3 crucial questions ahead of Andy Ruiz Jr.-Anthony Joshua rematch
Andy Ruiz Jr. shocked the world when he knocked out Anthony Joshua in June, but Ruiz will have to overcome the odds once against against the hellbent ex-champ when the two collide in Saudi Arabia this weekend. The rematch is heavy on side plots, and we’ll explore the most important questions heading into what will surely be another historic night of heavyweight boxing.
Andy Ruiz Jr.
Too soon for Joshua?Anthony Joshua wasted no time to exercise his rematch clause after his shocking defeat to Ruiz, but from a stylistic point of view, a quick return does Joshua no favors against an opponent who has all the tools to make his life miserable for 12 rounds. Joshua needed to restructure his style to a more deliberate approach, something that can’t be fixed in fewer than six months. If Joshua’s team is thinking that a longer training camp will account for Joshua’s lack of inside fighting skills or give him a confidence boost that what he has will work, then Ruiz will cut him down easier and quicker than last time. This seems to be lost on oddsmakers, though, as Joshua remains a prohibitive favorite.
Too light for Ruiz?Much was made about Ruiz’s portly appearance before and after his historic win, and many have noticed the change in his physique for the rematch. Ruiz looks trim, which has led some to postulate if he is trying to silent doubters or will change his approach to the rematch. People tend to forget that Ruiz was a month removed from a stay-busy fight before he faced Joshua, and like Joshua, Ruiz also had a full training camp to prepare for the fight of his life. Shedding the pounds will accommodate for the hotter temperatures in Saudi Arabia and ensure Ruiz can maintain a fast pace for 12 rounds.
Will DAZN stack the deck against Ruiz?DAZN stands with much to lose if Ruiz retains his title, especially as Joshua’s prominence has been a selling point for the network, along with Eddie Hearn’s stable of fighters. Should Ruiz win he can take the belts back to the U.S. and Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions stable, where he can eye a shot at the undisputed heavyweight title (if Deontay Wilder defeats Tyson Fury in February).
It isn’t out hard to imagine ringside judges conceding every close round to Joshua, and referee Luis Pablon is known for his unwillingness to let fighters work out of a clinch, which will work against Ruiz. While Ruiz had to beat the odds in the first fight, Joshua isn’t the only one with something to lose. If he leaves Saudi Arabia with another definitive loss, he can deliver a hard blow to the streaming network.