Iceman John Scully breaks down the intriguing Ruiz Jr. vs. Joshua rematch
By Amy Green
Andy Ruiz and Anthony Joshua meet again in a card titled “Clash on The Dunes” this Saturday in Saudi Arabia. Its taken just six months for the rematch, which will be high drama in the desert sands.
Ruiz is planning to keep the titles, and prove he’s not a one trick pony in the heavyweight division; while Joshua is intent on reclaiming the titles and putting himself back in command of his division. Boxing historian and world title challenger Iceman John Scully evaluates the first Ruiz victory, and offers his take on the highly anticipated rematch.
“The KO in the first fight was very strange to me,” Scully said. “I don’t know if Joshua was shocked that this little chunky guy was hitting that hard and with that speed and was exhibiting that level of skill and a lack of fear or what, but it was almost to me like AJ was in a bit of a funk, like he refused to believe that this guy was doing as well as he was, even as it was happening.” And Joshua’s mental funk over Ruiz and his skills were creating a losing situation. “He should have gotten little sharper and more aware as the fight wore on,” Scully said, “but it seemed as if AJ maybe didn’t give Andy enough credit or respect in there and, as a result, didn’t adjust well enough as the rounds wore on.”
What Ruiz brought to Joshua was the element of surprise combined with speed and power that he never suspected. “Andy is a sneaky, excellent counter puncher who lulls you to sleep a bit and then quickly explodes with something telling,” Scully explained. “It seems to me that AJ got caught a bit by surprise by that and couldn’t recover quickly enough to prevent that ending.”
Both fighters possess the tools to make this a very competitive rematch, and Scully observed their styles and strengths.
In Joshua, Scully sees a hard hitting, good boxer. “For better or worse, AJ is a nice boxer with a composed style and a good jab,” he said, and pointed out that Joshua’s composure eventually leads to some great offensive moves. “He’s a guy who is patient, maybe a little too patient sometimes, and looks to land telling shots off the jab once he has you lined up.” Utilizing the jab is important to Joshua, and Scully suggests it can be one of his keys to victory. “Anthony has a very good, strong jab when he focuses on it and uses it properly,” he said, and when you add his power, have the potential for some great offensive action. “He’s a strong, heavy handed guy who once he gets into a rhythm who can put together some very nice, sharp combinations.”
Ruiz has a lot going for him as a heavyweight, most obviously his size. “Until he’d KO’d Joshua one of his biggest strengths was the fact that his physical appearance could put guys to sleep and he could catch them off guard if they didn’t know him well enough,” Scully said, “but obviously that will no longer be the case for him.” Ruiz has finer points to his game, so size isn’t his only weapon. “Andy has a nice style,”Scully said, and listed what makes him a truly good fighter. “Coming forward, always looking, looking, watching, paying attention, looking for nice openings.” And while he’s looking, Ruiz has something he’s delivering to those openings. “He’s a nice counter puncher who has the great ability to strike quickly from unorthodox angles,” Scully continued, “and land debilitating punches in moments when it didn’t look like he was ready to do so. He’s obviously in good shape, can keep a good pace and is also an underrated body puncher which for a heavyweight is a beautiful asset.”
Anthony Joshua has had six months to figure out how to overcome Andy Ruiz, and Andy Ruiz has had the same time to perfect the skills that shocked boxing. Who gets the win? Scully hasn’t arrived at his prediction easily.
“This for me is one of the tougher fights to predict,” he said, and explained his theory. “The element of surprise isn’t here anymore for Andy and I am very sure that AJ has rededicated himself into using his talents and skills and size with more effect this time. I think he will use his jab much more frequently and with more purpose and effect to set up long range shots that will keep Andy at a better distance.
”Both fighters are coming to dominate, and that will make for an exciting fight. “I think both guys have something to prove here and it will make for a more entertaining match this time out,” Scully said. “Andy is an even more confident guy now- he’s the champion and he wants to prove he’s legit so he’s going to be on his game. Ultimately, though, I’m going to say that AJ comes in much better prepared and uses his size and skills to a much greater advantage this time, especially his jab, and fights a more disciplined match to come away with a solid 12 round decision victory over Andy Ruiz.”