Andy Ruiz is the PERFECT heavyweight, he’s a BAD boy – Virgil Hunter
By Barry Holbrook: Anthony Joshua showed too many flaws in his last fight against Andy Ruiz Jr. for him to fix all of them in one training camp, according to trainer Virgil Hunter. It was Joshua’s idea to go straight into the rematch with Ruiz rather than put it off for a year, and that makes it tough for him to make all the improvements that he needs to.
He still thinks former IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) can possibly win next Saturday in his rematch with Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs), but it’s not going to be easy.
Hunter thinks that Joshua will need to keep the 6’2″ Ruiz on the outside using his jab, and use movement to prevent him from getting to him. Nevertheless, Hunter views Ruiz as a bad style match-up for Joshua, and he thinks his game will need to cover a lot of different areas for him to win.
One camp can’t correct ALL Joshua’s problems – Hunter
“If Joshua doesn’t make the right adjustments, and they don’t have the right game plan, I can see the same thing happening,” said Hunter to Fighthub. “The way that fight went down, Ruiz is bad for Joshua from A to Z. And somewhere between P, Q, R, Joshua is going to have to have some answers.
“His game plan is going to have to be in place right now. He should have the right people in camp, and he should have had a lot of situational sparring.
“There’s a lot of things that happened in that fight where I don’t think one camp can correct, and if Ruiz is in shape, and if he’s motivated, Ruiz is a bad boy. To me, he’s [Ruiz] the perfect heavyweight at 6’1″, 6’2″, hand speed, and a volume puncher. His style is not good for Joshua,” said Hunter.
Ruiz is the perfect heavyweight to beat a guy like Joshua, but maybe not the idea fighter to defeat a huge puncher like Deontay Wilder. Andy was able to take Joshua’s power, but he might have more problems taking shots from Wilder for 12 rounds.
The adjustments that Joshua will use against Ruiz will involve jabbing, moving and using a lot of clinching. It’s believed that Joshua’s trainer Rob McCracken has studied Ruiz’s fight with Joseph Parker from 2016, and he’ll try and have AJ follow that as his blueprint.
Joshua must keep Ruiz at the end of his jab
“I think Joshua is going to have to find a way to keep him at the end of his punch, and hurt him early and make him respect him, and be ready for those assaults,”said Hunter. “He’s going to have to be ready. Right now, I could see it going the same way if Joshua doesn’t change a lot of things.
“If you can keep Andy at the end of the punch, keep him guessing, and hurt him early. He’s going to be in any fight he’s in. You’re not going to be able to walk over Andy Ruiz. You’re going to have to prove it to him. He’s not an easy guy to fight because of his skill level,” said Hunter.
It’s going to be hard for Joshua to keep Ruiz at the end of his jab, because he’s too big to prevent him from walking through those shots. A smaller fighter might be knocked backwards by Joshua’s jabs, but not the 260+ lbs Ruiz. He’ll walk through them, get in close, and nail Joshua with combinations.
Hunter talks about Joshua needing to make Ruiz respect him, but it’s unlikely to happen. In Ruiz’s only career loss against Parker, he never respected him, and was constantly coming forward.
Ruiz could give Wilder problems
“If he understands how to fight Wilder, and can get to Wilder early, he can cause him problems,” Hunter said in talking about Ruiz vs. Deontay Wilder. “But at the back of his mind, you’re always wonder, ‘when is his eraser going to come?’ So that can change a fighter’s mindset, knowing that when you get in the ring, ‘this guy can put my lights out with one shot.’ It always stays with you at the back of your mind,” said Hunter.
Ruiz could beat Wilder if he gets to him in the first six or seven rounds, but if he doesn’t do it by then, his chances of willing drop. Wilder will eventually land one of his big right hands, and that’ll be it.
Tyson Fury has bad habits outside the ring
“The verdict is still out on Tyson Fury,” said Hunter. “I hear he has a lot of bad habits outside the ring, and that can definitely take a toll on you. The [Otto] Wallin fight was very interesting, and I think he really struggled with Wallin. And I think he really struggled before the cut even happened.
“I don’t know if he would have figured him out before the middle rounds or before the cut came. But his body language to me wasn’t one of one taking charge of the fight right away, and as his dad said, he’s overtraining a lot. He’s training everyday to keep his mind in the state of sanity, and that can be hard on the body.
“His dad thinks he came in light, and he had to listen to his dad. Ben Davison agreed with his dad and said that he came in light, and he’s got to find a way to slow him down. But again, what I hear, whether it’s true or not, his lifestyle outside of the ring is not conducive for a long career. But with his size, and his boxing ability, he’s a winner. You have to give him the edge in the fight,” said Hunter.
It used to be that Fury would reward himself with food in between fights, and balloon up in weight. He stopped doing that after he made his comeback in 2018. More than anything, Fury’s chin will need to be able to handle the power from Deontay Wilder’s shots in their rematch on February 22. Overtraining won’t be the issue that keeps Fury from beating Wilder.
Briggs: Anthony Joshua has a lot to prove
“Joshua got a lot to prove,” said former WBO heavyweight champion Shannon Briggs to Fighthub. “He’s got to prove that he’s not a fluke, and that he’s not a guy that Eddie Hearn built up. That he’s the champ, the true champion. He’s got to show now, and put those things together.
“Yeah, he can take a punch, but he’s going to have to put it all together, and go out there and chop this man up now. Joshua has got to jab, get on his toes, and he got to keep moving. He’s got to keep a long jab in his face, and move side to side.
“He’s got to move his head, and move his legs for 24 rounds. And he’s got to be prepared to jab for 24 rounds, and he’s got to steal the rounds. He’s got to be like Ray Leonard when he fought [Marvin] Hagler. Andy, do what you did in the first fight. Move the head, let your hands go, and move side to side.
“Use fast combinations, break him down, cut off the ring, hard shots to the hip, break his body down. When he can’t move, slowing him down the body, come over the top. It has the making of the Thrilla in Manilla. This is going to be the biggest fight in heavyweight history,” said Briggs.
Most boxing fans feel that Joshua has a lot to prove against Ruiz, and whether he can do that will depend on what game plan he has. It will also depend on his stamina and chin. He gassed out last time he fought, and he was hurt in the 3rd. Some believe Joshua never recovered from being hurt, but it looked more like he never got his second wind.