LIKE all surprise endings there were clues along the way. But such was the preposterous conclusion they pointed to – that roly-poly no-hoper Andy Ruiz Jr would defeat the all-conquering Anthony Joshua – most chose to ignore them. Not least the king himself, flown out to America with a crown on his head to show the world how commanding he was and how ferocious he could be. The king who then opened the doors to his castle and his arms to the enemy.
Joshua allowed Ruiz to make himself at home, to put his feet up and even try on his finest gold. The champion appeared so convinced that the cuddly Ruiz posed no threat in the days before battle – seemingly doing his best to make fight week a memorable experience for the poor little fella before knocking him out – that he failed to notice the challenger’s hunger to become a champion himself.
Joshua surrendering his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles in New York’s Madison Square Garden, via truly thrilling seventh round stoppage, must rank as one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. But if you watch it all again, and study the events of the preceding week, then the signs, as they so often do with hindsight, become clear.