This week, Danny discussed the state of the fight game after Andy Ruiz Jr.’s upset over Anthony Joshua:
Did anyone see that coming? I know I certainly didn’t. Heck, I didn’t even know who Andy Ruiz Jr. was.
In fact, the first time I ever laid eyes on him was at the pre-fight weigh-in. I couldn’t help but laugh. Ruiz was literally sucking in his gut during the photo shoot with his opponent, undefeated World Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua.
I didn’t give Ruiz a chance in hell to win this fight. I picked Joshua and the Under, which was 6.5 Rounds. I ended up being wrong on both fronts, as Ruiz forced the ref to stop the fight in the 7th Round, making him the first heavyweight champion of Mexican descent.
You couldn’t make it up. It didn’t even look right. Not during the fight, and certainly not after.
Ruiz is listed at 6-foot-2 and looks like he just rolled out of the Beer Garden. Sorry, I mean “The Broadway.” Joshua is listed at 6-foot-6 and looks like he’s taken every PED in the book.
We throw around the “David vs Goliath” analogy far too often. But in this case, it’s a perfect description for what we saw at Madison Square Garden this past Saturday night.
Ruiz knocked Joshua down four times in the fight. After the fourth knockdown — in the seventh round — Joshua was slow to get up, and looked stunned and exhausted all at once. He made his way over to his corner, with his mouthpiece no longer in, and acted like a guy who wanted no part of another round with Ruiz, the same Ruiz who was sucking in his gut during the pre-fight weigh-in, and who took the fight at the last minute because Joshua’s original opponent — Jarrell Miller — failed a PED test.
The ref saw the same look in Joshua’s eyes as the entire worldwide audience did on the DAZN network (shoutout to DAZN if they ever want to hire me). It was strange to see, considering that it never really looked like Ruiz hit him with that one crushing blow. I’ve watched the fight three times since, and I just cannot find the moment where Ruiz hits him and I’m like, “Oh ya, he got him good there.”
Maybe I’m missing something, but it looked strange to see Joshua that hurt and disinterested in the seventh round as he stood in his corner with the ref in his face. And it looked even more bizarre to see just how happy Joshua seemed after the fight was over.
He had just lost his IBF, IBO, WBA, and WBO heavyweight titles in the first loss of his career, and he’s over in Ruiz’ corner, smiling and taking pictures with the new champ. Even the broadcast team said they’ve never seen anyone so happy after a loss, nevermind a loss like this.
Maybe he was still in shock. Or maybe he threw the fight on purpose, knowing the buzz it would create, and the amount of interest there would be in a rematch. And there will be a rematch. It only took three days for Joshua to activate his rematch clause.
It makes you think, for sure. But you know what? I’m not going to disrespect the new champ like that. Not right now, at least.
Ruiz has earned everyone’s respect. And I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see this rematch, where I’ll be rooting for Ruiz to continue to shock the world.
And then, after that? I want Ruiz to unify the heavyweight titles with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.
Already, you have people saying, “Ruiz wouldn’t stand a chance with Wilder.” Maybe so, but I’d be curious to find out. Because, I mean, after all, we were saying the same thing about Ruiz’ chances against Joshua. Next thing you know, Brian Kenny is on DAZN calling him “The Mexican Rocky” as Ruiz jumped up and down in celebration of his improbable victory.
I won’t say it’s a bigger upset than Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson in 1990. That wouldn’t be giving Tyson enough credit for how dominant he was. Joshua is not, and never will be, Iron Mike.
But Ruiz’ upset was still an all-time shocker. And it’s one that’s great for the sport, I don’t care what people say.
People wanted to see Joshua vs Wilder in a battle of the undefeateds to unify the titles, and now they’re bummed that they won’t get to see that fight. Yet.
If Joshua wipes the floor with Ruiz in the rematch this fall — which is entirely possible — then it might even make the eventual Joshua vs Wilder fight that much more enticing to the average fan who loves a good comeback story. And if Joshua can get his titles back from Ruiz, then I think we’ll be talking about that Joshua vs Wilder clash once again.
Until then, it’s good to talk about the heavyweight division again. Thank you, Andy Ruiz Jr.
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