By Charles Brun: Deontay Wilder says he doesn’t care if Anthony Joshua is beaten in his December 7th rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr. because he’s going to face the winner of that fight either way. Further, unbeaten WBC heavyweight champion Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) thinks that a fight between him and Ruiz is a bigger match in the U. S than a fight between him and Joshua.
Andy Ruiz’s star power has gone through the roof since June
Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs) has become a huge star overnight since pulling off a major upset in stopping IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) on June 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Ruiz, 29, came into the fight viewed as having no shot at beating Joshua, and completely discounted by the boxing world.
After getting dropped in round 3, Ruiz stormed back with a vengeance to knock Joshua down 4 times in the fight before it was stopped in round 7.
Joshua isn’t ready for Ruiz Jr. rematch
“I just don’t think AJ is ready or that,” said Wilder to Sky Sports Boxing about Joshua not being ready for Andy Ruiz rematch. “I’m one of those people that he’s definitely going to have to prove wrong. I’m a fighter. I understand body language, and what his [Joshua] body said inside the ring let me know everything.
“You want to keep people guessing, and that’s why the second fight is bigger, because people don’t know what to think. If he’s not right, and he says one thing, and then does another, people are going to have their own perspective of what they think of him afterwards. That’s why people say if he loses, ‘it’s over,’ because people will think that it was what it was,” said Wilder.
Joshua might not be mentally ready to step inside the ring with Ruiz, but he’s already made up his mind. AJ is willing to risk everything, and it could payoff or blow up in his face. Wilder is betting that Joshua’s decision to go straight into the Ruiz rematch will result in him losing again.
At this point, it would be too much of a risk to put Joshua in with a good heavyweight with a similar style as Ruiz. If Hearn made that move, Joshua might suffer another knockout loss, and that would make it pointless for him to fight Ruiz again.
Wilder picking Ruiz to beat Joshua
“I think this adds even more pressure on top of him. Trust me; I have a sixth sense. I am,” said Wilder when asked if he’s picking Ruiz to beat Joshua. “And I think Ruiz has all the motivation and confidence that he needed in the first fight. Look at what his life has done. I don’t think he’s one to dwell on just a little bit of a taste of success, because making a million or $3 million or whatever the purse was, that’s just the beginning, especially when you become a champion.
You can’t get caught up in thinking, ‘Oh, $3 million.’ You’ve got to be saying, ‘If I can get that, then I can get more.’ But you’ve got to say hungry. What [Marvin] Hagler said, ‘I can’t get out of bed with silk pajamas.’ That’s what it is. You get too lazy. You get so comfortable. ‘I’ve made it.’ You get that feeling in your heart where you only wake up when you want to, and do what you want to do. You’ve got the money to go wherever you want to go,” said Wilder.
Many boxing fans are picking Ruiz to beat Joshua in the rematch. For those who are picking Joshua, they’re doing it based on their opinion that Ruiz’s win in the firs fight was a fluke thing. If they had been following Ruiz throughout his pro career, they might have a different opinion.
Wilder says Ruiz fight is bigger for him than Joshua
“With the win, that was a big booster, and it got a lot of people around him, especially the Mexican people,” said Wilder. “Every day they remind him. The Ruiz fight is even huger,” said Wilder when asked if it will bother him if Joshua loses to Ruiz, and he can’t fight him. “Whoever wins it’ll be a big fight, but the biggest fight of all is me and Andy Ruiz fight after that, because of his background.
“He’s got the Hispanic background, and he’s American. So he’s got both of the sides. And what he’s done being the first Mexican heavyweight champion of the world. That’s huge for Mexico. They never had that before. So a lot of people that weren’t alert about him, they are now, and you know how they are with boxing. So it makes it even bigger, and you’re in America. You know what I’m saying? It’s bigger than what Joshua can ever be,” said Wilder.
Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) could be right about a fight between him and Ruiz being a bigger fight than him facing Joshua. In the U.S, it makes more sense for Wilder to face Ruiz than it does against Joshua. If they take the match to the UK, then a fight between Wilder and Joshua would obviously be huge over there. It’s not a fight that would resonate in the United States as much as a Wilder-Ruiz contest.
Joshua chose Saudi Arabia instead of U.S for Ruiz rematch
The Americans have only seen Joshua fight in the States once, and that was his disastrous showing against Ruiz last June. Instead of Joshua bringing it back to the U.S for his rematch with Ruiz, he’s staging the fight in Saudi Arabia. Some see this move by Joshua as an attempt to hide from view in case he gets beaten a second time by Ruiz.
Taking the fight to Saudi Arabia won’t hide Joshua from the boxing world. It won’t work for Hearn if his goal is to prevent fans from seeing the Joshua-Ruiz rematch in case it doesn’t work in his favor. The fans are going to see the match regardless, and if Joshua loses a second time, his career is going to implode just the same as it would if the fight were staged in the U.S or the UK.