By Charles Brun: Anthony Joshua is unhappy with the helpful criticism given to him by former unified heavyweight world champion Lennox Lewis following his surprising seventh round knockout loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. on June 1. Lewis, who suffered two upset knockout losses during his own career to Hasim Rahman and Oliver McCall, says Joshua looked unprepared for the Ruiz contest.
Lennox believes that Joshua needs to dump his longtime trainer Rob McCracken, and look to get his mind together to deal with the mental demons before facing Ruiz again. Joshua has shown no interest in getting rid of McCracken, and he’s also resistant to the idea that he should take a tune-up fight before facing Ruiz a second time. Lewis’ advice to AJ in giving McCracken the boot was what a lot of boxing fans were and still are recommending. Joshua has been with McCracken his six-year pro career, and he’s not fixed all the weakenesses in his game.
Joshua still has terrible stamina, and his chin is just as bad as it was when he started his career. Moreover, Joshua doesn’t use his jab, move his head, and more about the ring. All that should have been fixed by McCracken years ago. Joshua walking about looking like a bodybuilder is another thing that McCracken should have been on him about. AJ needed to have his weight in the 220s, but he started lifting weights and bulked up to the 250s.
Joshua showing resistance to helpful advice from Lewis
All the common sense advice that Joshua has been given, he’s ignored. Joshua is stubbornly steering his ship along the path that he thinks will bring him success. Naturally, Joshua is setting himself up in a major way for guys like Lewis to come in afterwards and tell him, ‘I told you so. You should have changed out McCracken, and taken some tune-ups.’
“I can’t look at that fight and agree that AJ was fully prepared,” said Lewis in a Tweet in talking about how unprepared he looked against Ruiz Jr. “If AJ fixes what needs to be fixed, it will be a different fight. Ruiz hasn’t faced the best AJ yet. If AJ doesn’t get things fixed, could be a repeat for Ruiz in same fashion. Until I see see both fighters signed on the bottom line, I don’t believe it.
Although I wouldn’t mind seeing it in Mexico, I would think [Eddie] Hearn would angle for the Cardiff or Wembley, or worse comes to worse, NYC again.Wow! He’s right! We ARE cut from a different cloth. Undisputed wasn’t something I “worried” about. It was something I went after until it was accomplished! I think this speaks for itself. Casting me as a “jealous hater” for AJ’s career is nonsense. It all started with rightful criticism for not doing enough to make [Deontay] Wilder fight happen. I won’t be pitted against AJ. #TheHearnAgenda,” said Lewis.
Lennox wanted Joshua to fight Ruiz in Mexico
Lewis (41-2-1, 32 KOs) might have also angered Joshua by recommending that he take the rematch against Ruiz Jr. (33-1, 22 KOs) in Mexico rather than in the UK, which is where his promoter Eddie Hearn had been banging the drum for. Although Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) has repeatedly said that he doesn’t care where the rematch with Ruiz takes place, it appears that he does care very much. If Joshua didn’t care, then he would have accepted Joshua’s harmless advice about fighting Ruiz Jr. in Mexico without getting all worked up, and talking about being “cut from a different set of cloth” than him.
Lewis is a clown says Joshua
“Me and Lennox are not the same. My legacy is to sit back and enjoy the younger generation coming up, and not to be involved. Just to appreciate what it takes to get there. Lennox isn’t like that,” said Joshua to Sky Sports. “Me and Lennox are cut from a different cloth. Lennox is a clown. I don’t respect Lennox. I became heavyweight champion, I unified the division twice, and now my goal is to become two-time heavyweight champion of the world. Once I achieve that, I can look at becoming undisputed champion,” said Joshua.
AJ’s fans want Lewis to criticize Wilder and Fury
Joshua’s boxing fans are angry with Lewis for him not attacking WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder for him sitting on one title, and not looking to unify the belt against AJ. They want to change the frame. Instead of Lewis giving Joshua helpful criticism, they want him to dissect Wilder and Fury and unload on both of them. Lewis has so much to criticize in Joshua’s game, because he looked so lost and amateurish in his loss to Ruiz.
It’s obviously difficult for Lewis to stay patient with Joshua, because the two fighters came from much different backgrounds in their boxing careers. Lewis had a lengthy and successful amateur career before turning pro in 1989. His record was 94-11 as an amateur. Lewis’ 1988 Olympic gold medal victory over Riddick Bowe was a decisive second round stoppage. All of Lewis’ wins in that Olympics were stoppages. In contrast, Joshua won a controversial Olympic gold medal in 2012 in London with many boxing fans believing he deserved a loss to Roberto Cammarelle [Italy], Erislandy Savon [Cuba] and Ivan Dychko [Kazakhstan].
Even Joshua’s win over Zhang Zhilei [China] was questionable. Lewis was clearly a far more polished amateur and pro than Joshua. So it’s not surprising that Lewis wants to help him in a mentor capacity. That fact that Joshua is unwilling to take the advice from Lewis is disappointing, because one would think AJ would look up to him. With everything that Lewis has accomplished in boxing, why wouldn’t Joshua seek him out for guidance?
Disappointed in AJ’s words but I understand that this “jealousy” narrative was only fabricated AFTER I criticized them for Wilder negotiations. All of the sudden im a hater. 🤷🏾♂️ Ask who benefits from such a simple minded narrative? Not AJ. Not me.
— Lennox Lewis (@LennoxLewis) August 15, 2019
Lewis could be more helpful to Joshua than Hearn
Joshua might not realize it yet, but Lewis’s pearls of wisdom he’s been giving him to have arguably been better than what Hearn has been giving him. Hearn seems to be Joshua’s enabler, and it letting him foolishly take the immediate rematch with Ruiz instead of taking a tune-up. Lewis, who comes from a boxing background, realizes that this isn’t the smartest thing for Joshua to be doing. So he’s warning Joshua to tell him that there’s danger ahead, but AJ isn’t listening to him. He thinks he knows better, because of his past successes as an amateur and pro.
Joshua is drunk on the success that he’s had in the past, and he doesn’t realize that he’s accomplished very little. He should have arguably lost two to three times in the Olympics, and he would have been beaten by Wladimir Klitschko in the pros if not for the Ukrainian making a crazy decision to try and box after he hurt him in round six. If anything, Joshua should have Lewis as his trainer, and listen to everything this guy says, because he knows what he’s talking about. Lewis would be an excellent mentor for Joshua to steer him into making the right moves with his career, and that includes when and where to take the rematch with Ruiz.