Diriyah Diary

Photo courtesy of Matchroom Boxing

Saturday 7th December – Fight Day

Right. Let’s get serious.

This is what the American’s call a ‘pick ems’ fight. Pundits and the so called experts are split down the middle. In a poll of such in The Ring magazine they came out 12-10 to challenger Anthony Joshua. Almost everyone hedging their bets by offering ways each could win. No one emphatically, except maybe Duke McKenzie former three weight world champion, “You cannot put muscles on your temple and the back of your head”, predicting a Ruiz reaffirmation of fight one.

Also, in other interviews Hall of famer promoter Bob Arum, predicting a Ruiz victory, and former heavyweight champions like Hasim Rahman predicting likewise. Most Brits however moving gradually towards a Joshua redemption.

So what do we know ?

  • Andy ‘The Destroyer’ Ruiz ripped the title from Joshua just over six months ago, dropping him four times in the process
  • This was Joshua’s first pro defeat and psychologically that is damaging, some even questioning that the Brit quit
  • Boxing history, especially in the heavyweight division is littered with results of rematches underlining the first fight and going the same way. Holyfield-Tyson being the most recent example
  • However, rematches have turned completely the other way. Joe Louis-Schmeling, Ali-Spinks, Lewis-Rahman
  • A good big un beats a good little un. The Mexican Ruiz is three stone bigger and 15lbs heavier than the first fight. Joshua is 10lbs lighter than in his defeat
  • Joshua is the superior athlete with the best boxing pedigree, capturing Olympic gold in London 2012. He should be able to box his way to victory
  • Ruiz is Mexican. He knows how to fight. Enough said
  • Both fighters will be extremely motivated. Joshua for redemption and respect. Ruiz to prove his win was no fluke and to underline his Mexican heritage
  • Ruiz has the confidence of knowing he can drop Joshua anytime, especially when the fight is in close, and stop him
  • Joshua knows he has the skills to box to victory, if he fights the right fight
  • Ruiz weight and lack of conditioning is not ideal for an elite athlete entering the fire zone of a square ring
  • Styles make fights. Ruiz is short and stocky with fast hands. Stylistically this is Krptonite for the upright and tall Brit. AJ has the height and reach
  • Joshua will win the fight if he keeps at distance and has the stamina to maintain his strategy
  • Ruiz will win any fight up close and in devastating fashion

All in all, this takes us no closer to clearly predicting the outcome, not with any confidence. The Undisputed for fear of being accused of sitting on the fence, says we can see Ruiz winning early, or Joshua winning late, but a gut feeling and boxing history points to a Ruiz victory probably around the 7th round again.

As British trainer Adam Booth pointed out, if attempting to exchange, Joshua “lingers” in the pocket then Ruiz fast hands and power will define the outcome.

But boy, how I would love to be proved wrong.

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