Eddie Hearn reacts to Ruiz Jr. demanding $50 million for Joshua rematch in UK
By Barry Holbrook: Eddie Hearn is amused that Andy Ruiz Jr. is saying that he wants $50 million if he’s to travel to the UK to defend his IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight titles against Anthony Joshua in a rematch in November. Hearn says he’ll announce the location of the Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr. rematch in the next two weeks. He says he wants it in the UK. However, Joshua is open to coming back to Madison Square Garden in New York.
Ruiz Jr. wants the second fight against AJ to take place in the United States in Los Angeles or in Mexico. Hearn drops hints that Ruiz won’t be getting what he wants. Hearn says Ruiz was initially “picked” by them for the fight last weekend, and he wasn’t the “Mandatory” to Joshua.
Hearn says Joshua has a “rematch clause.” He doesn’t say what that means in terms of the $50 million that Ruiz is demanding for him to fight Joshua in the UK, but it’s quite possible that the money is already spelled out in the rematch clause. Ruiz likely also won’t be able to pick the location of where the second fight with AJ will take place, because the location is believed to be in the rematch clause as well.
Ruiz demands $50 million to fight Joshua in UK
Here’s what Ruiz recently said to Fighthub about wanting $50 million to fight AJ in the UK:
“If they want me to go over there, they’ve got to give me $50 million dollars. If they want to come over here. It’s just negotiations, you know.”
Even if Ruiz doesn’t get his wish for the $50 million, he’ll still make a lot of money in the rematch with Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs). It’ll be a nice payday, and he’ll be in demand. One can imagine there will be endorsement deals offered to Ruiz Jr. going into that fight. If he beats Joshua, the money he’ll be able to make in a short period of time will be huge. There will almost surely be a fight between Ruiz and WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, and Tyson Fury. There’s a lot of possibilities for Ruiz Jr. if he can beat Joshua again.
“Joshua has got to work hard. He’s got to realize what he did wrong,” said Hearn to Fighthub about Joshua’s loss to Ruiz. “It’s going to be really hard for him. Andy is a well-schooled fighter, and his confidence is going to go through the roof. I hope he eats too many snickers, and puts on too much weight, and doesn’t come back with the same desire. I know the fire is burning inside Anthony Joshua right now,” said Hearn.
Hearn addresses Ruiz’s $50 million demands
“You know your boxing. I don’t want to talk about contracts right now,” said Hearn when told that Ruiz wants $50 million if he’s forced to go to the UK to fight Joshua. “Ruiz got the opportunity. We picked Ruiz. People say Ruiz should get where he wants to go. He wasn’t mandatory. So obviously there was a rematch clause. If Ruiz beats Joshua again, then you’re talking about superstardom. So he’s changed his life. We’ll advise in the next two weeks where the rematch will be. For me, we’ll take it to the UK,” said Hearn.
One gets the sense that Joshua is taking the immediate rematch with Ruiz for the wrong reasons. Joshua doesn’t like the image obviously of him losing to a short, tubby underdog fighter like Ruiz Jr. the way that he was last Saturday night in his four-knockdown, seventh round TKO loss at Madison Square Garden in New York. Supposing that Joshua did the smart thing and didn’t make the immediate rematch with Ruiz, he would have to deal with massive ribbing from the boxing public until he eventually fought him again in a year or two.
That would obviously be hard for Joshua to deal with mentally. If this was Deontay Wilder that had wiped the deck with Joshua last Saturday, it’s predictable that Joshua wouldn’t take the risk of facing him in an immediate rematch, because he could live with the criticism from fans for a loss to him. Either way, it’s a questionable move for Joshua to take an immediate rematch against a fighter that destroyed him the way he was a week ago.
“AJ is a sick kind of guy,” said Hearn. “He said to be a couple of days ago, ‘Maybe we should do it at Madison Square Garden. That’s where it went wrong. So that’s where I should put it right.’ I said, ‘wow, that’s an incredible attitude.’ For me, we don’t know if boxing in America was a disadvantage to him,” said Hearn. “We just don’t know. But ‘boxing in the UK will be an advantage for you.’ He said, ‘Yeah, but I’m the challenger now. Should we bring it back?’ I said, ‘You’re too nice.’ So we’ve got some decisions to make, and they’ll come very soon,” said Hearn.
Joshua had the crowd on his side at MSG
With Madison Square Garden stacked to the rafters with Joshua’s British boxing fans last Saturday night, how could it be a disadvantage for Joshua to fight in New York? Joshua was basically the home fighter? Hearn’s decision to stage the fight in New York rather than in Ruiz’s home state of California, which is on the other side of the U.S, meant that the crowd would be overwhelmingly Joshua fans. We saw the same thing when Irish fighter Carl Frampton fought Leo Santa Cruz in New York in 2016. There was a huge crowd of Frampton fans, many of them from the New York area, as there a lot of Irish boxing fans that live there.
Santa Cruz is from Southern California like Ruiz. Listening to the cheering for Frampton during the fight, it sounded like he was the home fighter despite the fact that Santa Cruz was the American. As far as Joshua is concerned, there was no disadvantage in him fighting in the U.S against Ruiz last week, because he had the crowd on his side. With that said, Joshua would likely have a bigger advantage if he moves the rematch with Ruiz to the UK, because then the referee would likely be British, and the pro-Joshua crowd would be a lot bigger.
The crowd would be important for Joshua, but perhaps not as much as the referee. As we’ve seen in some of Joshua’s past fights in the UK, the referee sometimes halts the fight prematurely when AJ is unloading shots on his opponents. Joshua’s fight against former WBO champion Joseph Parker is another example of how a referee can have an impact on a fight. The referee that worked the Joshua-Parker fight prevented inside fighting. So when Parker tried to stand in front of Joshua to throw punches, he was separated.
It’s easy to see what a referee like that could have changed the outcome of the Joshua vs. Ruiz fight last Saturday. Instead of Ruiz being able to attack the 6’6″ Joshua with shots, he might have been pulled away by the referee, and the action reset at center ring with both fighters far apart. We saw that many times in the Joshua vs. Parker fight. Since Joshua has the longer reach, he would have a big advantage over Ruiz.
If the shorter 6’2″ Ruiz goes to the UK, and has to deal with a similar type of referee for the Joshua rematch, his chances of winning would be nonexistent. Hopefully there would be a better referee working the Joshua vs. Ruiz rematch than the one that worked the Joshua-Parker fight, but you never know. When a fighter is forced to travel to his opponent’s neck of the woods, anything is possible. The positive thing that Ruiz has going for him is he’ll likely take the judges out of play by him knocking Joshua out again. The referee is the real wildcard here. If Joshua is able to fight on the outside due to the referee pulling Ruiz away from him all night long, then AJ will have an easy win.
Hearn: Joshua will be more motivated for rematch
“There was no problem in the [Joshua] camp. The camp went well,” said Hearn. “Was he [Joshua] motivated in the fight? I’d have to say yes. Was he as motivated in that fight as he’s been in others? Maybe not. Will he be more motivated in the rematch? Hell yeah. As soon as the desire goes, it becomes really tough. I think this is what he needed to bring that desire back. This rematch will be a true test of his character,” said Hearn about Joshua.
Joshua might not have been as motivated as he needed to be for the Ruiz fight, but that’s not excuse for him losing. The way that Ruiz Jr. won the fight by giving Joshua a sustained beating from the third round on, a lack of motivation on AJ’s part had nothing to do with the outcome of the fight. Joshua was dominated by a better fighter. It doesn’t matter if Joshua is more motivated for the rematch, he’s still going to have a chin and stamina problems. Those issues will be there for Joshua no matter how motivated he is. Likewise, Joshua isn’t going to suddenly develop hand speed greater than Ruiz’s just because he’s motivated. These things are set in stone. If this a wrestling match, Joshua might be able to show a little more energy if he worked on his cardio, but he would still have problems.
Hearn reacts to Deontay Wilder’s comments about Joshua
“Why do you think [Deontay] Wilder’s stock has risen so much in the last year and a half?” said Hearn. “For one, he’s an entertaining fighter, and a good fighter. #2, he’s used Anthony Joshua’s name as hard as he can. All these heavyweights are making all this money, because of what Anthony Joshua has done in the last two or three years. He’s taken the game to another level. Do you really think if [Luis] Ortiz knocked out Wilder, AJ would come out on social media and say, ‘Wilder your this, your that.’? He would just say, ‘I hope you come back from this, and blessings to you.’ But everyone is different. Some people thrive on other people’s failure. Some people are happy when other’s don’t succeed,” said Hearn.
It doesn’t look like Ruiz Jr. is going to get the $50 million for the rematch. As far as the rematch taking place in the U.S or Mexico, that’s not happening either. Hearn says he wants the Joshua vs. Ruiz 2 fight to take place in the UK, because he feels it’ll give AJ an “advantage”. With that said, Hearn isn’t certain that Joshua would be at a disadvantage if he fights Ruiz again in New York. After all the crowd was virtually all Joshua fans last Saturday night. A huge storm of British boxing fans flew over to the UK to see Joshua fight. Ruiz’s fans are in California. The audience was filled with Joshua’s fans, who had their flags, and were singing songs throughout the fight.