Ex-titleholder Andy Ruiz parts ways with trainer Manuel Robles

As former heavyweight titleholder Andy Ruiz continues his career, he will be doing so without trainer Manuel Robles Jr., who confirmed to ESPN on Wednesday night that he has parted ways with the boxer he helped lead to the title in June.

Ruiz (33-2, 22 KOs) pulled off a monumental upset at Madison Square Garden by knocking out heavily favored Anthony Joshua in seven rounds to capture the WBA, IBF and WBO titles, but he gave back the belts in December when he lost a lopsided 12-round decision to Joshua in Saudi Arabia.

Ruiz was widely panned for entering the rematch at 283.5 pounds, after he had been 268 pounds in their initial meeting. After his loss, Ruiz admitted he cut corners in his preparation for the rematch. His performance was as bad as his physical appearance, and Joshua easily outboxed a slow and sluggish Ruiz to reclaim his belt.

Robles said he has had very little contact with Ruiz since returning to the States, but said he received a call from his father, Andy Ruiz Sr., on Wednesday morning, requesting a meeting. The trainer understood immediately what would take place.

"He wasn't stopping by to say hello or have lunch, that's for sure," Robles said, chuckling.

For Robles, the split was inevitable from the moment the rematch with Joshua ended in December.

"I've seen it coming, I'll be honest with you," Robles said late Wednesday night. "I've seen it coming during camp. I saw it coming, Andy was just doing whatever the hell he wanted to do. The dad, obviously with him being the manager, he just had no control over his son. None of us had control of him, for that matter.

"So I just saw it coming, it wasn't going to work because he wasn't listening. He's not listening to me, he's not listening to his dad, he's not listening to anybody. He said it himself after the press conference [in Saudi Arabia]. He apologized to me, to the dad, because he f---ed up. So I figured, 'OK, it's only a matter of time before I get the call.' Fortunately for me, Andy took the blame on himself and didn't sit there like a majority of fighters and blame the coach."

Ruiz's camp did not immediately respond to a request for comment by ESPN.

Robles, a veteran of the business, said he was told by Ruiz's father that it was Al Haymon's decision to replace him. Haymon advises Ruiz, who fights under the banner of Haymon's Premier Boxing Champions.

"They apparently told them that they didn't want the same thing to repeat itself, again," Robles said. "It is what it is, I don't know what to tell you. It's not the first time it's happened to me. I'm sure it's not the first time it's happened to other coaches. It happens time and time again. We always end up getting the short end of the stick. But it is what it is, you keep moving forward."

Ruiz went from being a feel-good story from 2019 to a cautionary tale in just months. But Robles said he still has fond memories of the journey.

"Absolutely, look I've got to tell you I'm absolutely grateful and blessed to have been able to experience everything that I was able to experience in 2019," he said. "I mean, we made history, and I have to be thankful for that. I have to be thankful to Andy and his dad for giving me the opportunity to be part of something special, to have made history -- for him to become the first Mexican heavyweight champion of the world.

"I really believed coming into the second fight that we were going to be able to do it again. But obviously you can't do that if the fighter isn't there, if the fighter doesn't want it. I did everything I could as a coach, as a teacher, as a friend, but again, as I said, if the fighter's not there, what can I do?"