Ruiz’s reminder that it’s the fight in the dog that really matters

Growing up in the then small town of Newcastle back in the 1970s felt pretty isolated from South Africa’s mainstream. So when one of our schoolmates became a national boxing sensation, it sparked a fascination for this brutal sport that has lived on.

So, I was enthralled at the Adobe Summit in London last year to hear then undefeated world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua talk about his life, his business career and how he manages his multi-million pound brand. Articulate, smart and disciplined, Joshua showed an intellect matching his superb physique. He had the world at his feet.

Until Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. When this man mountain was smashed by 12-1 outsider Andy Ruiz – a little-known Mexican-American journeyman with the physique of an American Jimmy Abbott. Flabby Ruiz, who jokes about getting sponsored by Snickers, only made it into the ring with Joshua after the original opponent challenger tested positive for a banned substance.

Even though Ruiz had lost only once in 33 fights, his victory is being hailed as one of boxing’s greatest upsets. But in boxing, as in life, what’s important is not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog. And despite his looks, Ruiz was quite obviously the hungrier of the two. A lesson for all of us.