By Barry Holbrook: IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. (33-1, 22 KOs) says it doesn’t matter what Anthony Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) attempts to do to win their rematch on December 7th, it won’t work. He’s going to lose again. Ruiz says Joshua’s “style is perfect for him.”
Joshua doesn’t move well, zero head movement, and poor stamina. In every department, Joshua comes out on the losing end against Ruiz. He ticks on the boxes of a losing fighter in Ruiz’s view.
Ruiz won’t get guaranteed third fight with Joshua. It’s not in contract
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing didn’t include another rematch clause to force a third fight between them. That’s not surprising, because if Joshua loses the second fight with Ruiz on December 7th, he’s not going to fight him a third time and risk losing three straight.
The only way there will be a third consecutive fight between the two is if Joshua wins the December 7th fight. The best thing that can happen to Ruiz is for Joshua to beat him, because that’ll definitely setup a trilogy match between them at some point in time. It likely wouldn’t happen immediately, because Joshua would need to fight one of the mandatory challengers. IBF mandatory Kubrat Pulev is waiting for his shot.
The WBO mandatory challenger is Oleksandr Usyk, who is one of Hearn’s fighters in his Matchroom stable. Ruiz likely won’t make anywhere near the same money fighting the other top heavyweights in the division. Fighting Joshua a third time gives Ruiz his biggest payday, but that fight won’t happen unless Andy loses the rematch. There’s no way Joshua will fight Ruiz a third time if he gets beaten again on December 7.
Oddsmaker have Joshua as favorite to beat Ruiz
What’s interesting is that Joshua is the betting favorite to beat Ruiz in the rematch just as he was last June. It’s as if the first Joshua-Ruiz fight never happened, because the bettors still view Joshua as the favorite. Bovada has Joshua the favorite by a -310 to +240 for Ruiz Jr. It’s possible that the combination Ruiz’s mild temperament, and his chubby physique has thrown off the odds-makers. Ruiz’s smiling nature makes him look harmless. He’s one of those types that throws people off.
Joshua might have gotten caught into the same thing in failing to realize how good the “smiling assassin” Ruiz was until it was too late. Now it looks like the odds-makers are about to make the same mistake Joshua did. Ruiz’s win over Joshua was similar to how a young George Foreman destroyed Joe Frazier in 1973. It was such a blowout that it would be unthinkable for the odds-makers to install Frazier as the favorite for the rematch between them in 1976. There’s a good chance that Ruiz does to Joshua what Foreman did to Frazier in beating him twice, and sending him into retirement.
Joshua will have Ruiz’s full attention on December 7
“It’s amazing. I don’t want anyone to stop calling me that,” said Ruiz Jr. to Fighthype about being introduced as the ‘unified heavyweight champion.’ “But I’ve got to work hard, stay disciplined, and win on December 7th. Inside the ring there’s not going to be no respect, and no friends between me and him. We just need to put that switch on, and it’s go time. Thanks to Al Haymon and PBC, we made an agreement, and we took the fight to SAudi Arabia. It’s a perfect way to go over to SAudi Arabia, and make history all over again.
It changed a lot. Not just for me, but for my family’s life, and my kid’s life. We don’t have to struggle no more like we were by paying the bills, and the rent. Stuff like that. I’m really blessed. And I give glory to God in how he changed my life. Of course, I’m still motivated, I’m still hungry, and I want to win more fights. I want to become undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. I’m not looking passed Anthony Joshua, but I’ve got to get that win on December 7th,” said Ruiz.
Ruiz’s life has changed dramatically with the money he made in his win over Joshua last June. Andy’ not going to want to return to this previous life that he had now that he’s tasted the good life. With the money that Ruiz made for his 7th round knockout win on June 1, he’s purchased a mansion, Rolls Royce, and a lot of other expensive items. His payday for his rematch with Joshua will add to his wealth.
Ruiz Jr: It doesn’t make any difference what Joshua does
“His style is perfect for me. Whatever he does, I don’t think it’s going to make any difference,” said Ruiz. “He can move around, and jab around, but I’m always going to be there. If he moves to the left, I’m going to be on the left throwing combinations. So that’s the different purpose between me and other fighters. That’s what makes me a different champion. Of course, he should be thinking that too, and that’s exactly what happened to him with the Klitschkos. He got dropped, he got back up, and he finished the fight. That’s exactly what I did on June 1st.
Yeah, he should have something to worry about, but I never underestimate no fighter; not him or the guy I just beat, because me and him have a loss. I learned a lot, and I was scared to lose. That’s why I don’t want to lose, and I’m not going to lose on December 7th. It’s going to be one hell of a fight. I don’t really predict what’s going to happen or the knockdown. We just know we’re going to train to get that victory, and be victorious,” said Ruiz.
Ruiz is probably right about Joshua having the perfect style for him. If you were to pick out the perfect guy for Ruiz to destroy, it would be Joshua. It’s almost as if Joshua was perfectly designed for a fighter like Ruiz to obliterate. This is like Foreman vs. Frazier all over again. Joshua isn’t made to beat a fighter like Ruiz, and there’s not much he can change to improve.
Hearn: Joshua will be “lighter and faster” for rematch
“He’s [Joshua] lost some weight, because he’s not doing his strength and conditioning,” said Eddie Hearn about Joshua. “What he is doing is working on his Boxing, and I think that’ll be key in this camp. I think you will see a lighter, faster AJ, but you still need to see a strong AJ. But I think you’ll see him leaving his strength and conditioning for this fight, and concentrate on his Boxing for this fight. It’s more about, ‘How do I win this fight.’ Nothing else matters but Andy Ruiz. I want to have it heavyweight focused,” Hearn said about the Joshua vs. Ruiz undercard.
“I really want to see what happens with Michael Hunter and Sergey Kuzmin next week, which is a great fight. It’ kind of like Hunter-Povetkin. We’re [Povetkin] in talks too, but he’s getting some good offers now from his win last week. Jessie Vargas vs. Liam Smith is a fight we’re looking at for that card as well. We’re a week away from finalizing the lineup. The SAudis say they want a big card as always, which I deliver,” said Hearn.
Joshua is talking about trimming down in hopes that’ll give him a better chance in the rematch, but that might not help. Ruiz doesn’t see it helping Joshua one bit. On the contrary, Ruiz believes Joshua will be weaker, and easier for him to beat.