's a fat slob but his hands are so fast...' but he wasn't pleasing when he fought. All that giggly shit that..." Ruiz changed his whole lifestyle, losing 10 kg in the process. "A lot of stuff, all the fast food, the cheap food, the dollar menu - I had to cut all that off. You can train so hard and eat bad stuff and you're training for no reason."
5) So how big did he get? As an amateur, he gave 147kg a nudge. He was a cute 135kg when he turned pro. Between professional fights, the 1.88m Ruiz was known to ballooned to 131kg. He fought at up to 123kg. His ideal fighting weight is 109 to 111 and he aims to stay close to that after trimming down at a high altitude training camp in California. But there is concern that, as has occurred with many other fighters, Ruiz could be prone to weight-gaining relapses.
6) Ruiz started out with the famous Freddie Roach from the Wild Card Gym in Los angeles but sharing a coach with famous men such as Manny Pacquiao didn't work out. He shifted to Las Vegas, where Parker lives with his mentor Kevin Barry, training with Miguel Diz before finding Jeff Grmoja and then heading for a fat-shredding spell at the Abel Sanchez gym in the mountains.
7) When Ruiz pulled out of the main bout at a Dallas promotion in January because he wasn't in the right space mentally, he couldn't escape the fat/food jibes...from his own people. Grmoja said: "It's nothing physical. It's not an injury, or Andy was training at McDonald's or anything stupid like that. He wasn't mentally where he needed to be."
8) So what is his calling card, apart form being an non-athletic looking guy with fast hands who might not turn up for a fight. Grmoja told eurosport: "You've heard that old saying in boxing about heavyweights: One, two and dance with you.
"This kid, though, is different. He's a four-or five-punch fighter, which is going to force a guy to either fight that pace or get beaten up. You cut a tree down from the bottom, and that's where he likes to start.
"Downstairs is natural for him. He's just got to get the head moving. He throws a voluminous amount of punches."
9) Ruiz puts it this way. "I'm a fast, explosive guy, pressure. I try to dominate my opponent. When I was an amateur, everybody would say, "This kid is really slick, really fast.' When I came to the pros, I used that speed and it's working pretty good."
10) Bottom line: Ruiz hasn't fought anyone great. But he has sparred against at least one decent opponent...Joseph Parker. According to Parker trainer Kevin Barry, Ruiz had the best of their first battles about three years ago. It was even the next time, and Parker won the third.