We have made our picks and predictions for the rematch between Andy Ruiz and Anthony Joshua, and even though Ruiz got the conclusive seventh-round TKO the last time out, we are predominantly siding with Joshua to get his titles back down in Saudi Arabia. It’s a different story for our friends at Bad Left Hook, who are split 2-2 and understandably so. We’ve included two of their picks in this post.
Note: Predictions are entered throughout the week and collected the day before the event. Explanations behind each pick are not required and some writers opt not to do so for their own reasons. For example, if Phil Mackenzie entered all of his predictions on Wednesday without adding in any explanations, he has no idea if he’s going to be the only one siding with one fighter for any given fight.
Andy Ruiz Jr vs. Anthony Joshua
Mookie Alexander: What has to worry Joshua’s camp is he was outboxed for much of the contest. Anthony was troubled by Ruiz’s speed and timing, and Joshua’s output has incidentally fallen significantly since his war with Wladimir Klitschko. He strikes me as someone who doesn’t like getting hit -- okay most people don’t like getting hit, but I mean “reacts poorly to getting hit cleanly.” Joshua has seemingly aimed to counter his cardio and speed concerns by losing weight, whereas Ruiz DGAF and can weigh-in with his tank-top on and come in 15 lbs heavier than last time. I actually believe that Joshua is going to make this somewhat like the Joseph Parker fight, which is to say it’s gonna suck. He will jab a lot more and whenever it goes to the inside, it’ll be Joshua clinching his life away. Realistically he should be going to the body a lot more than last time, and indeed it was Ruiz who was bothering him with body shots. Ruiz may very well have AJ’s number and he’s one of those who can exploit Joshua’s poor head movement, but I’m not just going to bury Joshua off what could’ve genuinely been a massive upset and nothing more. This will be a stop-start, nip-tuck affair with limited sustained action, but it just needs to end in a Joshua win as far as his camp and his promoter are concerned. Anthony Joshua by unanimous decision.
Phil Mackenzie: The main thing I remember about the last fight was chatting with a friend online who asked me what I thought, and idly saying that I thought Ruiz had a decent shot. Anyone who had seen Povetkin-Joshua could have seen the obvious problems presented for AJ against a stone-headed puncher with quick hands. At this point I did not know that Joshua was currently at the kind of odds that you’d expect to see for Homer Simpson vs Drederick Tatum II and sort of regret not betting against him? Anyways, Joshua is on the clunky side and has historically exacerbated this by lugging around a scaffold of beach muscles (which, to be fair, he at least seems to have scrapped). What often saved him in his championship run is that he’s as instinctively gifted as a finisher as he is uncomfortable in exchanges. Against someone who is hard to finish, and capable of capitalizing on AJ’s own issues, he has has three main solutions- learning more defensive nuance in the pocket (unlikely), improving his footwork (ditto), or resorting to old faithful, the HW boxing standby: punch’n’clutch. There’s enough money at stake that AJ’s team should just be hammering the idea of an ugly grappling match into his head over and over. Anthony Joshua by unanimous decision.
Ram Gilboa: Going to write about how this is a roll of dice, evenly contested heavyweight affair, where anything can happen on the brink of a punch – one checks the weigh-in results – What do you mean Ruiz, 283.7 pounds? Oh oh. You know Ruiz wasn’t exactly modeling underwear when he came into the first fight at 268 pounds on a 6’ 2’’ frame, and 283.7 just sounds crazy. And in my mind, both fighters should be coming into this one more sharp and dangerous than before: Joshua, not looking past Ruiz on to Wilder this time, more mentally prepared; and Ruiz, for the first time of his life, unburdened by making a living and can be fully committed to a cutting edge training camp. But now, 284 pounds sounds like he had his training camp at an In-N-Out. Like, already luxury made him too soft, content to rest on his laurels. So, I think – I hope – maybe it’s the old weights at your ankles, stones in your pockets trick. Maybe Ruiz made himself a little heavier artificially to numb Joshua a bit, to reignite a bit of the overweening favorite mentality in him. Again, at least that’s what I hope. That said: Anthony Joshua by TKO, round 4
From Bad Left Hook
Scott Christ: I know Max Kellerman took a lot of heat for that “muscle memory” comment about Ruiz and Joshua after the first fight, but I honestly don’t think the idea is particularly out there. Joshua is a lot stiffer and more robotic than Ruiz, whose punches flow more naturally. He reacts differently than AJ does, whether he’s in control or his back’s against the wall. I think he sees chances quicker than Joshua does. And Joshua has a problem, dating back to the amateurs, with the left hook — which Ruiz throws well.
I’m going with Andy to repeat. The pressure here is still pretty much all on Joshua, and I think he’s going to crack again. Ruiz just might have this guy’s number, period. Ruiz TKO-6
Wil Esco: Ruiz, despite his looks, is a really competent fighter who’s been doing it his whole life. He’s not really an easy out for anyone, I think. But is Ruiz really a ‘special’ fighter? I personally don’t think so. Joshua certainly isn’t looking all that ‘special’ himself at the moment, but I’m not going to write him off completely. I mean, Joshua did drop Ruiz pretty hard himself in their first meeting, so it’s not like he can’t get to Ruiz, and the more I watch their first fight the more it’s clear to me that Joshua simply never got his legs back after one shot behind the ear that ruined his equilibrium. The effect of those kind of shots can be fluky, but I certainly don’t think it’s a fluke that Ruiz fought to the best of his ability.
But in this rematch I think Joshua is simply in a much more desperate position than Ruiz, and that’s because so much more is expected of him. This time I think Joshua is much more careful to limit exchanges on the inside with Ruiz and tries to keep the fight at range (whether or not that makes for an appealing fight). If Joshua does that, I see Joshua taking the fight on the scorecards over the distance. Anthony Joshua UD-12
Staff picking Ruiz: Ed, Scott (BLH)
Staff picking Joshua: Phil, Mookie, Badar, Dayne, Ram, Wil (BLH)
Staff picking draw:
This poll is closed