Wilder doubts Joshua will take Ruiz Jr. rematch
By Tim Royner: Deontay Wilder doubts Anthony Joshua will take the risk of facing Andy Ruiz Jr. in a rematch in the next seven months to try and avenge his loss from last Saturday night. WBC heavyweight champion Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) says he’d like to see former IBF/WBA/WBO champion Joshua (22-1, 21 Kos) show him that he’s wrong, but he sees him as too “mentally weak” to take the rematch with Ruiz. Wilder thinks Joshua doesn’t want it anymore.
Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs) came into the fight with with Joshua as a 25 to 1 underdog, and he shocked the boxing world by dropping him 4 times en route to stopping him in round 7 last Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The victory for the 29-year-old Ruiz sets him as the new IBF/WBA/WBO champion, and puts him in position for potentially lucrative fights against Wilder, Tyson Fury, and of course, a rematch with Joshua if proves to take it. The world is Ruiz’s now. He’s in a great position to make big money, and accomplish a lot with his career.
Wilder says he doesn’t care that Joshua’s loss to Ruiz has hurt him too. He feels he’s setup with his own situation, and he’ll be fine regardless of what’s happened to Joshua.
“I don’t think he’s mentally strong. He’s not built for that. I don’t see him taking the rematch,” said Wilder to Thaboxingvoice in talking about his belief that Joshua WON’T take the rematch with Ruiz Jr. “I think he’s got seven months to take the rematch. He’s got until December. I don’t think he wants to take it no more. He’s mentally weak…when I read that he [Joshua] had that [a sports psychologist] that was red flags right there.”
“The pressure was building up on him, you know? If Joshua don’t respond [take the rematch], I’m sure Andy is going to fight a voluntary fight. I don’t think he’s going to try and fight me as soon as possible. I think he’ll probably take a voluntary, and then after that, who knows what will happen?” said Wilder.
AJ with a big decision to make
Joshua still hasn’t officially committed to the rematch with Ruiz Jr. That’s a big hint that he’s not going to take the risk of facing Ruiz immediately. It rarely works out well for fighters that take immediate rematches with fighters that dominate them. It works better for fighters to get a number of fights under their belt before they take a rematch when they’ve been beaten as badly as Joshua was. What works against Joshua taking the safe approach to the Ruiz rematch is his promoter Eddie Hearn, who is a gambler.
Hearn likes to gamble in making risky fights. If Hearn encourages Joshua to take the rematch with Ruiz right away, then we’ll likely see those two face each other in November. It could be the end of Joshua’s career if he loses to Ruiz by another fast knockout. If Joshua is smart, he’ll think for himself, and tell Hearn that he wants to slowly build his way back before fighting Ruiz again. Joshua needs improvements in his game before he fights Ruiz a second time. There’s not a lot that Joshua needs to do for him to raise his game to beat Ruiz, but he’s to fight fight more intelligently.
Here are some things Joshua can do to be better prepared for the rematch with Ruiz:
– Trim down his muscles
– Work on cardio
– Take several tune-ups
– Learn how to keep the action at range
– Clinch more to keep Ruiz from getting close
– Fight like Wladimir Klitschko
– Make sure rematch with Ruiz is in UK
“I think it was multiple things,” said Wilder in discussing what went wrong for Joshua against Ruiz. “First off, Ruiz is a good boxer. He’s got good hand speed, and he tries to counter punch. Joshua is not the fastest for the smoothest. He’s right there to be punched. Ruiz’s style was perfect for Joshua. Like he [Ruiz] said, he was studying him. Out of the three top guys, he [Joshua] was the one that he wanted, because he felt his style was made for him, and he proved it to everybody. There was a lot of pressure on Joshua, especially with me starting off [in knocking out Dominic Breazeale in the first round on May 18]. I set the bar high. I was going to be a hard act to follow,” said Wilder.
Ruiz had an advantage against Joshua in that he’d recently defeated 6’7″ Alexander Dimitrenko in his previous fight on April 20th. That fight prepared Ruiz well to deal with the 6’6″ Joshua’s height and reach. Ruiz had just fought Dimitrenko, and was coming off of a training camp. Ruiz was well prepared for the fight. In contrast, Joshua had been out of action for nine months since his victory over Alexander Povetkin last September. He had been hurt in the Povetkin fight. Further, Joshua had pressure on him to try and knockout Ruiz quickly in order to match what Wilder had done in stopping Dominic Breazeale in the first round on May 18.
Joshua isn’t normally a guy that goes after his opponents quickly to knock them out. He’s more of a methodical type of fighter, who slowly breaks them down over a period of rounds. One reason that Joshua fights like that is because of his stamina problems. He can’t empty his gas tank in the same way that Wilder does, because he doesn’t recover quickly in between rounds the way he does. Joshua stays tired for several rounds before he comes back and gets his second wind.
If Joshua does take the immediate rematch with Ruiz this year, it’ll be a huge event in the UK. The fight might sellout Wembley Stadium, and it’ll bring in a lot of pay-per-view buys on Sky Box Office. To make the most money, Joshua should make the rematch with Ruiz in 2019. It’ll be risky though, and he could be pouring his career down the drain in the process. If Joshua loses to Ruiz a second time, where does he go from there? Joshua will be seen as damaged goods by boxing fans.