The opinion was split on who win the rematch between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr.
Joshua won the most important fight of his career, but for some, that wasn’t good enough
By John J. Raspanti
Anthony Joshua fought an intelligent fight Saturday night. He used the ring, his long jab, and occasional hooks, to keep Andy Ruiz Jr. in search mode.
It wasn’t a masterclass performance, but it was a good one. Yet, many boxing fans were upset.
This morning I asked myself why.
Six months ago, in the Big Apple, Joshua, recognized by some as the best heavyweight champion in the division, was stopped in seven rounds by Ruiz. The loss was shocking. Nobody (OK, perhaps Ruiz’s kin) saw it coming. Ruiz was the "Mexican Rocky," while Joshua was the British version of Mike Tyson being knocked out by Buster Douglas.
Joshua is a pretty good fighter. He’s big and strong and can knock out people. He’s also limited, and at times, robotic. His jaw and stamina are suspect. He stands so tall (he is six-foot-six) that his chin should have a bullseye on it.
He’s representative of the weakness of current heavyweight champions. The top three, if you call them that, aren’t that good. Good enough for now, but that’s not saying much.
WBC world champion Deontay Wilder has a right hand that’s filled with TNT. Just ask Luis “Did you get the number of that truck?” Ortiz. Wilder lost every round before flattening Ortiz with one punch a few weeks ago. Good job; fun to watch; explosive.
He does everything wrong, but keeps winning. (Tyson Fury would likely debate that.) It’s illogical, but effective, in today’s game.
Wilder will be fighting Fury for the second time in a few months. Their first fight was like a Hollywood movie (the venue was LA) with Fury, looking dead to rights on the canvas, pulling himself up in the last round to throttle a surprised Wilder.
But Fury and Wilder can wait. This article is about Anthony Joshua. His loss to Ruiz crushed him. He could have walked away. He looked like he wanted to a couple of times during the fight. Maybe hide out for awhile. But you know what? He faced his loss. He told the media that he went out after the fight, hung out with his friends. Their pain was obvious. I admire that. Social media was mocking him. He was a joke. Overrated. A piece of English china.
He worked, while Ruiz, apparently, partied. Joshua would be a different fighter in the sequel, his team said. He was focused, lost weight, worked on boxing more. He was lighter and faster. Ruiz was heavier and slower. Not Joshua’s fault.
The narrative flipped.
In New York, it was Joshua who looked over-confident and smug. Friday night in Saudi Arabia, site of the second fight, it was Ruiz who smiled like a guy with a secret. He didn’t really. What he did know was that he’d already knocked out Joshua. He figured he do it again, extra weight or no.
Never came close to happening. Joshua jabbed and jabbed, and jabbed some more. How he won didn’t matter. What mattered is he did win. He had to if he wanted to remain near the top in today’s flawed heavyweight division.
Joshua went and did it. He cut Ruiz, won 10 out of 12 rounds on my scorecard.
I read that someone said his performance was lackluster. C’mon.
Could he have stood in the middle of the ring and whaled away at Ruiz?
Sure. Ruiz, though slower, still flashed pretty fast hands. He could have caught Joshua and perhaps stopped him again.
And you know what? A number of people would be saying how stupid Joshua was to fight that way.
So no matter what, he couldn’t win. But he did anyway.
He won going away.
For that, Joshua deserves credit.