New York: Andy Ruiz Jr. is a heavyweight that does not fit the model look next to Anthony Joshua the IBF/WBA heavyweight champion. Yet the two will face off in the ring at Madison Square Garden Saturday night and the title will be on the line. Here is the thing to look at before another heavyweight championship is contested at the Garden, and it’s his proclamation about shocking the world.
Ruiz Jr was a replacement for Jarrell Miller. Miller was caught red handed testing for illegal substance abuse in mandatory testing, weeks after the fight was announced and quickly the main event had to be saved. Joshua, a king in the UK, is making his United States debut,but the boxing world is anticipating a showdown with Joshua and Deontay Wilder to unify the heavyweight titles.
Though Tuesday night, Wildler, who holds the WBC heavyweight title, announced on social media that his next fight will be a rematch with Luis Ortiz, the Cuban he stopped in the 10th round at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in March of last year. A date and venue for the rematch is not determined.
So if Ruiz Jr. fails to score the upset,then fight fans will have to wait longer for a Joshua-Wilder meeting, in what is considered to be an all-time major championship bout for the sport.
Talk to Ruiz, a heavy underdog, and he says that Saturday night will change everything. Tuesday in New York he was confident. A public workout before a huge throng of fans in the lower Manhattan financial district got some attention, however he is still the huge underdog.
Ruiz Jr. is definite about shocking the world and if he pulls off this upset, it could be bigger than that Buster Douglas knock out to Mike Tyson In Japan.
“A lot of people underestimate me,” he said. “Like I said, the way I look, my appearance, but as soon as they see me throw punches, I’m going to pull out the upset. This is what I have worked for my whole life, I’m here to take what Anthony has. I’m ready to shock the world.”
And all boxing fans, if not the sports world, still talk about the Douglas upset win over Tyson at the Tokyo Dome in February of 1990. Douglas was a huge underdog then, but was relatively known as a rugged heavyweight.
Ruiz Jr, once held a portion of the heavyweight title,the WBO almost three years ago, if one is to consider that belt viable. Though the WBO title is also held by Joshua. Ruiz Jr, 29-years old, seeks to become the first Mexican to hold the heavyweight titles.
Seriously, many are not giving Ruiz Jr. a chance. And with Joshua, strong and more athletic, this fight may not last long. Then again, Buster Douglas never had a chance against Mike Tyson before they got in the ring. So anything is possible.
“It just gives me more motivation all the guys talking crap,” said Ruiz. “I don’t know if they are mad because I have got this opportunity, but I don’t have anything bad to say about anyone, I talk in the ring with my fists. I’m so mentally strong and prepared for this fight that I don’t care what people have to say.”
Back then, they said the same thing about Buster Douglas. And for most fighters, in a position as the major underdog, they use that as motivation. But this is a huge task for Ruiz Jr. and the odds are against him with a major crowd from the UK planning to be at the Garden and shouting for Joshua.
Ortiz, was offered to be the replacement opponent. His camp turned the fight down being that it was too brief of time in between his last fight. And now, it appears apparent that Ortiz wanted another shot at Deontay Wilder.
Ruiz Jr. and Joshua will faceoff for the first time Thursday afternoon in New York. That is the final press conference before they touch gloves on Saturday night. The championship will be televised on the SKY Sports Network and seen on the DAZN streaming Network, a subscription service, and is promoted by Matchroom Boxing.
“The most important thing is to win and prove to the fans that I belong at this elite level,” Ruiz Jr. said. “I’m not going to chase the KO but I know that it’s there if I execute my combinations. I’m feeling good and ready, AJ hasn’t boxed for nine months and I’m sharper than ever and very motivated.”
“He’s big, but the advantages I have are in speed, movement and coming forward. Everyone AJ fights is scared. I’m not scared of anyone apart from the man upstairs. There’s a lot of doubters out there but I don’t care, they only give me more motivation and confidence.”
Time will tell if this will be the new and biggest shock for boxing. And perhaps the sports world.
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