By Tim Royner: Strength and conditioning coach Angel ‘Memo’ Heredia says that trainer Ismael Salas was approached by former heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua to train him for his rematch with IBF/WBA/WBO champ Andy Ruiz Jr., according to @HustleBossTV.
AJ wanted Salas to train him in UK
Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) wanted Salas to travel to England to train him there for the rematch with Ruiz Jr. (33-1, 22 KOs), but the two didn’t agree on where the training should take place. Salas wanted Joshua to come to the U.S to train in Las Vegas, Nevada, which is where he now is situated. Joshua didn’t want to do that for whatever reason.
In the end, the two didn’t agree, and Joshua decided to stay with his longtime trainer Rob McCracken, who was in his corner for his recent seventh round knockout loss to Ruiz Jr. on June 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York. It appears that Joshua is going to stay with McCracken until the bitter end.
Joshua’s long time trainer can do down with the ship if Ruiz Jr. knocks him out again in the rematch, and sends his career sinking down to the depths. As bad as Joshua looked against Ruiz, it might matter who trains him for the rematch. The skill difference between the two fighters was too vast for Joshua to make up in one training camp. It wasn’t just a lack of boxing skills that hampered Joshua against Ruiz. It was also his poor conditioning, and his inability to handle the power of Ruiz. If Joshua comes into the Ruiz Jr. rematch weighing in the 240s or 250s, he’s likely going to get crushed straightaway. Ruiz will wear him out faster in the rematch, and send his career to the rocky bottom.
Joshua insisted on Salas coming to England to train him
“Me and Ismael Salas were very close to seal a training camp with [Anthony Joshua],” said Heredia to Hustleboss. “We got approached by Joshua, but Salas felt that Joshua needed to come to the United States to train here; not for us to go to London. So I respected that. I felt honored. I think Joshua is a great fighter. He reached out to Salas, and Salas reached out to me. Salas is already established in Las Vegas. Salas isn’t going nowhere else. He’s staying here for good. Salas is one of the best out there. It would have been good. I think he [Joshua] wanted to say in England. He wanted us to go up there. He [Eddie Hearn] was very supportive of it, because a lot of people thought he needed a change [from Rob McCracken]. Not only in his corner, but he needed a different strength and conditioning team,” said Heredia.
Heredia’s bombshell blows apart the belief that Joshua would remain loyal to McCracken. The fact that he was trying to get Ismael Salas to take over as his coach for the Ruiz Jr. rematch suggests that he’s not entirely sold on sticking it out with McCracken. It appears that Joshua will stick it out with McCracken for the rematch, but it’s highly possible that AJ will make a change if he loses that fight too. Staying with McCracken after yet another loss to Ruiz Jr. would arguably be foolhardy to the extreme. It would require a special type of individual to stay with the same trainer after another loss.
You can bet that Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing will be gently giving him a nudge to switch out McCracken for a new trainer if he loses the second fight to Ruiz. It wouldn’t be surprising if Hearn has already been bending Joshua’s ear to get him to replace McCracken for this fight. There’s so much on the line for Joshua. He’s a big money maker right now in the UK and U.S. If Joshua gets blasted out by Ruiz a second time, his money making potential could evaporate.
Heredia expects Joshua to make adjustments in Ruiz rematch
“Joshua is very athletic, but in my opinion…Salas decided not to go,” said Heredia. “Also, when they decided to stay with their same coach [McCracken], they have their own team. So I don’t want to. It’s going to be a tougher fight, not only because it’s going to be in England, but also because Joshua is going to know what to be doing. He’s probably going to adjust to go the distance, and to try and keep him [Ruiz Jr.] off. Joshua has the advantage of the long reach, but Andy has the speed, but he needs to get inside. Technical-wise, Joshua is goo, but Ruiz is way much better. He’s a Mexican. I call him Mexican Marquez,” said Heredia.
It’s a given that Joshua, 29, will make adjustments for the rematch with Ruiz Jr. in November or December. The question is whether those adjustments will work for him in order to keep the talented Mexican American off of him? What Joshua needs most of all is the type of referee that worked his fight with Joseph Parker last year in March 2018 in Cardiff, Wales. That referee, Giuseppe Quartarone, kept Parker on the outside all night long by preventing inside fighting from the combatants. However, it’s unthinkable that Team Ruiz would agree to Quarterone being brought back to work the Joshua-Ruiz rematch. Joshua and Hearn would take a lot of stick from the boxing world if they insisted on Quartarone being used for the rematch with Ruiz. It’s bad enough that Hearn wants the Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr. rematch to take place in Cardiff.
It’ll be interesting to see if Joshua has McCracken in his corner for the rematch with Ruiz. If he is still there, it could be a mistake by Joshua, because he’s not going to beat Ruiz using the tactics that he tried in the first fight. Moreover, Joshua’s huge bodybuilding physique isn’t going to help him in a fast pace bout against Ruiz. Being built like a modern day Primo Carnera won’t help Joshua win the fight.