In what might be the most anticipated fight of the year, unified heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz will attempt to make his first successful title defense, while challenger Anthony Joshua aims to regain the titles and avenge what might be the greatest upset in boxing history. Our analysts predict the result of Saturday’s historic rematch.
Caryn Tate: Ruiz by KO/TKO
Unlike most mainstream boxing media, I thought Andy Ruiz Jr. had a shot to beat Anthony Joshua in their first fight in June. The outcome of the rematch largely depends on each man’s mindset coming in as well as the strengths & weaknesses of each fighter’s technique.
If Ruiz is as hungry as ever, I expect him to overcome a couple of shaky moments in the early rounds to cut the distance, get inside AJ’s lengthy reach, and utilize his superior hand speed to take Joshua down again. If Joshua has his mind right and if he and his team have corrected his significant technical mistakes made in the first bout, he could beat Ruiz if he jumps on him early. Ruiz carries the edge as the rounds progress–Joshua just doesn’t have the stamina needed to go rounds, at least not with a boxer with the speed and endurance of Ruiz. Plus, AJ seems like he could be mentally shaken and possibly focused on the wrong things in the interviews I’ve seen with him.
I suspect Ruiz takes the belts back home with him again on Saturday, beating Joshua by stoppage in the middle or late rounds.
Lachard Binkley: Joshua by Decision (116-112)
Coming into the the rematch between Joshua and Ruiz I think a couple of things are for sure. Joshua will not take Ruiz lightly the second time around and Ruiz did not win the first one on luck. After being knocked down by Joshua, Ruiz dominated the fight knocking Joshua down four times. There were plenty of theories why that happened. Joshua had a stye in eye and he was mentally unprepared. Coming into this fight and with his legacy on the line and a potential unifying fight with Wilder, I expect Joshua to come in prepared and take it to Ruiz early and try and knock him out. Ruiz is no push over so I don’t see this as an early round victory. I think this still goes the distance with Joshua winning on points eight rounds to four.
Hunter Warren: Ruiz by KO/TKO
I did not believe in Ruiz. I’ll admit it. I’m not trying to re-write the record. As the fight progressed, however, it became incredibly clear that Ruiz was the better man. He dominated the bout until the eventual knockout.
I’ve bought into the rhetoric surrounding Joshua’s mental fortitude and believe that, although he realizes his career is on the line here, he’ll struggle to stay mentally engaged. On top of that, the fact that Joshua lost his first fight outside of the UK and promoter Eddie Hearn didn’t bring this one to O2 to maximize Joshua’s comfort level sets off the “cash out fight” alarms in my head. Ruiz should be able to pick up where he left off, overwhelming Joshua with his speed and punch volume. No outcome would surprise me, but I predict it will go similarly to the first. Ruiz will pick Joshua apart en route to a KO or TKO in the mid-to-late rounds.
Paul Magno: Joshua by Unanimous Decision
Andy Ruiz will be walking into a lawless mess of an event put together by his opponent’s promoter in a weak-commission Saudi Arabia with house fighter-friendly ref and at least two dubious judges. He’ll also once again be facing an opponent in Anthony Joshua who holds so many physical advantages over him. Ruiz was always better than advertised–tough, tenacious, skilled, and quicker than he looks– and he fully displayed his best assets in upsetting Joshua back in June. This time, though, with such an uneven playing field and everything pulling towards returning the three championship belts to the money fighter, Joshua, another upset may be too much to ask. Ruiz will have his moments, but eventually fall under the weight of the stacked deck. I see Joshua taking a unanimous decision or, possibly, stopping Ruiz late in the fight.
Natasha: Ruiz by TKO (Round 10)
In the first fight between heavyweights Andy Ruiz Jr. and Anthony Joshua, the boxing media and fans quickly dismissed this match up as a placeholder fight for Joshua because Ruiz Jr. had replaced Joshua’s originally scheduled opponent, Jarrell Miller, after several failed drug tests. Not to mention, Joshua looks the part of a heavyweight boxing champion with his statuesque build and perfect abs while Ruiz, well…doesn’t.
Ruiz Jr. shocked the world in his off-the-canvas, TKO victory over Joshua and inspired many boxing fans to believe that perhaps Ruiz Jr. was the unicorn of the boxing world, with mythical powers hidden in every belly roll. Now that he has lost weight and looks to be in better shape than the last fight, fans are worried that he has lost these mythical powers and may lose to Joshua in the rematch. Here’s the deal – I trained at the Wildcard Boxing Club back in the day when Andy Ruiz Jr. was just starting out. I trained alongside Ruiz Jr. for years, as a matter of fact. And he has always been good. Really good. Even when he was much bigger, he had cat-like reflexes and quick feet.
He has always had sound technique and excellent ring smarts, and while there is no longer an element of surprise in this fight, as Joshua has undoubtedly studied some tape, I predict Ruiz Jr. will win again in their second match-up because of his sound boxing skills and ring smarts. Ruiz Jr. via TKO Round 10.
RL Woodson: Joshua by Decision
I will spare you all the details I’m struggling with, daily, to settle on my winner. History just isn’t really on Joshua’s side regarding a heavyweight regaining his title in an immediate rematch. However, the Brit is relatively young, and he’s not some aged former champion trying to fend off a younger, stronger lion. He’s also the betting favorite versus the more experienced “it’s what it is” Ruiz. I could be lame and say if it goes the distance, then it will be Joshua by decision. If there’s a stoppage, Ruiz retains his titles. However, I’ll play along here.
I feel bullied into going with Joshua in an NFL game-manager-QB-like performance. Expect the taller (and leaner) Joshua to stay outside working behind his jab, patiently attacking with heightened caution, and possibly looking to fully redeem himself late – so long as the coast inside is completely clear. The story won’t be all Joshua, as Ruiz’ pressure produces a few testy skirmishes to add a smidgen of drama. At any moment, matters could easily take a turn for the worst for Joshua in this makeshift neutral environment, but somehow he finds it in himself to eke out a victory.
Brian Potier: Ruiz by TKO (Round 11)
The first fight proved that Anthony Joshua was not as invincible as he was made out to be. Whether he was knocked out in sparring, took the fight too lightly, was waiting for the referee to put in his mouthpiece, or any other conspiracy (excuse) that was concocted, the truth of the matter is that Andy Ruiz beat him fair and square.
It will be interesting to see how a lighter and presumably faster Ruiz approaches the rematch, and even more interesting to see what kind of plan Joshua employs to change the outcome this time. Has Joshua recovered mentally from the defeat as well as the murmurings from the public of quitting? Has the rags-to-riches story that Ruiz penned for himself and his family spoiled him? I, admittedly, was not expecting Joshua to get stopped in the first fight but wholeheartedly believe that Ruiz must KO Joshua once again to defend his title. If he doesn’t, he loses. Ruiz TKO 11.
Our Team’s Prediction: Ruiz by KO/TKO
By a slight majority of 4-3, your Overtime Heroics boxing team predicts Ruiz by KO/TKO, with the minority believing Joshua will win a decision. Clearly it’s anybody’s fight, with a lot of uncertain factors that can influence the end result. Regardless, the bout promises to be just as if not more exciting than the first. The fight will appear on DAZN and the card starts at noon EST.
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