Press gathered at Capitale, a swank NYC joint, to check out the second stop on the Andy Ruiz-Anthony Joshua 2 press tour on Thursday.
Yesterday, the hitters and promoter Eddie Hearn were in Saudi Arabia and tomorrow they’re in Cali.
At the NYC event, Ruiz stayed the same, acting as the humble hitter whose appearance belies his status. The portly Mexican American acted like a confident pugilist, while the ex champ, we all wanted to guage his demeanor.
Would he seem like he was damaged goods?
Would he betray emotions which indicated he’d been having and might still have to deal with flashbacks to that June 1 night? It was in NYC, after all, that the mega underdog flipped the script, grabbed it, did a re-write, and offered us the upset of the year in boxing.
Hearn took the mic first; he was in promoter mode, of course. He said that he’s been in the sport for 30 years and now he understands that the winds of change have swept in to the fight game, and he can’t deny the flow. This sequel scrap will stand up and be counted, like the Rumble in the Jungle and also the Thrilla in Manila.
That remains to be seen, but for sure, there will be a strong degree of interest, even beyond that faithful hardcore, when on Dec. 9 the jumbo substitute turned underdog for the ages tries to go 2-0 versus the muscled but now diminished Brit.
And that Brit…what version of him did we see at Capitale?
Turns out, a humbled and humble guy, who sounded resolute. He has been fighting for 11 years, amateur and pro, and he’s lost a few times…and roared back. “I feel like stopping’s not in my DNA, to continue and as long as I have breff in me I’ll keep on fighting for the passion of boxing, more so to carry the sport as an ambassador and for an ambassador for championship level boxing….I’m born with a fighting spirit,” Anthony Joshua declared. Nope, he didn’t lose titles, because he intends to regain them. He’s not gun shy, he stated and said he didn’t want a confidence builder. He saw Shannon Briggs in the crowd, and asked for a “let’s go champ” call, to signify his ability to come back from a harsh come down, as Briggs has.
Andy Ruiz said he was happy to be back in NY, and recalled that it was here that his supreme triumph exploded on the spirts scene. He said his job now is keep the doubters at bay; those that think he will lose the rematch, that he is having too much fun as the champ, they will again be proven wrong. (Hearn was in fine form; he’s cheeky, and throws darts with precision. He mentioned that Ruiz got himself a outrageously expensive car, and not to shame him, but in a way that will prompt some to pick AJ in the rematch.) He shared some words in Spanish, to finish up.
He wore a sombrero, and looked a good 25 pounds heavier than he was on fight night, so there will be no shortage of people thinking he’s the B side and underdog, once again.
“God’s on my side, and were gonna win,” he proclaimed.
Manny Robles, Ruiz trainer, promised the rematch would be a fan friendly fight and that his kid would be stronger, slimmer, better, come Dec. 7. Some good psychology on display there–he publicly pushed Ruiz to get back into a work-butt-off mode in camp, which starts right away.
And AJ’s trainer, Rob McCracken, said his guy will bounce back, and no, he wasn’t himself going into the June bout, but he will be 100 plus percent in Saudi. Interesting, RM started right out talking about the loss, instead of purely looking forward. Does that betray a negative obsession, in his head?
Time tells, my friends.
The bout screens on DAZN, Dec. 9. They are seven hours ahead of us, on the East Coast of America, so we will try to figure out what time the heavyweights will do ring walks in what promises to be the most anticipated prize fight of 2019.