6 months have passed now since Andy Ruiz turned Anthony Joshua as well as the heavyweight boxing world on its head.
Ruiz, who was a 30-day replacement for Jarrell Miller (tested positive for steroids), came in as an 11-1 underdog. I’m sure you’re aware of how it turned out on that early-Summer night at Madison Square Garden.
Ruiz is the shorter man but made the most out of his stature by lining up looping power shots over the top.
After he hurt Joshua with one of them, the Brit made a grave mistake and stood tall with a high guard.
A veteran of over 250 amateur and professional fights, it didn’t take Ruiz long to sneak a few around the gloves of his stationary target. Many believe that Anthony Joshua quit in there but I’ll let you guys decide that.
It’s well above my pay grade as a combat athlete, cornerman, and writer as well. Speaking of pay grades, Anthony Joshua is set to make over 80 million for this one.
Several experts have already called out the Olympic Gold Medalist for becoming far too comfortable with his life, albeit in hindsight, leading up to the June 1st showdown between these two.
That very well could have happened and it’s just another talking point we have to cover for this Saturday’s heavyweight title fight.
It’s not as close to a pick’em fight as one may imagine but the oddsmakers at least have it much closer than last time.
Anthony Joshua is a 2 to 1 favorite and the underdog Andy Ruiz is sitting at (+160) according to MyBookie.AG.
There are also many props available as well including will the fight go the distance and method of victory.
Let’s review the first fight, attempt to diagnose what went wrong for each fighter as well as make an attempt to give each guy a game plan for their sandy Saturday showdown in S.A.
Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz 1
- Both men started slowly with Anthony Joshua focusing on establishing his jab and Andy Ruiz countered with combinations.
- Joshua’s jab started to find its mark by the end of the round.
- Ruiz starts fast with a double jab and later times a nice right hand over the top that clipped Joshua.
- Anthony lands his first power punches of the night with a counter cross and potshot left hook as the shorter Ruiz got lazy with his feet.
- This is where things got interesting and fast! Joshua drops Ruiz with a rear uppercut and lead hook combo.
- Ruiz went down fairly hard on his butt. When Joshua blazed guns to finish, he caught a glancing blow behind the ear.
- This put him on baby deer legs and Ruiz kept up the pressure knocking him down in the ropes. Joshua saved essentially saved by the bell.
- Recovery round for both big men. Joshua looked very hesitant to exchange with the challenger.
- Ruiz continues to stalk his prey. Joshua beginning to back straight up with his hands down but the champ still lands a couple of half-hearted counters.
- Joshua lands a hard lead left hook in the last 30 seconds. Other than a few pawing jabs and tentative right hands, the left hook has been his only effective weapon.
- Bodyshots starting to slow the lazy Brit even more so. Shovel to the liver, right straight to the breadbasket, and a jab to the chest within 30 seconds had Joshua’s guard drawn in but Ruiz failed to capitalize over the top.
- A barrage over the top leads to the third knockdown of the fight for Ruiz.
- Joshua attempts to answer with some straight punches but far too slow for the ferocious Mexican Rocky.
- The Brit dropped again as his mouthpiece goes flying. The ref was giving him every opportunity to continue but it “appeared” he wanted out of there.
- Maybe he was waiting on them to get his mouthpiece but the look on his face said otherwise.
What did we learn from this?
I think a lot. Never at any point did the former champion Anthony Joshua seemed excited to be fighting that night. Andy Ruiz, conversely, saw this as the opportunity of a lifetime and treated it as such.
Joshua was just pawing jabs, probing rights, and never really threw his hands much. When he did, it was with a good deal of success as long as he wasn’t hurt while doing so.
It was mentioned that after Jarrell Miller was suspended and Ruiz stepped up on short notice, Joshua felt he needed to step up the punching power of his sparring partners during the last month of camp.
This may have been his early undoing as he appeared to be hurt badly by just glancing shots, albeit from a ripper like Ruiz but still.
What about the new champ? His right hand drops as he presses forward whether he throws the lead left jab or not.
This isn’t how he was getting caught because Joshua would only really throw hard punches when he was in pot-shotting range.
Conditioning seemed to be more of an issue for Anthony Joshua the last time around but he didn’t seem to be mentally focused or aware either.
I think he might have got ‘er into 2nd gear for about 30 seconds but other than that, he kept it in 1st and finished the fight in neutral.
Game Plan 2.0
More of the same, really!
I would like for him to keep his right hand up as he enters because even though it didn’t bite his bottom in the first fight, I have a feeling Joshua will put forth more effort in keeping the Mexican slugger at a safe range.
Ruiz is a good 4 inches shorter with over half a foot of reach to deal with against the Brit.
Joshua fought so lazily! Yes, the now-former champ does some of his best work inside-and did against Ruiz in June when he dropped Andy but he cannot just let the guy walk in on him like that. Here I go with Joshua, sorry. He frustrated me that much!
A quick note about both guys: They each lost weight for the rematch.
Ruiz lost fat and hopefully no muscle but I think Anthony only lost muscle. More on the Brit in a sec.
It just depends on how he puts his punches together but if I were his trainer, I would not have suggested this.
Ruiz can win again if he doesn’t use his right hand to deal with the jab too often as that’s how Joshua opened up his defense the first time.
If he can put together some more disciplined head movement and pair that with over the top counters, he will be that much closer to a successful defense of his titles.
Lastly and most importantly, Ruiz will have to go to the body! He may invest in it early on if he can close the range but he waited until round 7 in June and still made it work.
I know Ruiz deserves the love but it’s been hard not to focus on Joshua here. Andy fought nearly the perfect fight and Anthony Joshua did so many things wrong on several different levels.
First thing: Focus!
He has to want it! Fans watched in shock as he just didn’t seem to care. I’m glad he didn’t have any of my money riding on his boulder shoulders. Assuming his camp has gone better than the last and he is actually hungry for a victory, I know Joshua can win.
There have been rumors, however, that he was recently dropped in sparring and to be completely honest, fighting 6 months after being put down 4 times by one of the hardest punchers in the world is raises concerns.
That 80 million, though. I’ll step in there against Ruiz for that. They’ll have to watch my c-spine on the way out of the ring but I might survive.
As I mentioned a bit ago, each man lost a visible amount of weight for the rematch. I think this benefits Joshua two-fold. Ruiz just became smaller and less powerful while the former champ improved his conditioning and likely got faster.
While Ruiz was being hailed by commentators of the last fight as the Mexican Rocky, it’s Joshua who will be behooved to watch a little Rocky III in preparation for Saturday’s slugfest in the sandbox.
That’s Saturday afternoon for my North, Central, and South American readers.
When Rocky ran into Clubber Lang, he couldn’t rely on his heart to win him the fight as it had done in the past. Clubber was just too powerful and downright mean in there.
Balboa went to train with his old buddy Apollo Creed and learned to fight rhythm, quickness, and style.
He has to be elusive for the first time in his career.
While Joshua’s adjustment isn’t exactly that of Rocky’s, I see several similarities still.
Jab, jab, jab, and more jab. He never fully established it the first go ‘round. Early on, land the jab often and let it be a brick wall obstructing the entrance of Ruiz.
After a round or two, start to follow up with the straight right and even to the body especially since Ruiz will have less padding.
After a couple of rounds of that, then let the uppercuts and left hooks go depending on how the shorter man is defending.
Joshua can win but he cannot be lazy. His output will need to nearly double if he wants to keep Ruiz at bay.
This is a tough one, guys, especially with the betting lines as they are.
Ruiz convincingly beat him the first time. He’s the underdog now.
Why not? Honestly, that weight loss from the champ that has me really thinking. He is already much quicker and faster than Joshua. It was his extra pounds, though, that made the difference when those glancing blows landed.
Normally losing fat is a great thing. It does wonders for your entire mind, body, and soul but in this particular matchup, I believe it is disadvantageous for Ruiz.
Getting behind the (-200) for Joshua is difficult, though, considering how weak he was mentally and emotionally the first time these two fought. He has shown a great deal of heart in the past peeling himself off the canvas and coming back to finish Wladimir Klitschko in the 11th round.
Joshua won’t be hampered by as much muscle and if he sticks to his gameplan of simply out-boxing, ranging, and foot-working his way to victory, it should be fairly comfortable.
The fight goes to a decision betting odds are currently set at (-300) for no and (+225) for yes.
That tells us it is pretty likely this one ends inside the distance and the 5 total knockdowns from the first affair point in that same direction.
Ruiz is (+250) to win by TKO and an astounding (+1300) to win a decision.
I guess the sportsbooks have lost faith in the heart of Anthony Joshua as well. I think the fight will be much closer this time around.
I have to go with the guy who already has the mental edge stepping into the ring on fight night.
Andy Ruiz has knocked him out before and Joshua did not appear that he cared to continue fighting nor was he that upset the ref stopped it.
I know I broke it down for you already, but go back and watch the first fight between these two and you can compare notes.
This is a difficult rematch to pick because both men have lost weight and are entering the ring in potentially completely different mindsets.
On June 1st, Andy Ruiz had absolutely nothing to lose other than a few brain cells.
Now, he has four world heavyweight championship belts.
Joshua will likely be a different guy. If the rumors are true, before the first fight he was knocked out badly in sparring and even had a panic attack in the locker room.
He could show that he has this renewed vigor to win but he’s set to make 80 million.
Joshua is already talking trilogy and with this kind of money being thrown around, can you blame him?
If you want to just make it a fun night, throw a few bucks down on Ruiz winning a decision at 13 to 1.
Otherwise, don’t empty your bankroll on either guy but I like Ruiz’s combinations. Look for him to catch Joshua on the 3rd or 4th punch.