A Boxing Memory: Joshua vs Ruiz 1
It was supposed to be the big American launch, the bright lights of New York, the iconic theatre of pugilist history.
In the Garden he came to grow a reputation, a supposed formality very quickly turned into a nightmare. The expected turned into the unexpected, Anthony Joshua left America with an uncertain future. Everything he had built over the previous few years was seemingly destroyed, from certain victory to the realisation of a painful defeat.
Andy Ruiz Jr was a reminder to a forgotten era, the lost generation of heavyweights. The likes of Tony Tubbs, Greg Page and others had their desire for greatness lost in an time of boxing politics at it’s very worst. Ruiz didn’t suffer the same as those that could that have been so much better, but the blubbery appearance nevertheless masked the undoubted talent he had.
Everyone forgot what he gave us against Joseph Parker. The talent was evident, despite many choosing to ignore it, but Joshua was apparently on another level, the best heavyweight on the planet we were told. The rolls of fat spread unevenly around the challenger camouflaged the speed, the combinations and the body punches, Ruiz had a part to play, he played it quite magnificently.
The short-notice replacement, the sacrificial lamb, breezed into New York, the placid demeanour fooled everyone, either by design or by chance.
Sweet Caroline blasted out, the garden party started, an atmosphere of premature celebration. But Joshua looked to be somewhere else, the first real signs that there was something in the air.
The opening two rounds showed nothing of what was to come, then we saw what we expected to see, or so we thought.
Ruiz got dropped in the 3rd, the desired script being followed. Joshua smelt blood, Ruiz sensed his chance.
At the point the narrative was being finalised, Ruiz then capitalised on Joshua forgetting the basics, not for the first time.
Suddenly, shockingly Joshua was hurt, soon after he was on the floor. Ruiz then came after his man, his defining moment right there in front of him. Would he be a ‘Buster’ Douglas or just another ‘Smokin’ Bert Cooper.
Joshua with his heavily muscled body now failing him, tried to survive, but he went down again, the bell saved him.
The rounds went by, had that moment gone for Ruiz, another story of what if, what might have been. But on this night the 15-1 underdog would not be denied.
Joshua was over again in the 7th, no bell or anything else for that matter would save him this time. The champion then touched the canvas for the 4th time, the gumshield spat out, a desperate bid to buy time, it failed. Joshua instinctively got to his feet but with his arms draped over the ropes, he looked shocked, dazed and confused, the referee had seen enough and his world heavyweight title reign was now a thing of the past.
Ruiz said he would shock the world, nobody listened, he made them listen.
Many looked for excuses for Joshua, not the man himself, a plethora of crazy conspiracy theories did the rounds. Whatever else was wrong, he simply dropped his guard and got caught, and he didn’t recover, nobody needs to look anywhere else.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing