A rematch that’s full of unknowns

By Mauricio Sulaiman
Son of José Sulaimán / President WBC

We are a few days away from the rematch between Andy Ruiz and Anthony Joshua, and it won`t be until the bell rings that the multiple doubts will be answered.

The scenario is absolutely different from when they faced each other the first time at Madison Square Garden in New York. Ruiz has risen to be world champion and Joshua is now the challenger. The absolute crowd support in favor of Joshua, which was mostly British in the first contest, will not be present, because the fight will be in Saudi Arabia. So, the arena will be filled with a local audience and the atmosphere will be different. In that country where there is no alcohol, there will not even be the traditional beer in the stands, the schedule will be adequate to achieve the best prime time television. But many other things will make the conditions completely different.

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The maximum uncertainty occurs when trying to analyze what will happen in this fight. Let’s assess both fighters:
Anthony Joshua lost his undefeated record, was knocked out, embarrassed, and his championships were taken away. There are those who say that he underestimated Ruiz, as he had prepared for his debut in the United States, expecting a big and strong boxer in Jarrell Miller, who tested positive for banned substances.

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After considering many names, Andy Ruiz was announced as the opponent. His physical characteristics were very different than Miller: Ruiz is short, chubby, and was totally unknown to the general public. It is said that Joshua did not train much in the last weeks, with ample confidence to easily defeat Ruiz.

After the defeat comes the great unknown: Will he be able to mentally overcome what happened in New York? Will he have the maturity to design a different fight plan to use his multiple advantages over his rival? Will he have the heart to recover the championship? When someone is so brutally beaten by his opponent, it is very common that he does not recover and is always dominated by that opponent. Everything will depend on the emotional durability and greatness of Joshua.

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Andy Ruiz achieved the unthinkable and defeated the giant super-favorite and became a hero overnight. His life changed dramatically, and he has not been able to rest for a second since he became a celebrity. Now he is a millionaire and enjoys luxuries of which he`s dreamed since childhood. He states that for the first fight he was not ready at 100 percent capacity, and that for the rematch he will win again. He rose from the canvas to KO Joshua, his speed and the accuracy of blows were evident.

After the victory comes the great unknown: Will he be able to concentrate on the fight? Has so much distraction affected him? Has he achieved adequate preparation? What effect will the difference in time zone, environment, and customs have on him?

I had the opportunity to see Andy on some occasions since he was crowned. He has been approached by countless offers, many opportunists trying to hang on to his achievements, and have brought to him distractions. His popularity with the fans is incredible. It is a phenomenon and he has had to travel everywhere for presentations with sponsors, filming, press conferences, events, and the occasional parties that go with this new life.

On the other hand, Joshua has been left in total obscurity – training and preparing? Or is he depressed and alone?

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Canelo Alvarez was happily surprised by Ruiz who visited him prior to his match against Sergey Kovalev. Carlos Bremer got the two champions together on November 2 at the MGM.

Will Andy Ruiz manage to confirm his superiority and start a legendary career as a champion, or will he be an ephemeral monarch?

History shows us both options with clear examples:

Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling: It was 1936, Joe Louis was undefeated, the American dream, and a great prospect when he fought former champion Max Schmeling from Germany. The 70,000 fans at Yankee Stadium were totally shocked when Schmeling knocked out Louis in 12 blistering rounds.

Two years later the rematch occurred. The expectation was one of the greatest in boxing history. The Nazi regime was building and making an extremely complicated political issue. Joe Louis knocked out Schmeling in the first round and continued his career achieving the record, still in effect, of the greatest number of championship defenses.

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Another example is that of James Buster Douglas vs. Mike Tyson. Tyson was the undisputed world champion, considered invincible. Don King announced a “preparation” fight for Tyson before facing Holyfield with a championship defense against the unknown Buster Douglas. That night was perhaps the biggest surprise ever in boxing history. Douglas knocked Tyson out in the tenth round.

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Buster became famous and spent months living the life of a heavyweight world champion. Later that year he entered the ring completely out of shape and lost against Evander Holyfield by being knocked out in three rounds. Douglas never managed to climb back to the top again; he never held any significant fights before retiring.

Lennox Lewis one of the greatest heavyweight champions of all time, a dominating force for more than a decade. He proved to have a very tough emotional character. Lennox Lewis was surprised not once, but twice as he was knocked out by Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman. On both occasions, Lewis came back strong and avenged those defeats.

We will see what happens this upcoming Saturday, December 7, as Matchroom presents one of the most important boxing events in recent history in front of a new market in Saudi Arabia, one which could very well be remembered by future generations as we now remember the “Rumble in the Jungle” and the “Thrilla in Manila.” We wish the best of luck and success to both fighters.

Thank you and I appreciate any comments, ideas or recommendations at [email protected]

Rob Brant opponent named
WBO Annual Convention Report Day 3

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  • Do you guys ever click those interesting stories displayed to the right of your screen? Sure this site make plenty advertising money off me, I cant help but click. lol

    • No, I have not, unless they are about some kind of crazy animal.

      Anyways, I am really excited for weekend’s lineup. these are all really exciting fights.

    • Phishing, malware, and hidden bots tend to lurk in banners and advertisement. I look, but don’t touch.

  • Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves in analyzing this rematch. Last I checked, this is a simple math equation to figure out. Ruiz (continuity of style) + AJ (redemption w/ a few changes) = the one winner. Skeptics in the media, promotors, boxing analysts, some fans, and yes, the fighters themselves are juicing all this up! When all this chaos ensues, it spells out some ideas to consider; increased ticket sales, trash talk, friendly arguments over who will win, all the what “ifs”, and lastly, excitement. I guess this is what makes boxing great; the thrill of it all.

  • Whatever game plan either Ruiz or Joshua has, that will only last the first couple of rounds then their natural boxing style should take over. Can’t wait.

  • I watched the fights to make a final prediction. Ruiz vs Parker, Joshua vs Parker, Ruiz vs Joshua, Joshua vs Klitschko. It does kinda look like Ruiz is Joshuas kryptonite .. because his style and speed is all wrong for AJ. AJ needs space and time to think.. Ruiz applies a lot of pressure and attacks once in range in a way that he slips punches at the same time. I think for AJ he has to stick that jab to the head and body.. Ruiz will try to counter the body shots with left hooks and pretend that it doesn’t bother him but it did affect him against Parker, during that fight He fought in spurts because of it. Also the left hook is open for AJ.. Ruiz seems to get caught with that punch for some reason and straight right hands later in the fight. If AJ has him hurt he should always work off the jab just to make sure. For Ruiz all he has to do is apply pressure and bring it to AJ.. it makes him uncomfortable. His hand speed will allow him to get to AJ and remind him of the first fight. If you watch closely Ruiz is not the best fighter on the inside but I wouldn’t risk it with AJ for too long, if he gets close Ruiz will use combinations when in range. Ruiz has to bully him and just let his hands go. AJ needs to do more work for the win unless he catches him with something damaging early. It may not look like it but Ruiz hates it to the body and left hook to the face.. and jabs. Right hand later in the fight. Uppercuts up close but don’t forget about defense right away. After watching those fights I think it’s 50-50.. Ruiz style will be difficult for AJ plus idk how losing muscle between fights will affect AJ conditioning if it goes past 7 rounds. I think he should have fought a tuneup first but we will see. AJ chin is kinda weak for a heavyweight and Ruiz is weak to the body.. yes, his body is very vulnerable if you watch his past fights he doesn’t like body shots.. they don’t go for it because it leaves them open to counters but he hates getting hit there. It’s obvious that I like AJ because I want to see him fight Fury and wilder but Ruiz is going to be tough simply because of the styles. I don’t see Ruiz winning against wilder or fury though… specially fury.

    • AJ’s chin is not weak. He got caught by a punch he didn’t see. That can happen in the heavyweight division. I do agree Joshua will make better fights going forward.

      • I think so.. AJ seems to always get buzzed even by heavyweights who aren’t known for power like Foreman, Tyson and wilder. He’s the type of heavyweight who can get dropped by most heavyweights. But he has to make up for it with defense and his own power like Lennox did.

      • Anthony, Joshua has been kayoed in sparring sessions, been staggered few times in the professional field and two of his amateur losses were by KO. A granite chin or a marshmallow one?

        • we cant confirm sparring sessions and sure he was stopped as a amateur but he had a short short amateur career and along the way managed to win Gold. The man isnt as experienced as Ruiz in terms of Amateur experience however who he has been in there with and beaten as a pro and a green one at that speaks volumes about this mans ability.

          and lets not forget he was dropped by Klitschko and staggered by Whyte those are heavy heavy bangers Ruiz caught him with a shot he never saw and the one you dont see is the one that hurts you.

          with all of that said no matter how you try to discredit Joshua he has accomplished so much more in such a short period than people have who have spent their entire lives trying to get there.

          and he is still evolving so who knows what comes Saturday night we will find out the truth about Joshua was the first fight a fluke? Does Ruiz have his number is this a matter of stylistic differences that favor Ruiz?

          those questions will be answered but one question people need to leave off the table is weather or not he is a fraud you dont get those kind of wins picking up titles like that and a Gold medal if you are a fraud you have to have some type of ability to be able to do all of that.

          • I saw the video where Joshua admitted he was KOed cold, unconscious by Price when he was very young

          • I agree Diego. MikeMiguel is wrong on this. What seperates Joshua is that he’s not a hit and hold guy. That’s what so many heavyweights do to avoid getting hit with hard shots. He doesn’t do that. Look at Klitchsko and how he adopted the hit and hold after a couple KOs. Fact is Joshua gets hit hard and flush sometimes due to not holding and limited head movement. Fact he stands after some if these shots is impressive.

        • He lacks head movement but he still gets up and responds like in the Klitchsko fight. He’s also had tough opposition. Then all of his opponents have glass chins then. Getting staggarded here and there against heavyweights with high KO rates is not glass chin. Give me a break.

  • So the card starts at 9 am in the morning pacific time with the main event beginning close to 1pm. Nice!
    AJ within 6…

  • what could aj do different 6 months removed from the first fight, nothing, boxing history has proved this many times, if the fight was a close dec. loss maybe but all the knock downs and then quit, ruiz will win faster this time ruiz ko 5

    • One big difference is that last time out AJ was preparing to fight a guy with a different style and with different dimensions and his weight and mindset were on BBM. Sure AR had less notice but he wasn’t preparing to face another specific fighter and then have to change.
      I’d say another factor is that he caught AJ (1st knockdown) in an area which severely compromised him for the rest of the fight. I personally don’t think he quit as he could have stayed down. I think he was desperately trying to buy himself time but because he was so tired etc he was unable to show the ref the right signs to suggest he was fit to carry on and the ref rightly stopped it.
      A couple of other factors could be that AJ wasn’t right mentally for the 1st fight – his body language throughout (inc before they started fighting) looked poor so there may have been something there before they even started trading – some guys said AJ’s going to lose before the 1st bell started based on this. And then there’s the possible complacency. AJ knows this time that it’s a long road back if he loses whereas before he at least had the rematch clause to fall back on if it went wrong.
      Maybe Ruiz has his number and maybe AJ is mentally scarred from the 1st fight but there are factors which support AJs chances too

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