Andy Ruiz Jr. has taken it upon himself to turn taunts into respect.
The unbeaten Mexican heavyweight claims at first he was laughed at because of his weight, but now that he has worked on it and has shown that he can go far, people believe in him more.
Ruiz (20-0, 14 KOs) faces Tor Hamer (21-2, 14 KOs) Saturday in Macao on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao-Brandon Rios.
After tipping the scales at just south of 300 pounds in his pro debut over four and a half years ago, Ruiz has lost almost 80 pounds.
"I have been working out in the gym," Ruiz said. "It's going well, but I have to keep it up in order to keep taking down everyone that challenges me. I know the team is doing a good job and that I have to give my all in the ring. If my coaches and promoters do their job well, the least I can do is give the best of myself in the gym."
For many years, Ruiz represented Mexico as an amateur in international competitions, but always fell short of his goals. He decided to take the leap to professional boxing, first training with Freddie Roach in California and now with Jeff Gramoja in Las Vegas after the little attention he was given.
"Since my debut I have lost almost 80 pounds," Ruiz said. "I feel a lot better, much healthier and faster. A lot of people said that I would lose my punch, but now I punch much harder. I feel stronger and you'll see it in my next fight."
Ruiz, 24, believes that between his efforts to lose weight and his performances, little by little he has earned respect, even in China, where he will fight for the second time.
"In China, they treated me really well, they like me a lot," Ruiz said. "The first few times they laughed when I took my shirt off, but when they saw me throw my punches and saw my opponent on the floor, they came over to my side and clapped. That's how it went."
Ruiz hopes to contend for a world title in the near future, but will let his people decide when he's ready.
"I hope to go for a title in 2014, or at least to get close," Ruiz said. "I am 24 and have had 20 fights. I hope we can organize something for next year. We're going to do things better for next year. I want to bring Mexico far. I hope someday I can be the champion."
In regards to his opponent on Saturday, Ruiz says the first two rounds against Hamer will be complicated.
"My opponent moves a lot, like the previous one [Joe Hanks]," Ruiz said. "That's his style. But with the pressure and the combinations that I am going to throw, I will finish him off in the third or fourth round."