By Dean Berman: The excuses Andy Ruiz Jr. gave after his defeat to Anthony Joshua in their rematch last Saturday failed to please AJ’s promoter Eddie Hearn. Instead of taking the high road and giving Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) proper credit for his win in Saudi Arabia, Ruiz Jr. (33-2, 22 KOs) blamed the defeat on his weight problems, and his poor training camp.
Joshua practically whitewashed Ruiz in beating him by a 12 round unanimous decision by the scores 119-109, 118-110, 118-110 last Saturday.
Andy might not have understood at the time when he was making his excuses, but the overall perception was that his loss was because of him rather than what Joshua had one inside the ring.
Hearn wanted Ruiz to tell the boxing world what a great fighter Joshua was, and how he’s the ‘King’ of the heavyweight division and the ‘Guvnor.’ Joshua needed that from Ruiz, but he didn’t do that.
Hearn states that when Joshua lost to Ruiz last June at Madison Square Garden in New York, AJ gave him credit for the win, and congratulated him and saying he was the ‘better man’ on the night. In other words, Joshua showed good sportsmanship in giving Ruiz credit.
Hearn felt Ruiz should have given Joshua credit for win
“I didn’t like it because there we so many excuses we could have given you for June 1, and we still won’t say now,” said Hearn to IFL TV in response to Ruiz’s complaint after his loss to Joshua that he didn’t train properly. “He [Joshua] wasn’t even there on June 1, like mentally, you know?
“It wasn’t about a shock revelation, but different things in the build up. Maybe a little bit about health [for Joshua], and not firing on all eight cylinders. When I talk about health, I’m talking about general endurance and training. Mindset is the main thing. That’s what he’s talking about.
“Not really,” said Hearn when asked if Joshua was motivated for the first Ruiz fight last June. “The reason is [Joshua wanted to fight Jarrell Miller] bad. When it all unfolded [Miller testing positive for PEDs], should we have got together and canceled this fight? Maybe, but at the time it was his U.S debut. But we were getting loads of stick at the time anyway for the Wilder negotiations. To pull out of the fight…
It doesn’t look good on Hearn’s part obviously for him to be mentioning Joshua’s health problems now after the fact from his defeat by Ruiz last June. Hearn should have kept quiet about Joshua’s problems for the first fight, and not chose to try and do damage control six months later.
It’s too late for Hearn to revisit that fight, and try and explain away what happened to him. Most boxing fans have already attributed Joshua’s loss to him being over-muscled, and using the wrong game plan in slugging with Andy.
Joshua’s boxing fans and sympathizers will buy into Hearn’s late excuse for why he lost to Ruiz, but many other people will see it as a pathetic attempt by Eddie to do damage control six months later.
Ruiz should have done his work to prepare – Hearn
“He [Ruiz] had 3 months off. It’s not as if he’s not allowed to go out and celebrate his win, but you’ve got to knuckle down as world champion and do your work,” said Hearn. “Andy Ruiz’s main problem over the years has been his discipline.
“I don’t like the fact that when we lost, AJ said, ‘Andy, no excuses, you’re the better man. on the night. You deserve your victory. Congratulations.’ Not, ‘Oh well, mentally wasn’t up for it, his training didn’t go right because of the break, it was a short notice opponent, he was hitting me on the back of my head.’ It was like, ‘Congratulations.’ So I feel that Ruiz should have said, ‘I learned some lessons. Maybe I should have been more disciplined, but I can’t take away the absolute masterclass from the guvnor Anthony Joshua.’ That’s what I would have liked for him to say,” said Hearn.
Ruiz certainly should have worked hard in training camp for the rematch with Joshua, because this was an opportunity that might not ever get again. For Ruiz to slack off at such a crucial stage in his career, it was an insane move.
Hearn would like to use Ruiz as an opponent for his Matchroom fighters
“Yeah, sure. I’d love to work with Andy,” said Hearn when asked if he wants to work with Ruiz again in the future. “That’s a great fight [Dillian Whyte vs. Ruiz], Usyk is a great fight, Hrgovic is a great fight, Hunter is a great fight, Povetkin is a great fight. He’s [Ruiz] is signed with PBC. It’s very unlikely he’s going to come and sign with me. He’s with Top Rank Promotions as well, but we’d love to have him on DAZN,” said Hearn.
An in shape Ruiz would likely beat the brakes off of Dillian Whyte, Michael Hunter and Alexander Povetkin. Filip Hrgovic would be a hard fight for Ruiz no matter what condition he comes in. Ruiz probably wouldn’t agree to fight any of those guys unless it had a guarantee of a trilogy fight attached to if ie he won.
For Hearn, it would be bad for him and his Matchroom Boxing stable of Ruiz beats one of his stable fighters. Hunter and Povetkin both looks less than stellar last Saturday in their co-feature bout on the Joshua vs Ruiz 2 card.
Hearn said he would be interested in matching Joshua against Ruiz in the future, but that may not happen. He says he’d like to see Ruiz fight some of his other heavyweights, and if he does that, he could lose. Another loss for Ruiz would make him unusable for a third fight with Joshua.
AJ had huge pressure on him to win
“Joshua is a mate, and I wanted him to win so badly,” said Hearn. “The pressure on him was massive,” said Hearn about Joshua. “You can’t imagine the pressure. It was huge. It’s not just his career was on the line, but let’s be honest, he was humiliated at Madison Square Garden.
“It was his American debut at MSG, and he went down 4 times. He got concussed, and with Ruiz, how he looks and everything. No other promoter would have chose Andy Ruiz. They would have gone with Trevor Bryan or Manuel Charr.
“Ruiz was a good opponent for Madison Square Garden, but if AJ had been switched on like he was last night, he would have beaten him the same way. Maybe even easier. The main challenge last night was coming off of a defeat. So if that was June 1, he would have done the same thing,” said Hearn.
There was pressure on Joshua to beat Ruiz in the rematch, but it career would have survived another loss. It’s interesting that Hearn has changed his tune and is now saying that Joshua’s career was on the line. In the build up to the fight, Hearn was saying that Joshua’s career would still go on even if he lost. Now he’s saying that he couldn’t afford to have lost.
PBC must have been sick watching Ruiz lose – Hearn
“You have to look at the politics of the PBC side and the Matchroom side, where if I’m PBC, they ended up getting a free shot at the world heavyweight title, and winning it against all odds,” said Hearn about Ruiz’s win over Joshua last June.
“Now all of a sudden, you’ve got 4 belts on one hand, and one belt on the other hand. There was a big power shift [towards Matchroom], and now it’s gone back, and they [PBC] would have been absolutely sick to their stomach last night just like I was sick to my stomach on June 1,” said Hearn.
Joshua now having three heavyweight titles to WBC champion Deontay Wilder’s one will make it harder than ever to put a unification fight together between them. Hearn believes that Joshua should be the A-side because he has more titles than Wilder, but that’s not how Deontay feels. He doesn’t care how many belts Joshua has. Deontay want a 50-50 split, period.
It couldn’t have made Premier Boxing Champions happy to see Ruiz lose his IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight titles so soon, and you have to wonder if they were checking on him during training camp. If not, they should have.