Sunday, March 26, 2023  |


Manny Robles responds to Anthony Joshua’s comments on Andy Ruiz’s ‘luck’

Trainer Manny Robles (center) and his charge, IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight titlist Andy Ruiz. Photo credit: Getty Images

He was in the corner for the upset of the year and his guy had his hand raised. His guy did what many folks was unthinkable. Manny Robles saw it firsthand, as close as anyone but referee Michael Griffin and the main eventers at Madison Square Garden on June 1. And wait…was what he saw the product of luck?

That is what the dethroned heavyweight king Anthony Joshua has said.

Andy Ruiz beat me, he stated, compliments of “a lucky punch.” More specifically, “a punch sent by the Gods.”

The 22-1 (with 21 knockouts) Brit, age 29, said this to Anna Woolhouse on “AJ: The Untold Truth,” a Sky Sports offering, when discussing what went wrong against Andy Ruiz Jr., and what he believes will happen in the rematch in December.

The program isn’t available to watch online in America.

I checked in with Robles, who was working with clients in his gym, in California. What is his take on “AJ’s” declaration?

“I don’t think anything of it,” said Robles, who can snag “Trainer of the Year” honors if or when Ruiz repeats the task in the rematch on December 7. “What is there to think of? We know exactly what happened. AJ must have hit Andy with a lucky one too, except Andy got up!”

If you recall, on June 1, the 268-pound Ruiz went down in round three. The “composed and ferocious finisher” kept at it, looked to finish the flurry but Ruiz fired back…and returned the favor. A left hook sent the Brit to the mat. Was that “lucky?” The second knockdown scored by Ruiz in round three…More luck? The knockdown in round seven, off a flurry, a nasty barrage…Luck did it? That third one because Ruiz was enjoying more “luck?” The flurry later in that round, the fourth time Joshua went down. Luck explains it?

“Ready to box?” Griffin asked AJ, whose body language screamed “Not at all!”…C’mon, rhetorical question: Was this about luck or more so about skills and preparation and fire and desire? And yeah, maybe AJ came in with a half-rung bell. Maybe he’d been whacked around too much in training. However that wouldn’t be about luck; that would be about an outcome correlating with circumstances. It would be about reality aligning with the trajectory of actions and deeds leading up to the crucial moment.

“Andy took several hard shots from Josh, was able to withstand it,” Robles continued. He made his point but stayed classy and dignified in saying, “We take nothing away from AJ. I’m not and Andy won’t be offended (by AJ’s “lucky” punch theory). We just gotta get ready for the fight. May the best man win again! We will work to ‘get lucky’ again,” he said, with a wry chuckle.

“Luck is what happens when opportunity and dedication meet,” the tutor stated. “We’ll be ready for the challenge once again…We respect Joshua; he’s done a lot for boxing, won that Olympic gold medal. But we got time on our side and Andy is coming back to the gym this week!”

My three cents: Some are theorizing that AJ’s comments are mostly or purely about stirring the pot. Is he trying on a new “heel” persona, perhaps? If yes, he’s succeeding but, if not, it should almost go without saying but I will say it anyway – to explain away getting knocked down four times and getting stopped, that being because the other guy got “lucky” is defying common sense, when the other guy is 29 and has been boxing since he was seven years old. Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs) didn’t beat Joshua because his fingers were crossed inside his gloves; he did so because he’s a capable professional. Only AJ knows why he trotted out the “luck” theory but, whatever the reason, you can be assured he is off-base – far off-base – with that assessment. And I’m sorry but if there’s anyone out there that thinks God plays favorites in prizefights and chooses to be hands-off regarding a little kid fighting cancer, he or she should re-think that silly notion right quick. Those things hitting you on June 1 were not thunderbolts from God and Lady Luck shining down on Ruiz, AJ; those were punches thrown by a skilled professional. To portray the win as coming because Ruiz got lucky is more than a bit disrespectful to the Mexican-American pugilist.



Michael Woods is a journalist who worked at NY Newsday and ESPN Magazine before starting his own website He is a Brooklyn, New York resident. who does blow-by-blow for the “Facebook Fightnight Live” series as well. You can follow him on Twitter @Woodsy1069.




Struggling to locate a copy of The Ring Magazine? Try here or

You can order the current issue, which is on newsstands, or back issues from our subscribe page.