Manny Robles, the head trainer of IBF, IBO, WBA, WBO heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz, had a dream that saw his boxer win the heavyweight crown from Anthony Joshua.
Robles admits that Ruiz, while having money issues and trouble with then promoter Top Rank, nearly retired from boxing.
And on Saturday night, Ruiz pulled off one of the biggest upsets in boxing history when he dropped Joshua four times to capture the unified crown with a seventh round TKO at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
“Andy was living in a difficult situation, about to hang up his gloves.
“I told him to hang on, not give up, we spoke every day. I said ‘come to the gym’, I promised that life would change.
“He was living in a difficult moment. He was having difficulties both economically and sports, he had problems with his promoter (Top Rank), barely had enough to take care of the expenses for what was necessary and he wanted to give a good life to his children.
“He had his responsibilities, he was not doing well and what affects you at home can also affect you in the gym,” Robles told ESPN Deportes.
But Robles had a dream that fueled hope.
“One day, I dreamed that he beat Joshua with a right hook. I told him that, that was a sign that life was going to change, I told him: ‘In a year, you are going to fight for the world championship and it will be with Anthony Joshua’ – and this year things started to change, he signed with Al Haymon, he gave him the date in April with Alexander Dimitrenko, he won and then got the fight with Joshua,” Robles said.
“In less than a week, the fight [with Joshua] was made and it could not come at a better time because Andy had been working for 10 weeks for a strong and tall opponent like Dimitrenko and now he had five weeks to work for another strong and tall opponent like Joshua.
“The only thing that surprised me about the fight was the way Andy got up from the canvas, like Joshua made him angry … from that point, the speed, waist movement, his calm demeanour, defence, everything went as we had worked on.”
Finally, about the possibility of a rematch, Robles said that Ruiz will have to get much better prepared for this fight.
“You have to prepare for the best, without overconfidence, you have to get to work and keep learning, improving in boxing, evaluate the first fight, see what we did wrong, what we did right and what we did well to improve on, nothing more.
“It will be an explosive rematch,” Robles said.