Andy Ruiz Jr. (32-1, 21 KOs) has a chance to make history Saturday night when he challenges Anthony Joshua for the IBF, WBA (Super) and WBO heavyweight titles from Madison Square Garden in New York, live on DAZN.
If Ruiz pulls off the upset, he’ll become the first fighter of Mexican descent to win a piece of the heavyweight championship.
With Ruiz being of the verge of accomplishing something no other Mexican has been able to do, Sporting News takes a look at some of the high-profile heavyweights of Mexican boxing.
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Andy Ruiz Jr.
You have to include the man who is getting the opportunity many boxers dream of.
Ruiz had a decorated amateur career, going 105-5, before going on to win two gold medals at the Mexican National Junior Olympics. In 2008, Ruiz represented Mexico in the Olympic qualifying tournaments but failed to qualify
Ruiz made his professional debut at 19 in March 2009, defeating Miguel Ramirez via first-round knockout. He was undefeated through his first 29 fights until he faced Joseph Parker for the vacant WBO title in December 2016. In a back-and-forth affair, Ruiz came up short, losing by majority decision, which stands as the only loss on his pro ledger. Since then, Ruiz won his next three fights, including a stoppage victory in his most recent outing in April, when he made Alexander Dimitrenko retire on his stool.
When Jarrell Miller flunked a series of drug tests to eliminate himself from taking on Joshua, Ruiz stepped up to claim another shot at capturing the gold.
To this generation, Arreola is the fighter most synonymous with Mexican heavyweights.
After an extensive amateur career consisting of about 300 bouts that included a 2001 National Golden Gloves championship as a light heavyweight, Arreola (38-5-1, two no-contests) had his first professional fight in September 2003, scoring a second-round TKO of Roosevelt Parker.
For the next six years, Arreola steamrolled through the competition, winning his first 27 fights with 26 coming by stoppage. Those accolades netted him a crack at then-WBC champion Vitaly Klitschko in September 2009. Many boxing pundits felt Arreola would make history and dethrone one of the best heavyweights in the last 15 years. Arreola was instead outclassed and brutalized. His corner and the referee were forced to stop the fight before the 11th round began.
Since then, Arreola has fought two more times for the WBC title. He lost by sixth-round TKO to Bermane Stiverne for the vacant belt in May 2014 and then to Deontay Wilder by eighth-round TKO in July 2016.
The 38-year-old is looking to make one more run at a title shot. He has won back-to-back contests via stoppage since the loss to Wilder.
The native of Hermosillo, Sonora Mexico, had a unique career.
Starting in what is believed to be June 1963, Ramos beat Indio Lopez by first-round knockout. He won his next four fights and then went 0-6-2 in his next eight. From March 1966 to May 1968, Ramos won 14 consecutive contests to earn the chance to face former undisputed heavyweight champion and then-NYSAC champion Joe Frazier in June 1966.
In the first round, Ramos found some success when he wobbled Frazier with a right hand. The momentum didn’t last long as Frazier put him away one round later.
Ramos went 4-7-1 in his next 12 bouts before his ending his career in June 1977, on a 15-fight losing streak.
Like Ramos, Garcia had an interesting journey.
Before getting into the sweet science, Garcia, a former gang member, spent five years in San Quentin for assault with a deadly weapon when he stabbed a rival gang member.
Needing something to keep himself out of trouble and away from prison, Garcia took up boxing. As an amateur and competing at super heavyweight, Garcia won the United States national championship in 1986 and also won a silver medal at the 1986 World Amateur Boxing Championships.
Garcia made his pro debut in June 1987 and knocked out Cliff Melbourne in the first round. He proceeded to win 31 of his next 32 fights with his only setback being a stoppage due to a cut from Dee Collier in November 1988.
Garcia was on the cusp of receiving of a title shot against heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe in 1993, but Garcia didn’t receive it because his manager asked for too much money. Instead of getting the chance to face one of the best heavyweights in the world, Garcia fought journeyman Mike Dixon in August 1993.
Dixon shocked the world, blasting Garcia with a left hook to the temple and sending Garcia’s career into a tailspin. Garcia went 8-4-1 and never sniffed world title contention before his retirement in 1999.