By Barry Holbrook: Andy Ruiz Jr. revealed on Thursday that he’s currently weighing 260 pounds for his fight this Saturday night against IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua on DAZN and Sky Box Office at Madison Square Garden in New York. The fight card will streamed beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET on DAZN.
Ruiz Jr. is replacing 315-pound American heavyweight Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller, who was yanked from the card in a hurry after testing positive for three banned substances in GW1516, EPO and human growth hormone [HGH] in the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association’s tests. In total, Miller failed four drug tests. As a result, the New York State Athletic Commission denied him his boxing license. This was a huge blow to Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom, as he was the one that personally picked out Miller out of the pack.
Hearn could have selected the arguably more talented Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz, Filip Hrgovic or Michael Hunter, but he wanted Miller due to him being from New York and a good talker. Joshua is built like a bodybuilder, and holds three heavyweight world titles, but he’s NOT a good talker. Joshua tends to have a sleepy-eyed look to him, and his interviews tend to lack interesting soundbites. During the short period of time that Miller was on course to take the fight, he attracted a lot of interest in the June 1st contest.
Ruiz Jr. says he kept his weight high at the 260-pound range, because he’s fighting a big guy in 6’6″, 245-pound Joshua. Ruiz Jr. doesn’t want to be weak for the fight the way that fighters often are when they trim down 10 to 20 pounds for important fights.
“260 [pounds],” said Ruiz Jr. to Fighthype when asked how much he’s weighing right now ahead of his fight with Joshua on Saturday. “262 [lbs.],” said Ruiz when asked how much he weighed for his last fight against Alexander Dimitrenko on April 20th in Carson, California. “We wanted to keep the weight so I would be strong. I’m fighting a big, tall guy. I want to keep my power and feel good,” Ruiz Jr. said.
It’s been several years since Ruiz Jr. last fought in the 240s against Ray Austin in 2016. At age 29, it’s not a good idea for Ruiz Jr. to have dropped weight for an important fight against Joshua. When Ruiz Jr. was in the 240s, he didn’t look as powerful as he does when he’s fighting in the 260s.
Ruiz Jr. will be looking to spoil Joshua’s U.S debut
Joshua is making big debut in the United States on Saturday, and he wants an impressive victory. Although Joshua isn’t saying he wants a fast knockout, it’s clear that’s what he’ll be trying to do on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York. WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder his mark recently in knocking out Dominic Breazeale in the first round on May 18 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The Matchroom Boxing star Joshua has got to try and top what Wilder did by knocking out Ruiz Jr. That’s not going to be easy to do, because he’s not the same kind of puncher as Wilder is. Joshua, 29, has a lot of talent, but his heavy muscles give an inaccurate picture of the type of puncher he is. Joshua punches more like a smaller heavyweight. Joshua wins his fights by using his reach and boxing skill to defeat guys. Joshua will never be a puncher. He has the wrong physique for that.
Ruiz Jr. wants to be in the record books
“I want to be a legendary fighter. I want to be in the record books for fighters; Andy Ruiz, the first Mexican heavyweight champion of the world,” said Ruiz Jr. in talking about his goal for the Joshua fight. “On June 1st, that’s what we’re going to do. The heart that I have, and the passion. I’m not going to give up. I’m going to do what I have to do to win. This is my opportunity to become a legend. It’s a blessing,” said Ruiz Jr.
It would be a huge win for Ruiz Jr. if he’s able to defeat Joshua, as no one is giving him any shot at winning this fight. Ruiz Jr. is seen by a lot of casual boxing fans as the chubby replacement opponent for AJ to look good against in a showcase fight. The unfortunate part about Ruiz Jr. being brought in as the replacement is that a lot of casual fans aren’t taking the match seriously. It’s not helped that Joshua and Hearn have both been talking about future fights against Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk and Michael Hunter.
Joshua and Hearn have unwittingly undermined their own fight card on June 1 by talking up fights with Wilder and Fury instead of discussing the Ruiz Jr. fight. They’ve arguably hurt their own card by ignoring Ruiz and instead talking about future fights. Top Rank Boxing promoter Bob Arum would have likely not taken the same approach. He’s always been good at keeping the focus on the fight at hand rather than talking about future fights that may never happen.
“Hopefully, he’s looking passed me; ‘Ah, this chubby kid. I’m going to beat him really fast,’” Ruiz Jr. said about Joshua. “There’s more to me than that. I’m here to win.”
It’s academic that Ruiz Jr. is being overlooked in this fight by the boxing public. They’re judging a book by it’s cover without looking inside to see what’s in there. Ruiz Jr. has a lot of talent, but people are judging him by his appearance unfortunately. With little expected of him, Ruiz Jr. has a good chance of shocking the world on Saturday night by showing fans that he’s a lot better than he think he is.
Joshua wanted Deontay Wilder for next fight
Joshua and Hearn are both looking beyond the Ruiz Jr. fight, counting it as a win already, and talking up the next possible fight against Oleksandr Usyk or Kubrat Pulev. Joshua wanted WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) to commit to a unification fight against him next, but he decided instead to face Luis Ortiz in a rematch for September. Joshua and Wilder have both talked of wanting to fight each other for the last two years.
It was only recently where it got serious due to Joshua and Hearn finally being open to give Wilder the split that he was asking for. Before that, Wilder wasn’t even being offered a split. He was being offered flat fees by Hearn to take the Joshua fight, which was a clear sign that there was an imbalance in popularity between the two heavyweight champions. But now that Wilder has suddenly increased his popularity worldwide, Hearn is finally willing to offer him a deal that could eventually see the fight made.
Joshua attempted to increase the pressure on Wilder this week when he was interviewed on ESPN’s First Take show, and said, “It will be good for me and Wilder to sit down and talk and get this fight negotiated. I’ve just come to the decision it’s important for me and Wilder to sit down man-to-man and iron out our differences and get this fight made.”
Not long after that show aired, Wilder announced the news of his rematch with Luis Ortiz to his millions of followers on his Twitter site. The rematch between Wilder and Ortiz means that the fight for the undisputed heavyweight championship between Deontay and Joshua will need to wait another year until 2020. The two heavyweights can start again with potential negotiations. Wilder is expected to fight Adam Kownacki after the Ortiz fight, and then there’s the Tyson Fury rematch. It’s very likely that the Joshua fight will get pushed to 2021, unless Wilder wants to fight three times in 2020.