By Charles Brun: Anthony Joshua weighed in at 247.8 pounds, and his opponent Andy Ruiz Jr. came in at a very hight 268 pounds for their fight this Saturday night on DAZN and Sky Sports Box Office at Madison Square Garden in New York. The weight for the 29-year-old Ruiz Jr. (32-1, 21 KOs) is his highest in five years since 2014. It’s one of the highest weighs of Ruiz’s career. That’s not good obviously.
During the face off, the much taller 6’6″ Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) looked in such better shape than Ruiz. It’s was hard to imagine that the two will be fighting this Saturday night. Ruiz Jr. said on Thursday that he weighed 260 pounds. It’s unclear where the extra eight pounds came from. Was Ruiz’s scale calibrated wrong or did he have a large breakfast and lunch today? It’s not a good idea for Ruiz Jr. to be so heavy for an important fight like this. On the bright side, if things don’t workout well for Ruiz Jr., he can blame a loss to Joshua on his weight.
As portly as Ruiz Jr. looked today, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn is going to take criticism from the U.S boxing public if this turns out to be a one-sided blowout fight on Saturday night. Joshua is making his debut in the U.S, and he wants to win over the fans. Hearn could have chosen a better fighter than Ruiz Jr. for Joshua to wow the American fans than Ruiz Jr.
Coming in so heavy was a calculated error on Ruiz’s part. He may fade quickly in the fight.
“I think Andy is a great challenger and will bring it, and the show goes on,” Joshua said. “My initial response [after Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller was removed from the card] was, ‘Who’s next?’ Eddie isn’t going to call me and say ‘Miller is out’ for a joke.’ He’s busy and he’s not going to waste my time either. He’s a straight-up guy. He called me and said, ‘Are you alone? Miller has failed a drug test.’ I said, ‘OK, what’s the situation? We’ve got to find a new opponent.’”
Josh Kelly vs. Ray Robinson
Undefeated welterweight contender Josh ‘Pretty Boy’ Kelly (9-0, 6 KOs) weighed in at 146.4 pounds for his 10 round fight against Ray Robinson (24-3-1, 12 KOs). The 33-year-old Robinson weighed in at 146 pounds. This is a step up for the 2016 Olympian Kelly from his last fight against Przemyslaw Runowski last April. It’s not a huge step up for the 25-year-old Kelly. Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn isn’t going to match Kelly tough yet due to this being his ninth fight as a pro. He showed a lot of defensive lapses in his last fight against Runowski that will need to be corrected before he fights the elite level welterweights. Hearn is excited about Kelly’s future at welterweight. However, the way he fought in his last fight, he’s not likely to ever win a world title. The talent just isn’t there. Kelly looks like a good domestic level welterweight, but that’s about it.
Joshua Buatsi vs. Marco Antonio Periban
Undefeated light heavyweight contender Joshua Buatsi (10-0, 8 KOs) weighed in at 174 pounds for his 10 round fight against former super middleweight world title challenger Marco Antonio Periban (25-4-1, 16 KOs). The 34-year-old Periban, who is moving up from super middleweight, weighed in at 172 pounds. Periban hasn’t fought in two years since his 12 round unanimous decision loss to Avni Yildirim in May 2017.
Hearn still feels that Periban is a good choice for Buatsi due to his experience, and the fact that he’d had problems making weight at super middleweight. Hearn doesn’t see the two-year layoff for Periban being a problem in this fight. The reality is, Periban is the B-side opponent, and it’s not important for him to look the greatest. This is more about Buatsi looking good in winning the fight. In other words, this is a showcase fight for the 2016 Olympian Buatsi. Promoter Hearn is looking to get Buatsi ready to challenge for a world title at 175 in the near future. He hasn’t said which of the champions he’s going to target for Buatsi to face, but his high #5 ranking with the World Boxing Association suggests that it’ll be Dmitry Bivol. That’ll be a tough fight for Buatsi when the time comes.
Chris Algieri vs. Tommy Coyle
Former WBO light welterweight champion Chris Algieri (23-3, 8 KOs) weighed in at 139.8 pounds for his 10 round fight against Tommy Coyle (25-4, 12 KOs). For his part, the 29-year-old Coyle weighed in at 139.6 pounds. The 35-year-old Algieri is supposed to win this fight, but it’s hard to predict if he can do that. Algieri fought poorly in his recent 10 round unanimous decision win over Daniel Gonzalez last January.
Algieri looked tired after the second round. He was still able to box his way to a decision, but it wasn’t an impressive performance. Coyle is a big underdog in this fight, but Algieri is starting to look old and past it. Don’t be surprised if Coyle wins this fight. Algieri was out of boxing for a couple of years, and since he came back in 2018, he’s not looked great. Algieri is back in his old weight class at 140, but he doesn’t have the punching power to compete with the world champions in this weight class against the likes of Regis Prograis, Jose Ramirez, Josh Taylor and Maurice Hooker. Those fighters are on another level. Coyle isn’t a big puncher, so Algieri should win this fight.
Katie Taylor vs. Delfine Persoon
Unbeaten Katie Taylor weighed in at 134.6 pounds for her fight against Delfine Persoon, who weighed in at 130.6 pounds.