Barry Hearn NOT convinced Joshua beats Ruiz in rematch

By Boxing News - 10/29/2019 - Comments

By Kenneth Friedman: Matchroom promoter Barry Hearn is hopeful by NOT 100 percent convinced that Anthony Joshua will beat Andy Ruiz Jr. in their rematch on December 7th. However, Joshua will still have a massive amount of options even if he does get beaten again by Ruiz.

Unfortunately, one of the options that Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) will have is to retire from boxing, says Hearn. He doesn’t expect Joshua to do that because he believes that a good long break from the sport will help him regroup, and come back stronger for a fight against Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury.

The reason Hearn isn’t sure that Joshua, 29, will win the rematch with Ruiz is because he was so convinced the first time, and he turned out to be wrong. Hearn says he had 100% belief Joshua would win, but everything fell apart when he walked into a big shot from Ruiz in the 3rd round.

Joshua has a chance for redemption

“It was a standard defense that turned out to be anything but,” said Barry Hearn to IFL TV about Joshua’s loss to Ruiz last June. “Now we have one of the biggest fights in a long time. It’s a colossal fight. Ruiz changed his life in one night, which is what boxing can do for you. He has a chance to cement that, and Joshua has a chance for redemption, and a chance to go on like a lot of great fighters have gone on like Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson after a major setback, to show that they have the major character and ability to bounce back. On several different levels, it’s a fascinating night,” said Hearn.

Barry points out that it’s not ideal for Joshua to face the 30-year-old Ruiz just five months after their previous fight on June 1, but they had no choice due to the rematch clause. They had to exercise the rematch at a certain time. Had they not done that, Ruiz would have gotten a much bigger cut of the revenue than what was laid out in the terms of the rematch clause. Joshua is taking the rematch sooner than he probably should be, but he’s going to make a lot of money.

Hearn NOT convinced Joshua defeats Ruiz in rematch

“I’m not 100 percent convinced [Joshua will win rematch], because I was 100% convinced last time, and I got it wrong,” said Hearn. “I knew Ruiz could fight. I’d seen enough of him, and knew enough of him to say that he was going to be better than he looked. It’s quite unusual for a rematch to happen so quickly, but contractually there was no way out if we wanted to exercise the option. Sometimes a fighter wants to bounce back, and says ‘I made some basic errors that I want to put right.’ But the fact of the matter is in any sport, if you know the outcome, it’s less of a sporting event.

“Complacency is a killer, and I’m not saying Joshua was complacent. I think Joshua went out to look fantastic, and walked onto one. His plans went out the window. That’s all finished now. We can’t change the past. He has an opportunity now to go out and box. I can’t say 100 percent that Joshua wins again, because boxing is never 100 percent anyway,” said Hearn.

How can anyone be certain that Joshua will win the rematch, because he was dominated in every round of the fight. You can blame it on Joshua’s poor preparation for Ruiz’s fighting style. On the flip-side, you can say also say that Joshua doesn’t have the chin or the stamina to beat Andy.

Joshua has a lot of options win or lose

“This fight, because of what happened last time, poses a lot of questions in regrouping, refocusing, trying to figure out what went wrong, and working out a way to get it right this time,” said Hearn. “There’s a lot of things to do,” said Hearn when asked what Joshua can do if he loses the rematch. “He can retire. You try to look at a crystal ball. If it doesn’t go well for him, a sensible long break, and come back in a massive fight, because Joshua is massive and commercially he’s a huge draw. Him against Wilder or Fury would still be a massive fight. Him against almost anyone after a decent absence.

“I think the more interesting one is what does he do if he wins? That opens up a whole can of worms, because all of a sudden you’ve got new friends, new territories. There’s an awful lot of opportunities for him. The question would only come and the answer would only come from Joshua. What happens? That answer isn’t going to happen now. My feelings is he’ll box on after a break, and learn because he’s still had a relatively short professional career in the bigger picture. He’s had 22 fights or whatever, but there’s time,” said Hearn.

Joshua’s popularity will enable him to do a lot of things win or lose. If Joshua gets beaten, he can take some confidence boosters against these fighters:

  • Dillian Whyte
  • Oleksandr Usyk
  • Dereck Chisora
  • Tyson Fury
  • Kubrat Pulev
  • Adam Kownacki

If Joshua beats Ruiz, then a fight against the winner of the Deontay Wilder vs. Fury rematch will be in order.

Hearn: Plan-A for Joshua is to beat Ruiz by shutout

“The interesting thing for me is Plan-B is always there, but Plan-A is the plan we’re going for,” said Hearn. “Plan-A is to win the fight almost as a shutout to win the fight, because I think technically he has the ability to do exactly that. And maybe not the quick finish that he was looking for to look so explosive on the wake of Deontay Wilder’s big win against [Dominic] Breazeale. I think it was his [Joshua] first time in New York. ‘Got to look great. See the man down. Got to finish the job,’ and walked onto one. End of story.

“That’s the history of the fight. Now he has a chance to refocus, regroup and do the job properly. And doing the job against a Mexican, and a tough fighter as Andy Ruiz is, means you’ve got to beat him up over a period of time, and finish him at the appropriate time. It sounds easy for where we sit, but if he should do that, he becomes an even bigger sports personality than he was before the first fight. That’s the most likely outcome in my mind, but I don’t believe it’s 100 percent certain,” said Hearn.

Can Joshua shutout Ruiz?

A shutout win for Joshua over Ruiz is more than he can hope for. Hearn needs to have his feet on the ground, and look at the Joshua-Ruiz fight in a realistic way. Joshua isn’t good enough to shutout Ruiz, and he might not be good enough to beat him period. Joshua had it easy during most of his career with the way Eddie Hearn was matching him. Early on, it was clear that Joshua would lose sooner or later.

Joshua’s close calls against Dillian Whyte and Wladimir Klitschko were a red flag that he lacked the talent to stay undefeated for long. Likewise, Joshua’s performances in the 2012 Olympics showed his flaws.

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