Andy Ruiz Jr. and Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller are forever linked by Miller’s positive test for performance-enhancing substances, which gave Ruiz the golden opportunity to replace him and win the heavyweight championship by stopping Anthony Joshua in 2019.

Now Ruiz (35-2, 22 KOs) and Miller (26-1-1, 22 KOs) will share a ring at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles on Aug. 3 as both men confront similar questions about their respective futures in the fight game.

For Ruiz, 34, of Imperial, California, it’s all about why he would waste nearly two years of his prime by sitting out of the action following his September 2022 unanimous decision victory over Luis Ortiz.

Ruiz’s reluctance to fight for lesser purses furthers the narrative that came after he stunningly shocked Joshua at Madison Square Garden in the upset of the decade.

A short five-plus months later, Ruiz showed up flabby and out of shape, and the far more athletic Joshua cruised to a sharp and evasive victory by decision in Saudi Arabia.

“If [Ruiz] doesn’t have the incentive to better his life after he’s already been down that road, where he’s blown it all, then you’ll never be able to get through to a guy if he doesn’t understand that,” veteran trainer Teddy Atlas said on Tuesday’s episode of ProBox TV’s “Deep Waters.”

Ruiz and Miller were part of Wednesday’s introductory news conference for the Aug. 3 card that marks the U.S. debut show of Turki Alalshikh, the chairman of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority, and is headlined by three-division champion Terence Crawford’s pursuit of a fourth weight-class strap versus WBA junior middleweight champion Israil Madrimov.

As with Ruiz, Atlas has deep concerns about Miller, who is likely to be subjected to drug-testing scrutiny following his 2014 positive result in California for the banned substance methylhexaneamine while fighting in the GLORY kickboxing circuit.

“Miller took such a beating in his last fight, versus [heavyweight title contender Daniel] Dubois. Wow!” Atlas said of Miller’s defeat last December in Saudi Arabia.

“Unless Ruiz is really a shadow [of himself], I don’t see how Miller can get back [to victory] in the ring, especially past this high level of a fighter.”

Atlas said Miller, who ultimately was found to have three banned substances in his system – including EPO and HGH – in the lead-up to the scrapped Joshua bout, has to answer hard questions because his lack of discipline has pegged him as “the guy who blew the $5 million to fight Joshua,” Atlas said.

“We talk about Ruiz’s habits and his weight. … Last I checked, Miller was over 300 pounds in Saudi Arabia. That wasn’t really good. So it’s an interesting fight.

“Both guys really have the incentive. And both guys – and I don’t want to use this term, because it sounds facetious – have to be hungry.”

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