Deontay Wilder believes Andy Ruiz Jr has a champion’s mindset and is backing the champion to retain his belts in his rematch with Anthony Joshua on December 7.
The Mexican-American will put his WBA ‘Super’, IBF, and WBO world titles on the line against Joshua in Saudi Arabia in a lucrative heavyweight rematch of their June fight.
Ahead of the bout, Ruiz displayed his drastically slimmer physique on social media, warning the Brit he would be ‘lighter, faster and more powerful’ for their second fight.
With just under eight weeks to go until the bout, WBC champion Wilder has identified a number of similar traits between the 30-year-old and himself.
And he believes history will repeat itself, with Ruiz leaving with the belts once again. Asked if he is backing Ruiz Jr to win, Wilder told Sky Sports: “I am. Ruiz Jr has all the motivation and confidence that he needs from the first fight.
“I don’t think he is one to dwell after obtaining a little taste of success. This is just the beginning, especially when you become a champion.
“You’ve got to stay hungry. My man Marvin Hagler said you can’t get out of bed in silk pyjamas, but with the win, it was a big boost, and he has the Mexican people around him.”
Ruiz has used his newfound fame and fortune to motivate him thus far, despite suggestions his lavish lifestyle could affect his performances.
He event went as far as to suggest AJ was taking cereal from his children’s mouths as a metaphor to signify his hunger for the rematch.
And Wilder welcomed the possibility of fighting the winner, although he admitted he would rather Ruiz came through.
“The Ruiz Jr fight is even huger,” he said. “Whoever wins is going to be a big fight.
“But the biggest fight is me and Ruiz Jr because of his Hispanic background, and he’s American, so he has both sides.
“Becoming the first Mexican heavyweight champion is huge because they’ve never had that before. A lot of people who weren’t alert on him, they are now.
“It’s bigger than what Joshua could ever be.”