IT’S been a long time coming but it finally sounds like we’re close to a confirmed date and venue for the rematch between Andy Ruiz Jnr, the WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight champion, and Anthony Joshua.
After rumours of the fight taking place in London, Cardiff, New York, Los Angeles and Mexico City, the longlist has seemingly been narrowed own to a shortlist of two: Cardiff’s Principality Stadium and New York’s Madison Square Garden.
As for dates, it’s all dependent on whether Ruiz and Joshua end up in Wales or the USA. If the fight is staged in Cardiff, it will apparently take place on December 14. If, however, they decide to take it back to New York, the scene of the initial upset, the rematch will happen on November 29.
One thing we know for sure: Ruiz, despite the delay, isn’t looking to – or able to – squirm his way out of it.
“Andy Ruiz Jr is an honourable, stand-up guy,” Hearn told iFL TV.
“He knows what he signed and it wasn’t unfair what he signed but he has contractual obligations that he has to meet now.
“Andy Ruiz was chosen from a group of people because we believed he would be the best, most competitive fight for Anthony Joshua. We were right. And then, if he was to win that fight, as set out in the contract there were a number of terms he would have to adhere to.
“It’s very standard. It’s not, ‘Oh that was out of order. He is the A-side now.’ No, this was what was agreed by both parties. Negotiated and agreed.”
To finish, Hearn stressed: “Joshua will be the one who ultimately decides where that fight takes place.”
While it’s tough to argue with anything written in a contract, it would be a shame, given all he achieved when emphatically dethroning Joshua on June 1, for Ruiz Jnr to then have to acquiesce to the former champion and rematch him in Wales. Contracted or not, it somehow doesn’t feel right; somehow doesn’t feel like the reward the Mexican-American deserves for stepping in at short notice and pulling off the unthinkable.
Joshua has made Cardiff his second home in recent times, beating the likes of Dorian Darch at the Motorpoint Arena in 2014, as well as Carlos Takam and Joseph Parker at the Principality Stadium. Therefore, should the rematch take place there, the discomfort he felt when competing at MSG for the first time, against a challenger who just wouldn’t be denied, would surely be a forgotten thing of the past.
It’s presumably for this reason Joshua and his team are so determined to avoid a return trip to New York.
Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather has apparently run out of money and has taken to begging UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov for a boxing match in order to secure a much-needed top-up.
That’s the claim made by Nurmagomedov’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, who has told TMZ Sports that Mayweather is short on cash and desperate to box his Russian mixed martial artist in a battle of Conor McGregor conquerors.
Mayweather famously defeated McGregor in a farcical 2017 boxing match, stopping him inside 10 rounds on what was McGregor’s pro boxing debut, while Nurmagomedov, to his credit, went one better and ragdolled the cocksure Irishman on an even playing field – which is to say, in a mixed martial arts fight.
Always keen to make money from fights nobody wants to see, Mayweather, last seen bullying a young Japanese kickboxer on New Year’s Eve, now wants a piece of Nurmagomedov. So long as it’s on his terms, of course.
“Floyd Mayweather to this day keeps begging to fight Khabib – begging!” said Abdelaziz. “Floyd’s running out of money.
“I’m telling you, people are reaching out to me every week about Floyd fighting Khabib, but, at the end of the day, we’re not interested – for now.”
The “for now” part of that answer is telling.
In terms of the here and now, Nurmagomedov is a busy boy, far busier than Mayweather, and has his next assignment, a September 7 defence against Dustin Poirier in Abu Dhabi, already scheduled. Beyond that, though, who knows? Nobody loves money as much as Mayweather, this much is true. But that’s not to say the rest of them can’t be seduced by it, dream big because of it, or be persuaded to do something ridiculous in its name.
And Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather, now 42, can be very persuasive when he wants (and needs) to be.