Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Anthony Joshua-Andy Ruiz upset fallout and feedback)

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AND THE NEW…!

Hi Doug,

First off, congrats to the new unified heavyweight champ Andy Ruiz Jr. What a brilliant fight plan that he executed. Consistently using his jab and working the body to the head also. Very proud of the guy for becoming the first heavyweight of Mexican descent to become champ.

On to Anthony Joshua. If I was part of his team for when they look back to analyze what went wrong, I would make sure to execute two things in his training camp for the rematch:

Number 1, I would work on his jab nonstop. Chris Mannix of the DAZN broadcast team made a great point post-analysis that a man of his stature has no conceivable reason for why he should be stiff and trying to come low to the size of his smaller opponent. I would highly recommend that Joshua do nothing but watch old Larry Holmes tapes on YouTube immediately until he learns how to execute it properly in the ring. 

Number 2, I would recommend that he improve his conditioning as well. I believe Joshua came into the weigh-in at 247 lbs. To better improve his conditioning, it seems like he needs to be somewhere between 235 to 240 at the most. Once he gets rocked by a big shot such as he did in this fight, and also the Klitschko fight, he seemed to have a hard time recuperating. Big credit to him for knocking out the Ukrainian in the past but he just couldn’t get so lucky this time around because Ruiz was so focused and measured to not allow that to happen to him.

What do you think Joshua needs to improve on in his next training camp for the rematch? Also, where does this rate in your biggest heavyweight upsets of all-time list? – Eli, Austin, TX

It’s the biggest heavyweight upset that I’ve covered, Eli, that’s for sure. It wasn’t inconceivable that Joshua could lose to Ruiz, but it was so unlikely that to witness it unfold the way it did was a surreal experience given the celebratory atmosphere the British fans created inside Madison Square Garden leading up to the main event. I didn’t travel to South Africa for Lewis-Rahman I (obviously), I wasn’t in Germany when Corrie Sanders blitzed Wlad Klitschko (obviously), I couldn’t be ringside for Klitschko-Brewster I because my wife had just given birth to our first daughter, and I didn’t travel to Germany for Klitschko-Fury, so yeah, I’d have to say that Joshua-Ruiz is the biggest heavyweight title bout upset I’ve covered so far. Where does it rank all time? I’m not sure, but I think an argument can be made for it being in the top 10 given the official odds and the heavyweights’ respective statures in the sport (AJ being an unbeaten British superstar, an Olympic gold medalist, and unified titleholder; Ruiz being a fringe contender who had lost the only time he was in a major main event), as well as the chubby challenger’s late-substitute situation.

cover July 35 Braddock Baer Ring 214x300 - Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Anthony Joshua-Andy Ruiz upset fallout and feedback)I wouldn’t put it ahead of Tyson-Douglas or Baer-Braddock or even Moorer-Foreman (even though I think the official odds of the latter two bouts were closer than those for Joshua-Ruiz), but I think it’s on par with Lewis-McCall I and Lewis-Rahman I, as well as W. Klitschko-Sanders. I’d rank Joshua-Ruiz ahead of Klitschko-Brewster I (because Wladdy had been stopped twice before and this was before he unified major belts) and I even think one can make a case for it being ahead of Tyson-Holyfield I (because those odds, which started at 25-1, closed up by fight time, and the Real Deal was a former undisputed champ). Personally, I think Joshua-Ruiz is closest to Lewis-Rahman I in terms of story lines and probability (although Rock had a lot more time to prepare for his upset than Ruiz did).

One can debate whether Joshua-Ruiz belongs among the biggest upsets of all time, but it’s definitely the front-runner for 2019 Upset of the Year.

Every hardcore weirdo with a Twitter account is going to claim he saw this coming – either because he thought Joshua was garbage or he’s just a boxing super-genius – but the reality is that even among those that respected Ruiz’s talent and ability (and I’m one of them; I thought he was more of a threat than Jarrell Miller would have been), few envisioned the outcome that came to fruition Saturday night. That’s why the upset created such global frenzy. I think it’s exciting to have a new player in boxing’s glamor division, and I’m not going to berate and burry Joshua for losing to a huge underdog. It happens in boxing (especially at heavyweight) and overcoming these types of devastating setbacks (often more than once) is what defined the character and legacies of several big men – from Joe Louis to Lennox Lewis – now enshrined in the hall of fame. (Wladimir Klitschko, who had to bounce back from THREE stoppage losses before he earned unified champion status, will be a first-ballot hall of famer as soon as he’s eligible.)

What do I think Joshua needs to improve in his next training camp? Not much, in terms of his conditioning. I just think he needs to be more focused. I don’t think he was as “up” for Ruiz as he was for Miller, who talked mad s__t. Andy is such a nice guy outside of the ring, I can see where even a world-class competitor like Joshua would let his guard down a little. And I also think Joshua overlooked Ruiz a bit. I know it sounds corny, but he didn’t have the “Eye of the Tiger” when he entered the arena and the ring. He’s gonna need that to beat an earnest warrior like Ruiz.

In terms of his technique, I agree that he needs to sharpen up his jab and get it working in the rematch (and in every fight). But mainly, I think he boxed a poor fight in terms of his tactics or strategy. I said this in Friday’s mailbag, and I’ll repeat it: a guy like AJ must not back up against Ruiz, who is at his best coming forward. He needed to stake out the center of the ring, establish his jab and circle Ruiz until he either busted up the Californian’s face or softened him up enough for the big power shots upstairs.

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Ruiz clips Joshua with a neuron-scrambling hook. Photo by Matthew Heasley

When I saw Joshua backpedaling away from Ruiz and getting close to the ropes in the opening round I thought it was a very bad sign. But the biggest mistake Joshua made in the fight was trying to go for the kill after he dropped Ruiz with a big hook in Round 3. For starters, Ruiz got up with clear eyes, and he’s got heart. AJ had to know he was gonna fight back and go down swinging if it came to that. But main reason I view it as a mistake was because it was out of character for Joshua to go for an early KO. I thought he was smarter than that. Didn’t he say prior to the fight that he wasn’t in competition with Deontay Wilder? Joshua isn’t a pure puncher with a killer instinct like the Bronze bomber. Joshua is a boxer-puncher. He’s at his best when he wears his opponents down with solid technique and fundamentals – and THEN goes for the stoppage (usually after the fifth or sixth round).

 

SHOULDA BET ON ‘THE DESTROYER’

Dougie,

Hope you and your family are doing amazing.

I really wish I placed a bet on Ruiz Jr. What an upset.

Did AJ overlook Ruiz Jr? Did he quit? Can he win a rematch?

Kind Regards. – Miguel

I think Joshua can win a rematch but he’s going to have to be at his best, mentally and physically. If he’s as together as he appears to be and he’s able to learn from the experience of his first loss, he should improve as a fighter as so many legends of the sport have before him.

We’re going to learn a lot about Joshua’s character going forward.

I don’t think he quit. But I do think he overlooked Ruiz, which is almost as big of a sin in boxing.

You’re not alone in wishing you placed a decent wager on Andy. I’m glad I don’t bet on boxing. It would drive me insane.

The family and I are splendid. Thanks for asking. I’m ready for summer!

 

THIS IS WHY WE LOVE BOXING

Hello Doug,

OMG, this was so amazing! Not since Randall-Chavez I and Douglas-Tyson had we witnessed an upset of this magnitude in boxing.

Anybody who knows boxing knew Ruiz was no pushover, but I don’t think anybody thought he would not only win but drop the champ 4 times and come off the canvas to do it.  It was an exciting fight that featured everything.

This is a big example why muscle and body don’t mean anything in boxing. Ruiz’ corner did an excellent job in giving him instructions on what to do on that third round, they have to be credited as much as Andy.

What an excellent performance, the body shot in the 6th round pretty much opened up the knockout. I will remember this fight forever. What an exciting night. My wife was jumping up and down, and she didn’t even know who these guys were.

What happens next? It’s obvious Joshua will exercise the rematch and in Wembley. We also now have a potential star, with the Mexican fanbase here in the U.S. He could be bigger than Deontay very fast (not only in size but in star power). There are so many possibilities now.

It was pretty obvious that Joshua underestimated Ruiz, his whole demeanor up to the fight showed this, but that wasn’t the only reason he lost. Ruiz has fast hands, respectable power and very good skills.

What an awesome night. Jealous that you were there!! Thanks Doug! – Juan Valverde, San Diego

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Image courtesy of NYCGo.com

It was an unforgettable night at The Garden, Juan, and that’s saying something because I was there for Lewis-Grant, Trinidad-Joppy, Hopkins-Trinidad, Cotto-Judah, Cotto-Mosley, Golovkin-Lemieux, Golovkin-Jacobs and Linares-Lomachenko. For starters, Eddie Hearn put together a quality undercard and finally had the right guy in a U.S. main event (AJ) to create the British boxing experience in America. Taylor-Persoon and Algieri-Coyle were very good fights (especial the women’s lightweight championship). Callum Smith and Joshua Buatsi did what was expected of them but still delivered good stoppages (especially the Ring super middleweight champ). And Josh Kelly got his first real gut check against a respectable gatekeeper. The crowd steadily grew from the Algieri-Coyle fight until we had a sold-out Garden prior to the main event with 20,000 fans (led by about 8,000 Brits, most of whom were proudly piss drunk) singing “Sweet Caroline” and “Champagne Supernova.” And then we had the big upset, which started in earnest with a wild Round 3 that provided a healthy adrenaline injection to press row and sent the fans on a wild emotional rollercoaster ride until Round 7.

Not since Randall-Chavez I and Douglas-Tyson had we witnessed an upset of this magnitude in boxing. I don’t rank the upset as high as those two – mostly because Joshua, while popular and accomplished for a guy with 22 fights, simply isn’t at the level Tyson and Chavez were at the time of those shocking losses – but it’s significant.

Anybody who knows boxing knew Ruiz was no pushover, but I don’t think anybody thought he would not only win but drop the champ 4 times and come off the canvas to do it. It was an exciting fight that featured everything. Ruiz was sensational and the fight was a blast. I don’t understand a lot of rancor that followed it on social media and in comment sections of post-fight articles. Can boxing media and modern fans enjoy anything?

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Ruiz had the more effective jab vs. Joshua. Photo by Matthew Heasley

Ruiz’ corner did an excellent job in giving him instructions on what to do on that third round, they have to be credited as much as Andy. Yes, I’m proud of Manny Robles Jr. and very happy for him. He’s had some of his high-profile fighters leave him in the last year or so (Oscar Valdez, Dominic Breazeale, Jason Quigley, even his son took on Rudy Hernandez), but this fight should remind everyone of his quality as a coach and conerman. (And shout out to assistant trainer Edgar Jasso, too!) They clearly gave Ruiz the best possible game plan and the fighter executed it perfectly. I was especially impressed with Ruiz’s hard jab to the chest, and the timing of his power shots to the AJ’s noggin.

I will remember this fight forever. What an exciting night. My wife was jumping up and down, and she didn’t even know who these guys were. That’s boxing at its best. My dad told me he enjoyed watching the fight.

What happens next? It’s obvious Joshua will exercise the rematch and in Wembley. Is it? There’s an immediate rematch clause in the contract and Joshua said after the fight that he wants to exercise it, but you never know how a big star is going to react after his first loss once it really sinks in, especially fighters of this era; they’ve been known to go AWOL for a while or clean house following a devastating defeat. But Joshua seems to have his s__t together so I guess we can expect the rematch but I wonder of Al Haymon and Team Ruiz will resist Hearn’s desire to stage it in the UK.

We also now have a potential star, with the Mexican fanbase here in the U.S. Agreed. Andy is a fan-friendly fighter, likable outside of the ring and bilingual. He’s just gotta keep hold of those belts.

He could be bigger than Deontay very fast (not only in size but in star power). There are so many possibilities now. Agreed. One of those possibilities is a showdown for undisputed status vs. Wilder.

 

WHO’S LAUGHING AT FAT BOY NOW?

Hi Dougie,

Hope you the family and team are well.

Speechless!!

Just watched AJ Vs Ruiz. In the boxing media, people were saying Ruiz is very good, has fast hands, but nobody picked him to win outside of his camp. This is a massive, massive upset!!

Firstly, credit to Andy Ruiz. He got it spot on right and with only 5-6 weeks notice. His timing was spot on, he took AJ’s power and exploited opportunities. To be honest his punch output didn’t look massive. He was just quick and clinical when it mattered. I’m an AJ fan, but how can you not like Andy Ruiz? The guy is a class act!

I feel his mental toughness also played a big part tonight. All the fat jokes, ridiculous odds against him didn’t seem to phase him all week. Mr. Nice Guy before the bell and class act after the bell. But in the fight, all business. The knockdown he took he just shrugged off and got back on it.

How good is he? Well he gave Joseph Parker a good fight in New Zealand. Hypothetically, if he was to face Wilder, Fury or Whyte next how would he do? The best man won tonight. All the credit in the world to him.

So, what went wrong for AJ? Did he simply overlook and underestimate Ruiz? I think yes, but there’s more to it I feel. AJ really got hurt tonight and didn’t know what to do. I heard him in the corner say to Rob McCracken “Why am I feeling like this?”. I think mental toughness played a big part for him tonight.

The rematch is properly already signed for Wembley later on this year. How do you see it going? I think it all depends on how AJ takes the loss. If he can accept he’s not invincible and change his tactics he’s got a good chance. I also think there will be some needle in the rematch which should help AJ. It was all way too much Mr. Nice Guy this week and that’s not always a good thing to get you into fight mode. Will this change the type of fighter AJ is now? I mean will he instinctively be more defensive now he knows he can get hurt?

So, what will Fury, Wilder and Whyte be thinking? Saw a tweet from Fury showing support. Nice to see. But they all must be thinking 2 things:1) I can beat him2) Have I lost out on 10s of millions of £$£$? The rest of the card was good.

The Algieri vs Coyle fight was entertaining. I like both guys, they always give it 110% and it was a decent fight. Algieri looked good at 140 lbs. There was some speculation he was a struggle but with his qualifications it looks like he made the weight healthily. How does he do against Hooker?

I really like Joshua Bautsi, he’s developing well. But the top dogs in the division are no joke. Kovalev, Bivol for example. I’d like to see him in with Anthony Yard next. How do you see that going? Kelly Vs Robinson was a fair result IMHO. Josh has to realise that at this level he won’t get away with being a “Flash Harry” unless he has one-punch knockout power. It’s a bit frustrating as he’s got the speed and reflexes to be much better.

Taylor Vs Persoon. What a fight!!!!! It wasn’t a robbery but IMHO, however, the decision went the wrong way. Taylor always looks quicker and more skilled. Persoon just kept coming and in the second half of the fight it really paid off. Hope we get a rematch. Taylor just needs to box at range to get a win.

I thought N’Dam would give Smith much more trouble. But after seeing the size difference I thought maybe not. Smith Vs Canelo? How do you see it going? It’s now 5:35am and I’ve lost my voice from shouting at the TV. Keep up the good work and enjoy the rest of the weekend. – Tabraze, London U.K.

Thanks, Tabraze. If I wasn’t working Saturday night, my voice would have been fried too. That was a wild main event. And, as you note, it was supported with a quality undercard.

I think I’d slightly favor Canelo against Smith, probably by close decision (unless he’s able to get to the Liverpudlian’s midsection), but I think The Ring super middleweight champ presents one of the toughest challenges (physically and stylewise) for the Mexican star.

N’Dam did his best but he’s shopworn at this stage of his career. However, credit to Smith for dropping the former two-time middleweight beltholder with those beautiful counter hooks and that final right hand. Goodness! That’s how a UK fighter can start to create a buzz in the U.S.

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Photo by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing UK

Taylor-Persoon was the most competitive fight of the night and it was a very entertaining blend of styles. I thought Taylor often fought the wrong fight by not employing more of a get-in-and-get-out strategy of outworking the bigger, stronger stalker in close and then outmaneuvering her, but I still thought the fight could go either way. Persoon had moments early in the bout and she was definitely the stronger more effective fighter in the late rounds, but Taylor was sharper early and did her share of damage down the stretch (as evidenced by the grotesque swelling around Persoon’s eyes). I had it even, five rounds apiece or 95-95 like one of the judges. I had no problem with the 96-94 score for Taylor (as one of the late rounds I scored for Delfine, Round 7, could have gone to the Irish star IMO), although I think that same score could have gone to Persoon. I’d love to see a rematch or either Taylor or Persoon take on Amanda Serrano.

Buatsi is getting close to a Ring ranking at 175 pounds. He’s still a work in progress but he looks technically sharper than Yarde. I’d slightly favor Buatsi in that matchup, but Yarde would be a real threat because of his explosive speed and power.

Kelly got a gut check from Robinson, who did just enough not to win (again) and Kelly’s handlers got a reality check. I think they bit off a little more than he could chew pairing the Pretty Boy with Ray in just his 10th pro bout. Hopefully, Kelly grows from the experience. He’s got potential. He’s just got to add more substance to his “sizzle.”

Firstly, credit to Andy Ruiz. He got it spot on right and with only 5-6 weeks notice. I think it was definitely an edge for him to have fought in April, while AJ hadn’t fought since last September.

His timing was spot on, he took AJ’s power and exploited opportunities. To be honest his punch output didn’t look massive. He was just quick and clinical when it mattered. Ruiz knows when to let his hands go and he selects the right punches.

I’m an AJ fan, but how can you not like Andy Ruiz? The guy is a class act! You gotta love Ruiz, and I must report that everybody was classy after the fight, including Joshua and Eddie Hearn.

I feel his mental toughness also played a big part tonight. Yes, he was mentally stronger than Joshua, who you could tell was plagued with doubts after getting hurt and dropped in Round 3 and even after he had a solid Round 5. Ruiz, as you noted, “shrugged off” his knockdown.

All the fat jokes, ridiculous odds against him didn’t seem to phase him all week. Mr. Nice Guy before the bell and class act after the bell. But in the fight, all business. Indeed. Ruiz was the heavyweight who committed to his offense, which was courageous. I loved the combinations. You just don’t see those kinds of combos from heavyweights often. Joshua was effective in spots (Rounds 2 and 5) but he wasn’t able to impose his style or athleticism on Ruiz, not even when he dropped the underdog.

How good is he? Well he gave Joseph Parker a good fight in New Zealand. Ruiz has definitely improved since the Parker fight. His jab, combinations and footwork are much better than they were in 2016. How good is he? We don’t know yet. He may not have hit his ceiling. But as of now he’s one of the three best heavyweights on the planet.

Hypothetically, if he was to face Wilder, Fury or Whyte next how would he do? I think he’d be very live vs. Wilder and Whyte, but I think Fury is all wrong for him. Wilder-Ruiz would be a lot of fun, a real heavyweight shootout. Whyte’s consistent jab and sneaky hook would give Ruiz trouble but I wonder how he holds out against the Californian’s smart pressure.

So, what went wrong for AJ? Did he simply overlook and underestimate Ruiz? I think yes, but there’s more to it I feel. Maybe Ruiz just has a style and mentality that spooks him.

AJ really got hurt tonight and didn’t know what to do. I heard him in the corner say to Rob McCracken “Why am I feeling like this?”. AJ was spacey between rounds, and he seemed a little loopy after the fight although he conducted himself with class. He was probably concussed. The punches that hurt him and send him down twice in Round 3 landed high on the head (temple area) and toward the back of the head.

The rematch is properly already signed for Wembley later on this year. How do you see it going? Honestly, I think it’s a toss-up, even if Joshua has the best camp of his life and is mentally prepared and dialed in for Ruiz. The new champ is going to enter the ring with a lot of confidence and a much longer camp to prepare for Joshua’s style. Having said that, I think it would be foolish to count Joshua out.

Will this change the type of fighter AJ is now? I mean will he instinctively be more defensive now he knows he can get hurt? That happens in boxing. Time will tell. We won’t know until we see him step into the ring again.

So, what will Fury, Wilder and Whyte be thinking? Saw a tweet from Fury showing support. Nice to see. Fury has become a better man during his road to recovery and climb back up the heavyweight rankings.

But they all must be thinking 2 things:1) I can beat him They thought that BEFORE the Ruiz upset.

2) Have I lost out on 10s of millions of £$£$? Maybe they should have taken the “short money” just to get in the ring with him. They could’ve made up for that concession ten-fold if they beat him. Instead, it’s Andy Ruiz who busts AJ’s cherry and makes history. You gotta be in it to win it, fellas.

WHERE DOES RUIZ RANK?

Wow just wow! FIRST MEXICAN HEAVYWEIGHT champ! ANDY Ruiz was pummeling Anthony Joshua like crazy motherfu**r. He might be thinking this is now or never. This is a disastrous US debut of AJ. I wonder what Eddie Hearn is thinking?

So who are the top 5 Heavyweights now? I wonder if this is the chance Fury could return to number 1, with Andy number 2 and Wilder 3, AJ 4 and maybe Dillian at 5. Thats for me. Heavyweight is getting more excited again, thanks to the likes of these 5. Also i think it makes them more busy with their schedule (Wilder to fight that old guy he already beaten and then FURY, Fury fighting some unknown, and then AJ could get rematch with Andy. Whoever wins between the 4 will need to fight whoever is the number 1.

2 other fighters from the other pond were losing in their fight and then the awards were given to them (Hello Taylor and Kelly).

Sorry this is my 2nd email apart from the one with Naoya Inuoe. Its either you post it or not, just wanting to say the mailbag is lit. It is the best among all boxing sites. Keep writing. – Bianca Frost

I will, Bianca, even when I’m deliriously tired from a three-day stay in New York City, as well as two long-ass travel days. Thanks for the kind words for the mailbag column. Fans like you are the reason I do this.

Wow just wow! That’s what pretty much everyone watching the fight was thinking when it was waved off (well, except for AJ fans, who were thinking: “F__k, oh f__k”)

FIRST MEXICAN HEAVYWEIGHT champ! It will be interesting to see how the PBC (and its network partners) promotes Ruiz (and his heritage) following this monumental upset. There’s a lot to work with

ANDY Ruiz was pummeling Anthony Joshua like crazy motherfu**r. Maybe he looked a little loco when he let his hands go but for the most part, I thought he was as cool as veteran assassin.

This is a disastrous US debut of AJ. It was the worst-case scenario.

I wonder what Eddie Hearn is thinking? He’s thinking this is a crazy business but it’s the life and career that I chose.

So who are the top 5 Heavyweights now? Good question.

I wonder if this is the chance Fury could return to number 1, with Andy number 2 and Wilder 3, AJ 4 and maybe Dillian at 5. That’s for me. At the time that I posted this mailbag the majority of the Ring Ratings Panel wanted Fury at No. 1 with Ruiz either at No. 2 or No. 3 (I think more panelists place him No. 3 behind Wilder).

Heavyweight is getting more excited again, thanks to the likes of these 5. It would be even more “excited” if the top 4 fought each other.

2 other fighters from the other pond were losing in their fight and then the awards were given to them (Hello Taylor and Kelly). I thought the draw in the Kelly-Robinson fight was fair, and I was OK with the Taylor-Persoon decision, although I think the women need to run it back just to set the record straight. Congrats to Taylor on becoming the inaugural Ring Magazine women’s lightweight champion.

 

Email Fischer at dougie@boxingmailbag.com. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and watch him on Periscope every Sunday from SMC track.

 

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