Anthony Joshua is a huge favorite over Andy Ruiz, but should he be?
Max Warren says no!
On June 1st at Madison Square Garden, Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21KOs) and Andy Ruiz Jr. (32-1, 21KOs) will square off for the WBA, WBO, and IBF heavyweight world titles. Ruiz is currently considered a 25-to-1 underdog, but he will be a far tougher test for Joshua than 25-to-1 odds indicate. Ruiz is excited about the opportunity, and the fight is arriving at the perfect time for him.
Joshua was supposed to face trash-talking heavyweight Jarrell Miller, but the fight fell through due to an astonishing three positive drug tests from Miller. It was disappointing when Miller failed the test, as 17,000 tickets had already been sold for the fight. Fans wanted to see how Joshua would cope with a 315-pound heavyweight with a high activity level.
Also, Miller talked a lot of trash in the lead up, which always makes a bout more intriguing to fans. Despite the regularly-scheduled match-up getting cancelled, late-replacement Andy Ruiz is a more proven and complete fighter than Jarrell Miller.
Miller hasn’t defeated any top heavyweight contenders, while Ruiz nearly defeated former WBO Heavyweight Champion Joseph Parker in Parker’s backyard of New Zealand. Many people even thought that Ruiz might have edged Parker out. Typically, the boxer fighting in his home country has the advantage when the bout goes to the judges’ scorecards. Ruiz has fast hands, and will be active against Joshua. He is determined to win, and will try as hard as possible to dethrone the champion.
Ruiz last fought on April 20th, stopping Alexander Dimitrenko in the 5th. Fighters are usually advised not to take big fights on such short notice, but having fights in such close proximity is probably the best thing for Ruiz. When Ruiz isn’t active, he balloons in weight. The fight on June 1st doesn’t give Ruiz one bit of time away from the gym. Ruiz goes to the body well, something none of Joshua’s opponents have had success doing so far. We don’t know how Joshua responds after getting hit to the body consistently. Joshua has been criticized in the past for his low stamina, and nothing depletes a fighter quite like body-punching. Ruiz has quality experience, having turned pro back in 2009 and boasting an impressive amateur record of 105-5.
By his looks, Ruiz doesn’t appear to be in great shape. But, with his small frame, he wouldn’t have lasted this long as a heavyweight if he wasn’t such a naturally gifted athlete. No heavyweight as big as Ruiz has remotely similar hand speed.
If all fights were three rounds, Ruiz would be the best heavyweight in the world right now. He has a high work-rate, and goes to the body whenever he can. The only thing he gets criticized for is his physique and conditioning. Interestingly, Joshua also gets flak for his stamina issues despite having the polar opposite physique of Ruiz.
Joshua is deservingly the favorite, but he’ll be facing a live dog on June 1st. Ruiz is no 25-1 underdog, entering the ring for a payday. He wants to make history by becoming the first ever Mexican heavyweight champion of the world. Ruiz constantly mentions that he eats a Snickers candy bar before every fight, crediting the candy bar for giving him a boost of energy when he enters the ring. Hopefully he remembers his Snickers bar before facing Joshua, because he’ll need all the help he can get to defeat the undefeated champ from the UK. It will be an exciting fight, as Ruiz will have to press the action and get inside. Lots of leather will be exchanged from both men, and the bout isn’t likely to go all 12 rounds.