A SHATTERING LOSS
BEFORE his fight with Anthony Joshua, I was aware that Andy Ruiz Jnr was a step up from Jarrell Miller and a good fighter, but never in a million years did I dream that he could actually beat “AJ”. This was a shattering loss for Joshua. Two aspects of the defeat were particularly disturbing. The first was how Joshua was not able to cope with Ruiz’s come-forward, swinging style, and the other, and by far the most worrying, was the manner in which Joshua was knocked down four times. Each time it appeared to be from shots to the back or side of the head – not the jaw. They were obviously not soft blows, but they nevertheless did not appear to be particularly devastating ones. It now seems that Joshua cannot take a punch. No doubt he will have a return fight with Ruiz, and my guess is he’ll have a good chance of at least outpointing him, if he sticks to a solid fight plan. I am, though, concerned for Joshua should he ever fight Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury. I now have no doubt that Wilder would KO him, while Fury, who I’ve always seen as the best of the three, would outpoint him or possibly stop him late on. Joshua showed what a sporting gentleman he was in defeat and displayed to other fighters how to act when you lose.
DON’T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER
HAVING successfully bet against the odds back in 1990 that Buster Douglas would beat Mike Tyson, I’m still kicking myself for not going with my instinct again and betting that Andy Ruiz Jnr would beat Anthony Joshua. But what a match, with five knockdowns, including one suffered by the winner! And what an educative eye-opener for the superficial among us, who go only by veneer, wrongly believing that you can judge a book by its cover. How can an overweight, plain man of six-foot or so beat a 6ft 6in star with a God-given physique and a knockout punch? As it turns out, with room to spare. This was a match between an athlete and a pure boxer who had better timing, faster hands, a stronger chin and even greater determination. Joshua was simply outclassed, but, like Lennox Lewis before him, he can learn from this experience and come back much the wiser, and a far better boxer.
WRITTEN IN HISTORY
ANDY RUIZ JNR’s sensational win over Anthony Joshua stirred memories of Lennox Lewis being stopped by Oliver McCall – a good, ranked heavyweight who yet still was a surprise victor. Something definitely seemed wrong in Joshua’s face and demeanour going to the ring and during the introductions. There were shades of the look Frank Bruno had before he faced Mike Tyson on both occasions. But the way Joshua congratulated Ruiz post-fight shows what a class act he is. As for Ruiz, whatever happens next he has written his name in history alongside the likes of Buster Douglas, Leon Spinks and McCall – fighters who, despite the odds, took their opportunity for title glory with both fists flying.