Reflecting during fight week and catching up on some of the pre-fight programmings was an eye-opening experience ahead of the Andy Ruiz Jr. vs Anthony Joshua rematch.
With just days to go, heading back to June 1st before witnessing the pair face each other again eye-to-eye revealed a lot about how the pair have dealt with their first meeting.
The Sylvester Stallone produced ‘ONE NIGHT’ was the perfect kick-off to the 90 minute viewing. A mini-movie which told the whole truth about an exhilarating contest.
Constant x-rated blurbs from the great Mike Tyson were a sound accompaniment to a triumph over adversity for Andy Ruiz Jr.
The chubby underdog, little thought-of and expected to lose, Ruiz seemed the perfect foil for Joshua to look good on his US debut.
But as Tyson stated, ‘it was a beautiful thing’ to see Ruiz seal his own ‘Rocky’ story and become Mexico’s first heavyweight champion.
Joshua roundly took Ruiz too lightly and was in a damaged place psychologically from a training camp littered with negative rumor.
The story brought back bad memories for Joshua fans. Thousands packed out Madison Square Garden in expectant mood that the Briton would cement UK dominance over the division.
Not so, as it turned out. Joshua just wasn’t all there that night. Furthermore, we may never know exactly why his world capitulated in front of our eyes.
Such a devastating loss, which will hang over his career forever, will be hard to come back from. Down badly from that equilibrium-busting shot by Ruiz, Joshua was out of it for the subsequent four rounds.
Eventually, referee Michael Griffin called a halt with Joshua seemingly wanting out.
From winning the world title in 2016, to being labeled the most dominant force in boxing by promoter Eddie Hearn, it was a very public fall from grace for Joshua.
Stallone captured this is fine style, We’d have expected nothing less of the Golden Globe-winning Hollywood legend.
On to ‘THE GLOVES ARE OFF’ and it remains hard not to like Andy Ruiz Jr’s style. The guy oozes class and friendliness. A reflection of this spewed from his mouth during arrowed answers to Johnny Nelson.
Joshua, on the other hand, lost his train of thought on more than one occasion. The former champ seemed to struggle to deal with being in the presence of his emphatic conqueror.
Nerves played a part, but Joshua still holds delusional tendencies stemming from his spell as world champion.
At one point, Joshua stated he always did things the hard way, which was a moment some would have certainly been taken aback by.
Facing Charles Martin for the world title. Defending that said crown against the likes of Dominic Breazeale and Eric Molina didn’t really fall into this category.
Plus, the Klitschko win was a blood and guts battle against a faded champion, which Joshua almost lost in round six. The signs were there.
Joshua’s best win on paper comes again an out-of-sorts Joseph Parker, hardly the toughest assignment.
It could be argued that Joshua’s greatest performance came against Dillian Whyte or Alexander Povetkin. One of whom was too green and the other who was once again past his top form.
Rambling quite a bit at times, talking about his ‘meat not being cooked enough’, and at one point giving away too much of his gameplan, Joshua is obviously finding things tough at the moment in the mental capacity.
For that reason, you have to fully give the edge to Ruiz. And maybe even put a flutter on an early stoppage for the current ruler, taking advantage of those huge prices.
Joshua has largely kept the same team. Retained those familiar clutch of people around him. This is something that doesn’t usually bode well in the history of revenge victories.
Big changes should have been made in the aftermath of June 1st as the whole event was a shambles. It’s no secret huge decisions were roundly avoided by the Londoner.
The eye of the tiger still lies with Ruiz, which is plainly apparent from the build-up. Meaning the chances of AJ avenging his defeat are remote, at best.
Should Joshua be able to do so on what has been witnessed so far in the build-up, that would be all the more impressive for the once-feared divisional king.
We will all find out in a mere three days’ time.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News and an Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay