Anthony Joshua, as usual, looked like a chiseled Adonis on the scales. The Briton is edging closer to a long-awaited American debut in New York on Saturday night.
The opponent is Andy Ruiz, a late replacement for Jarrell Miller, who effectively ruled himself out by taking a cocktail of banned substances.
Many say Ruiz is a better challenge for Joshua than Miller. But let’s be honest, neither should live with the 2012 Olympic champion on his best day.
Heavyweight boxing is exciting due to the element of power involved. Coupled with the fact that any competitor with sufficient clout could pull off an upset with a single blow.
Unfortunately for Ruiz, that remains his only chance.
Despite his blubbery exterior, Ruiz does have the stamina to make it to the championship rounds. Whether AJ lets him get there is another story entirely.
All depends on what mood Joshua is in.
Ruiz probably has three rounds to make his mark. Nine minutes to either rock, drop or stop Joshua and then his window closes.
Joshua will get into cruise control by the fourth. That’s if his exceptional strength and knockout punches haven’t already taken Ruiz out by then.
A fifth round ending looks to be a good bet at 8/1 as Joshua adds another lower-case W to his record in a fight designed to drum up US support.
Anything other than devastation and Joshua’s exploits will be viewed as a failure. And all Ruiz has to do is wobbled Joshua in order to come out of the fight a Mexican hero.
It’s firmly a hiding to nothing for the champion. Whilst unless Joshua can land a fight with Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury, every fight from now until then will be classed accordingly.
Once Oleksandr Usyk is ready, which could be up to a year from now, Joshua will be stuck in a rut as Wilder and Fury go through a potential trilogy of fights.
Usyk is an enormous talent, who like Evander Holyfield before him, can definitely be a ruler at both cruiserweight and 200 pounds plus.
An Eddie Hearn dream fight, Joshua v Usyk will be huge once it’s announced. It would also give Joshua fans respite from the humdrum of recent opponents.
Let’s enjoy what should in all honesty be an easy night’s work for Joshua, who will have a fantastic atmosphere to drink in before walking back to the dressing room with his clutch of belts.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay
BOXING STARTS 16:45
8 x 3 mins Super-Welterweight contest
SOULEYMANE CISSOKHO 156.8 lbs v WLADIMIR HERNANDEZ 162 lbs
(Bagnolet, France) (Denver, Colorado)
17:00 EASTERN: LIVE ON SKY SPORTS BOX OFFICE
17:30 EASTERN: LIVE ON DAZN
12 x 3 mins WBO International Super-Lightweight title
CHRIS ALGIERI 139.8 lbs v TOMMY COYLE 139.6 lbs
(New York, USA) (Hull, England)
10 x 3 mins WBA International Light-Heavyweight title
JOSHUA BUATSI 174 lbs v MARCO ANTONIO PERIBAN 172 lbs
(Croydon, England) (Mexico City, Mexico)
10 x 3 mins WBA International Welterweight title
JOSH KELLY 146.4 lbs v RAY ROBINSON 146 lbs
(Sunderland, England) (Philadelphia, USA)
10 x 3 mins IBF, WBC, WBO, WBA, Ring Magazine Women’s Lightweight World Championships
KATIE TAYLOR 134.6 lbs v DELFINE PERSOON 130.6 lbs
(Bray, Ireland) (Roeselare, Belgium)
12 x 3 mins WBA ‘Super’ World, WBC Diamond, Ring Magazine Super-Middleweight titles
CALLUM SMITH 167.6 lbs v HASSAN N’DAM 166 lbs
(Liverpool, England) (Monte Carlo, Monaco)
12 x 3 mins WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO Heavyweight World Championships
ANTHONY JOSHUA 247.8 lbs v ANDY RUIZ JR 268 lbs
(Watford, England) (California, USA)
4 x 3 mins Middleweight contest
AUSTIN WILLIAMS 159.4 lbs v QUADEER JENKINS 161.6 lbs
(Texas, USA) (Trenton, USA)
4 x 3 mins Super-Middleweight contest
DIEGO PACHECO 164.2 lbs v JARED CHAUVIN 163 lbs
(Los Angeles, USA) (Macomb, USA)