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Joshua could fight Ruiz a third time – Hearn

Image: Joshua could fight Ruiz a third time - Hearn

By Jeff Aronow: Eddie Hearn is hinting at a possible trilogy fight between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr. in the future. Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) will soon run out of opponents that Hearn is willing to match him against, and Ruiz (33-2, 22 KOs) will be an appealing option for AJ. Ruiz’s popularity makes him an appealing option for Hearn to put back in with Joshua.

Joshua and Ruiz are knotted at 1-1, and they need a trilogy fight to show who the better fighter is between the two. Ruiz, 30, knocked Joshua out in their first fight in June 2019 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The poor condition that Ruiz came in for the rematch with Joshua last December prevented the British heavyweight from getting the credit that he otherwise would have received if he’d been in shape.

Joshua is still scheduled to defend against Kubrat Pulev on June 20, but that fight is up in the air at the moment. With all the fights that Joshua has coming up, the soonest he can get to a trilogy match with Ruiz is in the second half of 2021

Image: Joshua could fight Ruiz a third time - Hearn

Andy had too many obligations going into rematch

I think a fight back at MSG is great to put the demons aside,” said Hearn to Fighthub on Joshua. “Saudi don’t want him to go. They want him to fight every fight out there. Not at the moment,” said Hearn when asked about a third fight between Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr.

“He will fight everybody, and that probably includes a third fight with Ruiz at some point if he keeps winning or if he’s still around. Who knows what Ruiz is going to do? He’s made a lot of money. Maybe he sails off into the sunset.

“It’s not just the partying, it’s the traveling, talk shows, party, media, game show, Jimmy Kimmel, and that drains you,” said Hearn in talking about why Ruiz failed to perform in the rematch with Joshua. “That’s one of the things that AJ did wrong. He did too much of that. It’s like an obligation of being a champion,” said Hearn.

Ruiz was all over the place giving interviews, partying and traveling in the build-up to his rematch with Joshua. All that extracurricular activities prevented Ruiz from training the way he needed to for him to properly defend his title against Joshua. It’s good that Hearn realizes why Ruiz failed to get in the shape he needed to.

Ruiz Jr. wouldn’t have been criticized about weight if he’d won

“I don’t think Ruiz partied while training at all,” said Hearn. “In fact, what he should have done is what AJ did. AJ had loads of excuses for June 1. He never mentioned one of them, right? But Ruiz said, ‘I did this, I did that.’ What he should have said is, ‘I got beat by the better man. I’ll be back. Congratulations.’ But when you sort of say, they weren’t excuses where you felt sorry for him, that say, ‘you f**** up.’

“It’s not that he came in 10 lbs heavier, it’s that Joshua boxed a different fight. At the open workout on Wednesday, everybody, including me I have to say, looked at Ruiz and said, ‘F— me, he looks so fast and so dangerous.’ On the night, AJ schools him and everyone says, ‘He was out of shape.’

“If AJ traded in that fight and got knocked out, no one would have mentioned it. They would have said, ‘Andy Ruiz is a killer,’ but it was the game plan. It was a guy [Joshua] that dedicated himself to that fight for six months vs. a guy that dedicated himself for that fight for eight weeks. He’s always knocked people out,” said Hearn about Joshua.

Hearn is correct once again about his view on Ruiz’s weight. The only reason boxing fans said anything about Ruiz’s size is the fact that he lost. Had he knocked Joshua out again, people would have been complimenting Ruiz for packing on extra weight. Unfortunately for Ruiz, he failed to win, and the fans looked at his weight and saw that as the rationale for why he lost.

Image: Joshua could fight Ruiz a third time - Hearn

Joshua was worried about boring fans

“The only time he boxed similar to that was Parker,” said Hearn. “It was the same sort of thing. A smaller guy, faster guy, so you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. Every other fight was thrilling,” said Hearn about Joshua using a Klitschko-esque style for his rematch with Ruiz Jr. and his fight against Joseph Parker. So it’s not like he fights one way and he’s really boring.

“He just said, ‘I have to win this fight. I think what he showed was a lot of things that people didn’t think he could do. And I thought his footwork was amazing. I thought his jab was fantastic, and I thought his engine was great. He could have done another 15 rounds, do you know what I mean?” said Hearn.

Joshua used the same fighting style that he had for the Joseph Parker fight, and it worked against Ruiz. It looked like Joshua copied Wladimir Klitschko’s old fighting style, which he learned partially from his late trainer Emanuel Steward

Joshua made improvements for Ruiz rematch

“All these things, ‘He’s got no gas tank, his footwork is terrible, and he’s got no defense.’ He worked really hard in that camp,” Hearn said of Joshua. “He became a student of the game again. He worked on his footwork, he worked on his defense, he worked on his jab. And he worked on all these things, and they all came together for what was really a faultless performance.

“I said to him in the ring after. ‘It was a little bit boring though.’ ‘F*** that. Are you mad? Look at your face.’ I said, ‘All that money you made. You got hit four times in the whole fight. Most of them were around the back of the head. So sometimes you’ve got to be a little bit smart. These people sitting at home on the couch, I know they’re paying their money, but they’re not paying your medical bills, you know? So sometimes you’ve got to do things that are needed.’

There was so much pressure to win that fight. So much pressure. That’s why you saw me jumping around the ring like a Jack-in-the-box,” said Hearn.

Joshua changed his fighting style, but you can’t say he made improvements in terms of being more exciting. He wasn’t more exciting than he was in the first fight with Ruiz. Joshua made the improvements needed for him to win, but not to entertain.

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