Boxing

Andy Ruiz Jr. vs. Tor Hamer: Preview and Prediction for Heavyweight Bout

Briggs SeekinsFeatured ColumnistNovember 20, 2013

Andy Ruiz Jr. vs. Tor Hamer: Preview and Prediction for Heavyweight Bout

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    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    There will be heavyweight action in Macau, China, this Saturday, as undefeated Andy Ruiz Jr. faces his toughest test to date against the physically imposing Tor Hamer as part of the Manny Pacquiao vs. Brandon Rios pay-per-view.

    Neither Ruiz nor Hamer has quite achieved true contender status to date, but each has displayed potential in earlier bouts. Two minor titles, the WBO Inter-Continental and the vacant NABF, will be on the line.

Tale of the Tape

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    Per BoxRec      Andy Ruiz Jr.      Tor Hamer 
    Record:     20-0, 14 KOs      21-2, 14 KOs 
    Height:     6'2"      6'2" 
    Reach:      74"      74" 
    Weight:     About 255 pounds      About 225 pounds 
    Age:      24      30 
    Stance:     Orthodox     Orthodox 
    Hometown:      Imperial, California     New York, New York 
    Rounds:      67      67 

    There are a lot of similar numbers between the two combatants in this tale of the tape. Ruiz has averaged about 30 pounds heavier on the scales, but it's not a very solid 30 pounds.

    Although he's living in Imperial now, Ruiz is a native of Mexicali in boxing-obsessed Baja California. Hamer is a native of the Big Apple who got started in the sport at the famed Gleason's Gym.

Main Storylines

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    Andy Ruiz represented Mexico in the 2008 Olympics and is a two-time Mexican Junior Olympics champion. He's probably the top current heavyweight on Top Rank's roster and is trained by Freddie Roach.

    Like most big men, he's been developed with caution. But last July he faced off against fellow undefeated prospect Joe Hanks and turned in a stellar performance, stopping Hanks by Round 4 TKO.

    Tor Hamer's background is somewhat unique for a heavyweight contender. His father went to Harvard, his mother to Vilanova, and Hamer himself has a Bachelor of Arts from Penn State. 

    Educational accomplishments aside, Hamer has done some good things in the ring. In June 2012, he won a Prizefighter tournament in Great Britain, which required him to take a three-round decision from former world-title challenger Kevin Johnson.

    Hamer lost a six-round split decision to Kelvin Price in 2010 and retired in his corner after Round 4 against Vyacheslav Glazkov last December. He's won two fights since, including a Round 1 TKO of Kertson Manswell in his last fight.

Strengths

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    Andy Ruiz Jr. has an extensive amateur background and one of the top trainers in the sport in Freddie Roach. Not surprisingly, his boxing skills are excellent. He has a very effective jab and head movement, and he lowers his levels well. 

    His overhand right is a dangerous punch, and his left hook has knockout potential. He's a classic boxer-puncher who uses his craft to set up the big shot. 

    Tor Hamer is an athletic fighter with legitimate boxing skills. Like Ruiz, he has a solid amateur background, having won a national Golden Gloves championship.  

    Hamer has quick hands and knockout power. He's an intelligent fighter and has demonstrated the ability to vary his game plan based on his opponent.

Weaknesses

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    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Andy Ruiz Jr. is at least 20 to 25 pounds overweight. Heavyweights can often get away with carrying a little extra padding in the midsection, and Ruiz's flabby physique has not held him back so far. 

    But I just don't believe he can carry all that extra fat without it compromising his conditioning. 

    Tor Hamer wilted under the pressure of Vyacheslav Glazkov last December, absorbing a lot of big shots in the first four rounds before giving up on his stool prior to Round 5. I think Hamer had better hand speed than Glazkov, but he couldn't handle the Ukranian's timing and accuracy. 

    Hamer is a smart guy, and I don't fault him for protecting his own safety. He's got a life to look forward to after boxing. 

    Still, I think quitting mid-fight is likely to play havoc on any fighter's confidence. Hamer has bounced back since against lesser opposition, but it remains to be seen how he will react once he's under pressure again.

Andy Ruiz Jr. Will Win If...

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    Andy Ruiz Jr. should be able to win this fight if he is able to apply steady pressure to Tor Hamer and force him to exchange backing up. Ruiz should establish his jab to cut off the ring, presenting difficult head movement and level changes to disrupt Hamer's timing. 

    Ruiz should be aggressive with his overhand right and pair it with his left hook. He should maul Hamer in the clinches and lean with his extra weight, then separate and throw his short hook.

    Ruiz needs to score heavily on Hamer in the early rounds of the fight. If he lets Hamer make it to the middle rounds in good shape, advantages in speed and conditioning could start to give Hamer the edge.

Tor Hamer Will Win If...

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    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Tor Hamer will need to use a lot of movement in the early rounds to test Andy Ruiz Jr.'s conditioning. He should step to his left behind his jab and attempt to wind Ruiz into his overhand right. 

    Hamer needs to attack Ruiz's body. He should parry or slip Ruiz's jab and counter with a straight right to Ruiz's soft midsection. Hamer should step left behind his jab and then throw a lead hook to Ruiz's ribs. 

    If Hamer can avoid taking too much damage in the early rounds, he will have an excellent chance to win down the stretch. He has better athleticism and conditioning and should be able to carry the later rounds if he can make it that far without getting badly hurt.

Prediction

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    This looks to me like a pretty evenly matched fight with the potential to be exciting. Both men have solid boxing skills and knockout power. 

    But Ruiz is the better boxer, and I think that's going to make the difference. He's a more accurate puncher with better footwork and timing. I think he'll be able to get the better angles on Hamer and land the harder scoring punches.

    If Hamer can avoid Ruiz's big punches over the first half of the fight, things could start to change quickly. If the fight goes the distance, I think Hamer will eke out a close decision.

    But ultimately I think Ruiz will land too heavy, too often in the early rounds. I'm picking him to win by Round 6 KO.

    Ultimately, I'm not sure how relevant this fight truly is in the heavyweight division. Both men have talent, but last December against Vyacheslav Glazkov, Hamer appeared to still be on the wrong side of a steep learning curb.

    Ruiz has the tools to be a true contender, but not so long as he's carrying so much extra weight.

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