By Aragon Garcia: American Andy Ruiz Jr. has been picked as the lucky challenger to face heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in a fight that will create a lot of interest on June 1st at Madison Square Garden in New York.
For Ruiz (32-1, 23 KOs), this is a great opportunity to introduce himself to the world, make huge money, and possibly pull off a major upset against the 3-belt heavyweight champion Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) on the 1st of June on DAZN at MSG in NYC.
Ruiz weighed in at 262 lbs for his fight this month against Alexander Dimitrenko on April 20th in Carson, California. Ruiz should still be in good shape, and ready to start training camp in a short camp to get ready to face Joshua on June 1st. Joshua and Ruiz Jr. will have vastly different physiques. Joshua is built more like an amateur bodybuilder, whereas Ruiz has the look of a weight lifter. It doesn’t matter that Ruiz doesn’t have the greatest physique. This is boxing. A fighter doesn’t require a great looking physique to be effective inside the ring.
There are a lot of people complaining on social media since the news of Ruiz Jr. having agreed to terms to face Joshua on June 1st, but it’s a good fight. There’s nothing wrong with Joshua facing a talented heavyweight like Ruiz. Joshua is going to be a real war.
Ruiz isn’t an easy out. Joshua is going to be in a real fight, and if he gets tired like he did in his fights against Dillian Whyte, Wladimir Klitschko and Carlos Takam, he’ll get taken out. Ruiz may look on the fat side, but he’s got a great engine, and he’s capable of bringing the heat all night long. If Joshua can’t hurt him, he’s going to be in trouble in this fight.
— Gerry Cooney (@gerrycooney) April 29, 2019
Some fans that aren’t familiar with the 29-year-old Ruiz might not like the idea of him getting a title shot against Joshua, but knowledgeable boxing fans that have seen him fight will know that he’s a good replacement opponent for Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller, who fell out of the fight after three of his drug tests came up positive for PEDS.
“Ruiz makes more sense than Hunter for several reasons. He’s Mexican, bilingual and will come forward and press the action. Hunter is a smooth boxer who could make for an ugly fight and is someone Hearn can really build. No reason to knock him off now,” Mike Coppinger said on his twitter.
Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport wanted initially Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte. None of them wanted to take the match at the money that was being offered to him. Hearn then signed Miller (23-0-1, 20 KOs) to face Joshua, the American fighter failed three drug tests conducted by VADA recently. Hearn tried to get Luis Ortiz as the replacement, but his management wanted more than what was being offered.
Ortiz’s promoter is rumored to have asked for $10 million for the fight, which was double the $4.875 million that Miller was going to get for the fight. After Ortiz priced himself out, it came down to Ruiz and Michael Hunter. Hearn wants to use Hunter as a future opponent for some of his other heavyweights in his stable. It’s easier for Hearn to get an outside heavyweight to fight Joshua than it would be get one of them to agree to fight the likes of Matchroom stable heavyweights Murat Gassiev, Oleksandr Usyk, Zhilei Zhang, Dave Allen, Dereck Chisora and Filip Hrgovic.
Ruiz is a little heavy, but he fights at an incredibly high level. He’s better than Miller in this writer’s view. Miller was fat, so there’s change with a fat looking Ruiz being used as the replacement. The only difference physically between the two heavyweights is the 6’2″ Ruiz is two inches shorter and approximately 50 pounds lighter than Miller. “Big Baby” Miller carries more muscle than Ruiz Jr., but he’s not as fast as him, and he doesn’t hit as hard.
Ruiz should have been given a win over Joseph Parker in 2016 in their fight for the vacant WBO heavyweight title. The fight took place in Parker’s neck of the woods in New Zealand, and he got the nod on the judges’ scorecards. Ruiz looked like he won the fight by at least four rounds.