Even with some great fights coming up in the next few months, the media and boxing fans are finding it hard to discuss any emerging story more than the announcement and details of the rematch between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr. Is this because it is dawning on us all that Ruiz’s win was even more of an upset win than Tyson vs Douglas or Lennox Lewis’s two shock losses to Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman?
Because of the impact social media has on any news story, the Ruiz Jr win has had more type-face than the three afore
It seems fans are more interested in where the rematch takes place than whether ‘GGG’ gets his trilogy fight with nemesis Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. American fans make the point that AJ should fight Ruiz Jr at Madison Square Garden or some other venue in the USA in the rematch or else it looks as if he can only win if he has 80,000 screaming Brits, the referee, and the judges behind him. Eddie Hearn has said in interviews that AJ wants to go back to MSG for the rematch so that he can dispel those beliefs, but Hearn wants the fight in the UK.
Surely, that is what any good promoter would push for. Take every advantage to try and get the win, if the rematch goes AJ’s way and it is another exciting affair then have the trilogy fight back at The Garden, both fighters will earn big money, and let’s be honest, Joshua against the man who beat him at Wembley would be one of boxing’s biggest events in years, it could easily out
But, be warned Mr Hearn that Andy Ruiz Jr had 110 amateur bouts, many taking place abroad, he also had his first world title fight in New Zealand against local hero Joseph Parker and came away with a controversial decision loss, the judges scoring the fight 114-114 and 115-113 twice. Ruiz Jr might be a better traveling boxer than Joshua is used to.
The AJ and Ruiz Jr rematch will be the biggest event in the 2019 boxing calendar. Deontay Wilder’s rematch with 40-year-old Cuban Luis Ortiz should be a great fight for the fans, but nothing in the heavyweight division sells quiet like a Joshua fight, the man draws huge numbers and Wilder will probably never manage anywhere near that level of popularity or earning power. The same goes for Lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.
Hearn has stated that the rematch will happen in November or December, that makes Wembley a gamble due to the British weather, he has also mentioned White Hart Lane (the home of Tottenham Hotspurs football club) in North London, and the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales as possible sites.
It is hard to buy into the rhetoric from the Joshua camp that all was well before and during the Ruiz fight. Something was wrong because we have all watched very carefully how he carries himself on fight night. Go back, as I have and study the Klitschko and Povetkin bouts, AJ’s demeanour was so different, he looked like a man waiting for the guillotine to drop as he waited for the 1st bell to ring against Ruiz Jr.
Joshua’s conversation with trainer Robert McCracken during the breaks had never sounded like that, not even when he had been hurt by Klitschko or Povetkin. This was not the same Anthony Joshua.
When former WBA heavyweight champion David Haye traveled to Dusseldorf, Germany to face unified champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2011 he made one giant mistake when he announced at the post
If Joshua was not mentally or physically right going into this fight and he knew that he could not say that anything was wrong, it would make sense for him to evoke the rematch clause and make Ruiz Jr come to his back yard. If the rematch does take place in the UK, then Ruiz will have lost all the advantages that he held leading up to the first fight. AJ and McCracken now know exactly what Ruiz brings to the table.
The other scenario is that Andy Ruiz Jr has got Anthony Joshua’s number and if they were to fight ten times, Ruiz Jr would win nine of them. Do not rule that out completely. Ruiz has vast experience against every different style you can meet in a ring, he is a General inside the ropes, his boxing I.Q. could be higher than Joshua and McCracken’s combined. The new unified heavyweight champion of the world deserves our respect.
So, if the fight takes place in the UK in November or December, who wins? As I believe that Joshua was not himself in the first fight, I am positive that he will perform at his usual level and knockout Ruiz Jr in another exciting fight. There may be some fireworks before the end comes but I will be betting on a Joshua win.