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Stephen A. Smith trashes Andy Ruiz Jr. after his TKO win over Anthony Joshua

Anthony Joshua Andy Ruiz Jr Eddie Hearn Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr

By Aragon Garcia: Stephen A. Smith of ESPN lashed out at Andy Ruiz Jr. (33-1, 22 KOs) in comparing him to Butterbean after his sensational seventh round knockout of the highly popular Anthony Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) last Saturday night in front of a sold out Madison Square Garden in New York.

Smith was shocked at Ruiz’s upset of the popular IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Joshua. Smith said Joshua looked more fatigued than he was hurt at the time the fight wast stopped. It looked to this writer like Ruiz’s blazing fast hand speed was what tired Joshua. He was getting hit with shots that had punch punch drunk by the third round. Joshua never stood a chance once he hit the deck twice in the third round.

Ruiz looked like a superstar in the making in knocking Joshua down four times in the fight before the referee called a halt to the contest in the seventh round.

For fans who don’t know who ‘Butterbean’ is, he’s a former professional boxer named Eric Esch (77-10-4, 58 KOs), who was known for being heavy. He normally weighed in the 300+ pound region, although towards the end of his career, he scaled over 400+ pounds in three of his fights. He was known for being a four-round fighter with huge punching power. His weight was too high for him to be fighter that could compete in longer matches. Ruiz is nowhere near as heavy as Butterbean, and he’s a lot faster than him.

It looks like Stephen A. Smith was having a hard time coming to terms with the new kid on the block Ruiz. This is a fighter that should already be a world champion if not for the controversial scoring in his fight with Joseph Parker. Ruiz fought well enough to deserve a lopsided decision win in that fight, but the judges scored it for Parker by a 12 round majority decision in a fight that took place in his original homeland of New Zealand. Boxing News 24 scored it for Ruiz by a 118-110 score. It wasn’t close. If not for that fight, Ruiz would have come into the fight with Joshua last night as the WBO champion.

“I’m sick over this. For myself! For fight fans. And especially for Deontay Wilder — who should’ve been the one administering this TKO,” said Stephen A in still complaining about Ruiz’s victory over Joshua. “I’m so freakin disgusted right now! I watched the fight 3x. Look, Ruiz is good. Solid boxer. Fast hands. But everyone’s missing the point: THE FIGHT we were all waiting for — Wilder vs. Joshua — is officially ruined. No one with sense believes Joshua has a chance vs him now, even if he goes back and beats Ruiz.” said Smith.

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Joshua doesn’t have a “glass jaw” as Stephen A. says he does. It’s just that Ruiz punches so hard with such incredible speed, Joshua couldn’t handle his game. Joshua went for the kill in the third round after he knocked Ruiz down, and made the mistake of leaving himself open for a left hook counter. Joshua never recovered from that blow. Joshua thought Ruiz was more hurt than he was.

I could see that Ruiz wasn’t hurt. It was a flash knockdown. He was hit with a shot that he didn’t see when he was coming forward, and it knocked him down. Ruiz was NOT hurt, but Joshua thought he was. He left himself open when he attacked Ruiz in an all out attempt to stop him.

“He’s got a glass jaw. That is the point. Mega fight = Ruined. That is my damn point, ppl. Wake up!” said Smith.

Joshua and Wilder can eventually face each other

It’s not the end of the world for the many boxing fans that were looking forward to seeing Joshua face Wilder in a unification fight. The two of them can still face each other, but it just won’t be a unification fight. There will still be interest from the fans in a fight between Joshua facing WBC champion Wilder. The only difference is Joshua will likely be the challenger possibly coming off of consecutive defeats at the hands of Ruiz, and Wilder the defending champion.

If Joshua is ready to gamble with his career, he’ll fight Ruiz in a rematch later this year in October or November. That probably wouldn’t be the wisest move for him to make, but if he wants to gamble everything, he’ll make that fight. There will be a lot riding on it, of course. This would be for everything. Joshua can’t take a second loss to Ruiz Jr. and remain as one of the leaders in the heavyweight division obviously.

“I thought the odds were ridiculous,” said trainer Eddie Hearn after the fight in talking about the 25 to 1 odds Joshua was favored by against Ruiz. “Joshua hit him with a combination. I thought it was over. They were going to stop it. Nine times out of ten, it might have been. He got caught with a shot. The difference with Ruiz is there’s not a lot of heavyweights that would have did what he did in that situation, which was to go, ‘okay, we’re going to have a swing up here.”

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Any heavyweight in the division would have done what Ruiz did in the third round if they were knocked down with a flash knockdown. Against a popular fighter like Joshua, you cannot afford to go to the ropes and just cover up after you’ve been knocked down by him.

Even if you’re hurt, you can’t go to the ropes against Joshua. What’s happened in the past is when a fighter gets knocked down by Joshua, they got to the ropes and cover up. Joshua then comes forward and throws a flurry of shots, and the referee stops the fight. It doesn’t matter that Joshua often is just hitting arms or missing entirely.

The referees stop the fight just based on Joshua throwing a flurry of punches against an opponent that is just covering up. That’s what it was smart that Ruiz fought back after he was knocked down in the third. Had he gone to the ropes and just covered up, we may have seen one of those premature stoppages that Joshua has been involved with in the past.

“If I’m going to get knocked out, I’m going to go out swinging.’ A lot of heavyweights would have just backed up along the ropes, and that was actually AJ’s problem in the seventh round,” said Hearn. “That’s why he got stopped. I think he thought to himself, ‘I don’t have much in the tank, so I need to have a go.’ So he stood his ground, and started trading up and got caught again and that was it,” said Hearn.

Joshua thought he could still KO Ruiz by the seventh

Hearn says Joshua started trading with Ruiz in the seventh round because he didn’t have much left in the tank, so he decided to go all out. That’s not what happened. Joshua looked like he thought he was still capable of knocking Ruiz out, because he had put him down in the third round. Joshua figured that if he knocked him down once, he’d be able to do it a second time if he could land cleanly. Joshua did land a good shot in the seventh to the head of Ruiz.

However, Ruiz responded by going on the attack in throwing combinations that hurt Joshua, and put him down. Once Joshua was down, Ruiz chose to get rid of him when he got back up. It didn’t take much effort from Ruiz to knock Joshua down for the for the fourth and final time in the seventh.

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“It’s quite difficult to jump back in the ring after nine months,” said Hearn about Joshua being out of the ring for nine months since his last fight against Alexander Povetkin last September. “He was supposed to fight in April. It was a new environment [the United States]. I think there may be a bit of relief that the pressure is gone now, and I think he will come back stronger, because part of him may say, ‘I’m a challenger again.’ I think the pressure is always on him,” said Hearn.

Hearn sounds like he’s making excuses for Joshua by blaming his loss on him being out of the ring for nine months, and being in a new environment in fighting in the U.S. Let’s face it; Joshua would have lost to Ruiz last Saturday night eve if the fight had taken place in London, England at Wembley Stadium in front of 90,000 pro-Joshua fans. Ruiz wasn’t going to be denied last Saturday, and Joshua couldn’t handle his speed or his power. Ruiz’s pedigree was too much for Joshua to handle in the fight, so he came apart each time Ruiz would throw combinations.

“He spit his gum-shield on the canvas to probably get a little more time or he didn’t know where he was,” said Hearn. “He could barely stand up. He was looking at the ref. He didn’t say, ‘I don’t want to continue.’ The ref said, ‘Are you OK?’ and he kind of said, ‘yes, I’m OK,’ but the fight was done. When the ref said, ‘No,’ he said, ‘wait, I’m alright.’ He didn’t know where he was. The third round was one of the maddest I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t believe it. 20 more seconds in that round, and it’s over,” said Hearn.

Joshua wasn’t OK after the second knockdown in round seven. He knows more than anyone that he was done for the night.

“He knew he was a threat. He said, ‘it’s risky fighting Andy Ruiz Jr. I’d rather fight Deontay Wilder.’ Andy Ruiz has probably got a better boxing IQ than AJ, because of his experience, because of his amateur experience,” said Hearn. “He had 105 amateur fights. He won 100 of them. He’s a seasoned fighter. Joshua’s not a seasoned fighter. When it goes wrong, it’s hard to recover,” said Hearn.

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