Dougie’s Friday mailbag (Ruiz-Joshua 2, mythical immediate rematches)
THE BIG REMATCH IS FINALLY HERE
We finally have Andy Ruiz Jr. vs Anthony Joshua 2 this weekend! Full disclosure, I am a big Joshua fan.
It was a huge upset back in June, but he finally has his chance at redemption. Curious how you see this playing out. Many people question Joshua’s chin. I don’t. He got put on the floor by Klitschko and got up. He was concussed and still went 7 vs. Ruiz.
Personally, I see him trying to keep Ruiz long and at bay going all 12 rounds. There’s a chance he gets aggressive when he see’s an opportunity and tries to put a hurting on Ruiz. But I think he will tend to be more cautious after the last fight and try to keep him long and look to outpoint him in 12 rounds.
Ruiz is a banger and wants to get into a firefight. I have Joshua coming out on top but there are so many different scenarios. I just think his mind is in the right place this time around. Going to be a big weekend! Best. – Andrew
Yes Sir. I’m looking forward to soaking in the “Clash on the Dunes” experience from Saudi Arabia (via DAZN) early tomorrow afternoon (California time) and then watching the Charlo-Hogan/Eubank Jr.-Korobov middleweight doubleheader on Showtime in the evening.
How do I see the fight? Honestly, I have no idea. I really don’t feel confident about picking any one of three or four possible scenarios. My hunch is that Ruiz is just all wrong for Joshua and the Chubby Destroyer will always take the English Adonis to hell. But in the back of my head, I can’t help but wonder if Ruiz simply caught lightening in a bottle with the way his shot at the titles, fame and fortune unfolded this past Spring. Maybe he got a little lucky catching Joshua on late notice (in the British star’s U.S. debut) so soon after being in the ring. I guess you could say my heart says “Andy,” but my head says “AJ.” I’m going to ride with my intellect with this one (which I admit is risky… I’d never bet money on what my kooky boxing brain comes up with), and I see the fight the way you do: Joshua boxing a smart, careful, disciplined fight, taking Ruiz the distance and winning a decision.
Having said that, even if you and I are right, it’s not gonna be easy. Ruiz is going to make Joshua work and earn his respect.
Many people question Joshua’s chin. I don’t. He got put on the floor by Klitschko and got up. He was concussed and still went 7 vs. Ruiz. That’s true but he was badly wobbled by Dillian Whyte before he won his first world title and he’d been stunned more than a few times during his reign (I think Alexander Povetkin had moments during the early rounds of their fight). To his credit, he showed that he could deal with adversity until he shared the ring with Ruiz, so I won’t question his heart. I won’t question his chin too much, or call him “chinny,” but I do wonder about his durability. Sometimes it seems like his big, muscled body seizes up or momentarily freezes when he’s caught with a decent shot. Maybe it’s a mental/psychological thing and not physical/physiological thing… but the highest level of the sport, does it matter? If you can’t handle getting punched hard, or at least figure out methods to limit getting hit with big shots, you’re not going to remain at the top of the sport.
JOSHUA VS. RUIZ 2
Easier said than done but Joshua should keep it really simple: walk down Ruiz with long straight shots (1-2), avoid throwing hooks and uppercut. His jab last time was weak and lazy but it should be his main asset especially since he’s pretty quick for such a big guy. Like a young George Foreman, but without the recklessness.
Btw I hope that TBA is fully prepared to fight Vergil Ortiz next week because it might be painful. Any word on who he is supposed to fight?
Peace. – Vince
Ortiz is scheduled to face Brad Solomon, a former 147-pound contender whose only loss was a 10-round split decision to Russian standout Konstantin Ponomarev (29-0 at the time) in 2016. Solomon (28-1, 9 KOs) hasn’t fought since April 2018, so he’s been inactive, but the Louisiana veteran is an athletic, mobile boxer who brings a lot of quality experience to the ring. Solomon took the “0”s of then-prospects Ray Robinson and Kenny Galarza 10 years ago, and also own victories over Adrian Granados, Demetrius Hopkins and Ray Serrano.
Easier said than done but Joshua should keep it really simple: walk down Ruiz with long straight shots (1-2), avoid throwing hooks and uppercut. I agree in part. I think Joshua should stick to boxing basics, mainly the jab and 1-2 combo, but I don’t think he should try to walk down Ruiz – at least not immediately. I think he needs to circle Ruiz, move on the unified beltholder to neutralize the power/aggression, and soften him up with the jab in the early rounds. Once Ruiz gets frustrated or tries to step up his pressure to close the distance, that’s when Joshua should look to counter punch (and that includes hooks and uppercuts). If Joshua can hurt Ruiz (and I think he can), he can try to push the stocky boxer-puncher back on his heels but I don’t think he should commit to that. If he can back a weakened, hurt, fatigued or flustered Ruiz to the ropes, fine, he should tee off on his nemesis, but for as long as Andy is game and throwing those fast, hard hands, I think Joshua would be better served maneuvering around the Californian.
His jab last time was weak and lazy but it should be his main asset especially since he’s pretty quick for such a big guy. I agree 100%.
Like a young George Foreman, but without the recklessness. Right, he wants hard young Foreman jab, but he also needs to be careful and creative like Ali was vs. Big George 35 years ago. He doesn’t want to be Rope-A-Doped (which in his case would be getting caught along the ropes).
ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN
Hope you and your fam are doing fantastically well! Thanks for the bag, YOU should be inducted into the Hall of Fame for it someday! I don’t care what Floyd fans say about you… haha
Quick question about this perhaps very real situación.
It Ruiz beats Joshua again, and has to face Fury or Wilder in 2020 who do you think he has the best chance of beating? – M.
I think he’s got a better shot vs. Wilder than he does Fury, even though the Bronze Bomber wields the best “one-hitter-quitter” in boxing. There’s two ways to beat a prolific puncher: one way is to outclass them over the distance, the other is to bomb them out before they bomb you out. Ruiz has the style, skill, speed (of hand AND foot) and power to get to Wilder first. I think Andy is tailor-made for the extremely tall, rangy, mobile switch-hitting Fury, who, unlike Joshua, seems to relish outboxing and outmaneuvering shorter, aggressive/pressure fighter types (see his two bouts with Dereck Chisora for examples).
Thanks for the kind words. If I ever do get inducted into the IBHOF you gotta promise to make the trek to Canastota witness the ceremony (and have some drinks with me while we chat boxing).
RUIZ VS. JOSHUA 2, HEAVYWEIGHT REMATCHES
We are into December now and so my festive greetings to you and your loved ones.
I’m intrigued by this weekend’s heavyweight title fight between Anthony Joshua and John Ruiz and despite the outcome of the 1st fight I have a leaning towards AJ winning the rematch by decision. I love Ruiz’s fast hands and in interviews he comes over as a person really hard to dislike. But that said, I imagine that AJ will keep Ruiz at the end of a long jab for most of the match and in doing so, win enough rounds to re-capture his titles. How do you see this match-up playing out?
On the topic of immediate rematches, that got me thinking. I wonder how some other fights that DIDN’T get an immediate rematch could potentially have turned out if one of them hadn’t left the boxing scene soon after? So, I present you with some MM immediate rematches version 2.0. that never came to be:
Marvin Hagler v Sugar Ray Leonard
Muhammad Ali v George Foreman
Prince Naseem Hamad v Marco Antonio Barrera
Lennox Lewis v Vitali Klitschko
Mike Tyson v Buster Douglas
Have a great Xmas. – Raymond, Tranent, Scotland
Thanks, Raymond. Happy Holidays to you too (and to all the mailbag readers – thanks for letting me part of your weekly routines during the year).
These are interesting mythical matchups (allow me to grab the attention of Uatu, The Watcher):
Marvin Hagler v Sugar Ray Leonard – I think Hagler peaked with his epic shootout vs. Tommy Hearns in 1985, won the battle vs. John Mugabi in 1986 but lost the war to “The Beast” in terms of what that grueling fight cost his physical prime, and was able to give the come-backing Leonard a tough fight on sheer pride and muscle memory in 1987. So, had they fought an immediate rematch (in late ’87 or early ’88), I’d have to favor Leonard, who was better preserved and would be more dialed-in and confident without the ring rust. I think Leonard would be stronger down the stretch against a still hard-and-game-but-visibly past-prime Hagler the second time around, and he’d win a clear decision (by legit scores of 116-112 across the board). (I should note that I’m an unabashed Leonard fan.)
Muhammad Ali v George Foreman – The only boxer I idolize more than Leonard is Ali (the champion of champions who got me interested in the sport), so take this opinion with a grain of salt, but I think The Greatest understood how to beat Foreman (especially after his upset in Zaire/Congo), which was to take the brute strong stalker-puncher into deep water where he could be drowned. It took Foreman more than a year to psychologically recover from losing to Ali. He didn’t fight an official bout in 1975, but instead engaged in a circus-like event (promoted by Don King) where he took on five journeymen in back-to-back exhibition bouts in April of that year. The confidence of Foreman (who was still claiming that he had been poisoned or drugged in Zaire) was THAT shattered months after the events of “The Rumble In The Jungle”). In January 1976, he barely survived an epic shootout with top-10 contender Ron Lyle (who Ali had Rope-A-Doped in 11 rounds in May 1975). In June of ’76 he regained his mojo with a rematch stoppage of Joe Frazier, but Ali wasn’t Smokin’ Joe. Ali had the toughness, skill, boxing style AND mentality to wreak havoc on the psyche of the young George Foreman. I think if they fought an immediate rematch, Ali would stop Foreman late once again, somewhere between rounds seven and 11.
Prince Naseem Hamad v Marco Antonio Barrera – I gotta go with Barrera, who was all wrong for Naz. I got to know Barrera shortly after his losses to Junior Jones and I can tell you that he always wanted to fight the UK star, who seemed to stir up the Mexican master’s pride and ire in the best way. When Hamed was at his peak and Barrera was supposedly “exposed” by Jones and/or used up following his first war with Erik Morales, The Baby-Faced Assassin had too much fight and ring generalship for featherweight KO artist. Barrera knew how to undress the Prince. He wouldn’t forget the formula in an immediate rematch. I think Barrera would outpoint Hamed again.
Lennox Lewis v Vitali Klitschko – I was one of the few American boxing writers (maybe the only) to pick Klitschko to beat Lewis. I was almost right. I’d have picked Dr. Iron Fist in the rematch, too, because it was evident to me that Lewis was done after their first go around. The British champion’s legs and reflexes were fading by that point in his career, and I think they’d be 70-80% gone for the rematch. Klitschko by mid-round KO.
Mike Tyson v Buster Douglas – I’ll go with Iron Mike in the rematch, by mid-to-late rounds stoppage (maybe Buster remains on his stool), even though I think the Ohioan had the right style to always trouble Tyson. I think Douglas caught lightening in a bottle with his upset in early 1990. He was ultra-motivated at a time when Tyson just didn’t give a f__k. Tyson would be motivated for the immediate rematch while Douglas would be distracted by all the law suits (brought on by King with the endorsement of the sanctioning organizations over the “long count”), media attention and multi-million-dollar overtures from boxing power brokers (or wanna-be boxing power brokers, such as Vegas hotel/casino magnate Steve Wynn). A less-than 100% Douglas would still compete with a dialed-in Tyson but the Brooklyn badass would either connect with a fight ender at some point or put enough punishment and pain on the defending champ to make him quit.
I’m intrigued by this weekend’s heavyweight title fight between Anthony Joshua and John Ruiz and despite the outcome of the 1st fight I have a leaning towards AJ winning the rematch by decision. You’re not alone, but you’re in the minority with that opinion.
I love Ruiz’s fast hands and in interviews he comes over as a person really hard to dislike. You gotta be a cold mother f__ker to even want or try to dislike Andy. He’s a good dude, and he’s good for boxing.
But that said, I imagine that AJ will keep Ruiz at the end of a long jab for most of the match and in doing so, win enough rounds to re-capture his titles. How do you see this match-up playing out? I see it the way you do, Raymond. You and I are either really smart or really stupid. We’ll find out tomorrow.
Hi Doug, just wanted to write into you about the big rematch in Saudi Arabia.
Ruiz vs AJ rematch, who do you have winning? Part of what makes this fight so interesting is that while it’s usually wise to favor the winner of the first fight in a rematch, Ruiz was having a lot of trouble getting inside on AJ in the first fight, hardly landing any meaningful punches. It wasn’t until AJ knocked Ruiz down that he got greedy and started to open up a bit, and then Ruiz hurt him real bad. Ruiz was basically in control from there. This makes me think that if AJ comes into the rematch especially focused on his opponent, he could keep Ruiz on the outside and win a pretty clear decision boxing a cagey sort of fight. For entertainment purposes I hope this isn’t how the fight plays out, but I think if I was in Joshua’s corner, this is the kind of strategy I’d employ. (Not that my opinion’s worth much lol)
Ruiz has always been an underrated, (and now I think properly rated) heavyweight, with great hand speed and combination punching as well as an excellent chin and good stamina, but his footwork isn’t the best and his much shorter height and reach are real handicaps. Joshua gives Ruiz his best chance to win by opening up and looking to hurt the chunky bad boy. If he utilizes lateral movement, pumps the jab and keeps most of his offence to 1-2’s, there’s no reason Joshua shouldn’t win this fight. Do you agree with this or do you think I’m selling Ruiz short?
Do either of these guys beat Deontay Wilder? Personally, I don’t think so. A fight between Wilder and Joshua would be HUGE and I’m pretty sure it ends with Wilder sparking AJ out. – Jack
Wilder is the hardest punching heavyweight, which makes him the biggest puncher in all of boxing. He’s also unbeaten, and he’s won his last two bouts with a single punch, so he’s got a mystique going at the present time, and that’s totally understandable. (Hey, Felix Trinidad was being compared to Sugar Ray Robinson after he demolished poor William Joppy back in 2001.)
However, he’s not unbeatable. Nobody is. If AJ, Ruiz, Fury and maybe even Dillian Whyte, have a good night against a subpar Wilder, I think they can beat him (and I can envision Joshua, Ruiz and Whyte doing so by knockout). If he has a good night and they’re feelin’ subpar, it’s nighty night for all of them.
Ruiz vs AJ rematch, who do you have winning? Would it be OK for me to pick Ruiz by knockout in the same mailbag where I leaned toward Johsua, you know, just to cover my ass? Probably not. The truth, which I stated at the beginning of this venerable online “Letters to the Editor” column, is that I have no idea what’s going to happen tomorrow in Saudi Arabia. I don’t feel confident picking either heavyweight, which is the main reasons I’m looking forward to the fight! I will say this, though, I’m going against my gut in picking Joshua, but I’m OK with doing that in this instance because I believe there was a bit of a mirage going on June 1.
Part of what makes this fight so interesting is that while it’s usually wise to favor the winner of the first fight in a rematch, Ruiz was having a lot of trouble getting inside on AJ in the first fight, hardly landing any meaningful punches. True, but in trying to do so, you could tell that he ruffled AJ’s feathers. Ruiz’s style and mentality seems to rattle Joshua, even when he’s not connecting with hard shots.
It wasn’t until AJ knocked Ruiz down that he got greedy and started to open up a bit, and then Ruiz hurt him real bad. It was out of character (in my opinion) for Joshua to try to force an early knockout, but I think part of the reason he tried was because Ruiz had made him so uncomfortable in the first two rounds and he wanted the night to be over asap.
Ruiz was basically in control from there. Yes and no. Joshua was out of it, but he still managed to win rounds after the third.
This makes me think that if AJ comes into the rematch especially focused on his opponent, he could keep Ruiz on the outside and win a pretty clear decision boxing a cagey sort of fight. I’m thinking the same thing, but easier THOUGHT (by dudes like us who don’t have to climb into the ring with Ruiz) than DONE by Joshua.
For entertainment purposes I hope this isn’t how the fight plays out, but I think if I was in Joshua’s corner, this is the kind of strategy I’d employ. Likewise, but don’t worry about the entertainment value. The fight’s going to be intense even if Joshua is able to box effectively because Ruiz is going to press him every step of the way and we’ll be anticipated some sort of a drama or breakdown every time the Mexican-American connects. (Wladimir Klitschko’s fights were like this for a couple years following his losses to Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster.)
Ruiz has always been an underrated (and now I think properly rated) heavyweight, with great hand speed and combination punching as well as an excellent chin and good stamina, but his footwork isn’t the best and his much shorter height and reach are real handicaps. I think he fights the right style given his height and reach and his footwork proved to be much better than I thought it was following his lone loss to Joseph Parker.
Joshua gives Ruiz his best chance to win by opening up and looking to hurt the chunky bad boy. Agreed. But he’s got to take SOME risks during the fight. I don’t think he can win by just pecking and poking at Ruiz from a distance. Ruiz won’t let him get away with that. Joshua’s got to land hard (and often) enough to earn Ruiz’s respect.
If he utilizes lateral movement, pumps the jab and keeps most of his offence to 1-2’s, there’s no reason Joshua shouldn’t win this fight. I think he’s got to do a little more than that.
Do you agree with this or do you think I’m selling Ruiz short? I agree, but I also suspect that we may both be selling Ruiz short. We’ll find out very soon.
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and watch him on Periscope every Sunday from SMC track.
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