Hours away, soon all the chatter dissipates, and speculation and chatter fall to the side. Now, we get answers. And here are answers, in the form of analysis and predictions, from the NYF Squad and extended fam.
“I will be in the minority on this outcome but I’m going with Ruiz by decision,” said Abe Gonzalez of NYF and TALKBOX. “One thing that Ruiz did really well the first time was that he put “water in the basement”. I honestly believe that was what set everything up in their first fight. The body shots should lead to a mid-fight knockdown for Ruiz before going to the cards. Andy Ruiz will win by decision, retain his titles and then get stripped of the WBO belt while setting up Usyk for a title fight in mid 2020.”
“My first prediction is Ruiz is in no better shape than last time,” said David Phillips, film writer and boxing analyst. “I mean, why would he be? Fitness isn’t on his menu (although everything else seems to be) and he beat Joshua being the antithesis to svelte last time. So, why change? This is really all up to Joshua to me. He’s the far superior talented and physically gifted fighter. He can turn himself into Lennox Lewis and avenge a ridiculous defeat (see Oliver McCall/Hasim Rahman), or, he can go down as that guy who got us all excited and turned out to be a gifted pretender. My belief is he’s going to get his act together, not take Ruiz lightly, box more, and look for the KO opportunity when it arises. I’m guessing that happens in the 10th round. Where Ruiz succumbs to a TKO and Joshua begins to regain his stature, while Ruiz becomes the Leon Spinks of his generation. Hey, there are worse fates.”
“Ruiz TKO5,” said Mark Fratto of Fightnight Live. “Joshua will have to dig deep to get past that point after suffering the defeat by stoppage in the first matchup. He seems like a good guy who’s good for the sport — Ruiz too — but on Saturday we find out for sure if he looks like Tarzan but fights like Jane.
“Joshua will come in better shape, with a better game plan, and KO Ruiz in 9,” said film maker and writer Jay Bulger.
“Fascinating match up, so many intangibles,” said Anson Wainwright of RING. “I could easily see a scenario where either man wins. I’m particularly intrigued to see if Ruiz is capable of repeating the first win or if it was a one off. I’m also interested to see if Joshua can rebound and level the score. I wouldn’t go as far as to saying Joshua’s career is on the line but another loss would hurt him severely in terms as his legacy and also at the box office. I think Joshua will try to use his 8 inch reach advantage and will have success with that but can he hold off Ruiz who in the last fight walked through fire to catch Joshua. Both know the other can hurt them and I think that may lead to a more tepid fight than the first one, if that’s the case Joshua wins a points decision. I say that with no conviction though.”
“Have waited until after the weigh in to make my pick … and I’ve got Ruiz,”said analyst Hamza Ahmed. “The hype is massive on this side of the Atlantic with Sky Sports shoving everything Joshua V Ruiz 2 relentlessly into our faces. That said, I can’t see past Ruiz. The fact is when they met in June, both men got dropped but only roared back from that moment of adversity. Those 7 rounds showed stylistic differences between the two which favour Ruiz such as a better inside game, iron chin, handspeed, combination punching and the will to win. Ruiz willed himself to win that night and I reckon he’ll do it again. Look, he came in 40 odd pounds heavier which is surprising given the weight loss pics which surfaced in the summer but I have a theory as to why that was – I do believe Ruiz lost weight in the summer as a way to test how he’d react in lighter shape but I do believe something happened then. Manny Robles and Ruiz must have seen or felt something whilst going through that weight loss camp which made them reconsider coming in light, whether that might have been reduced handspeed, reduced durability, reduced stamina, reduced punch resistance, whatever it was, it prompted these guys to walk in as his second heaviest weight ever and probably for good reason.
Would I love Joshua to win? Absolutely but I can’t see how one training cap will fix all of the fundamental shortcomings he has. Ruiz between rounds 10 and 12.”
“Joshua boxes on the back foot and holds the minute Ruiz gets close. AJ wins on points,” said analyst/fighter Chris Glover.
“Anthony Joshua losing the first time was a shock,” said Jeremy Herriges. “Andy Ruiz Jr. is a talented boxer, but I don’t think he became the best in the division overnight. Everyone is entitled to an off night. I’m not sure if it was the pressure or if Joshua underestimated Ruiz, or if he wasn’t 100 percent, but he wasn’t himself in the first fight. He’s a gold medalist, meaning he’s an exceptional boxer with all the skills. Joshua wasn’t exposed. He just lost.
Joshua isn’t going to lose for a second time against Ruiz. Look for him to mimic what Joseph Parker did against Ruiz when he beat him in 2016. Joshua will utilize his jab and reach advantage. I think his days of headhunting are over. Ruiz has a sturdy chin. He only has one loss on his record, and he has never been knocked out. This fight will surprise a lot of people and go the distance. Both men have power and have tasted the other’s best punch. They will be overly cautious. At some point, Ruiz will push the action, and Joshua will be evasive and box from the outside. I see Joshua winning a unanimous decision victory.”
Analyst John Vena said, “Why, I am glad you asked. I like Ruiz to win again but like Joshua to last a little longer, perhaps the 9th. Joshua’s boxing IQ just doesn’t match Andy who dominated the first fight. Joshua’s best chance is to try to KO Andy. If he can hurt Andy, he needs to take his time and try to not trade with him. He must use his size but I think Ruiz walks him down and eventually breaks him.”