Unified British heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua makes his American debut @Madison Square Garden in New York City against the emergency replacement for Jarrell Big Baby Miller, that new challenge being the long time contender Andy Ruiz Jr.
Questions, questions: Rankings, rankings, rankings, and who has their top 10 rankings one month out from this fight?
Answer: Just about any collection of Tom, Dick, Harry and Mary that may create a boxing website these days, but not Moi, though on occasion I may offer up my opinion. Mostly I rely on the two most easily verifiable systems, Boxrec and Ring that tend to have a lot of overlap in their rankings, thus their combination expanded with Boxrec’s complete rankings of the total thousands within each weight division makes for a more studied approach to fighter rankings and any evaluation of fantasy, but more importantly for evaluation of upcoming fights. Ring’s rankings are generated by a panel of, ahem, “boxing experts,” and Boxrec’s are generated by a dispassionate computer algorithm created by boxing enthusiasts with software expertise meant to “ape” what true experts might come up with.
Joshua is in a unique, legendary Wlad Klitschko position by those rankings in that by their “top 10” rankings at the May 1st announcement of Andy as a replacement, their top #2 and 3 collective of Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury have refused substantial offers, ie what used to be a King’s ransom to fight Joshua, and Joshua had already beaten the previous #3, Joseph Parker, that would normally get him awarded the Ring belt save for the too often confusion of dolts who run that ranking system. He’s already beat Alexander Povetkin who was the longtime #2, and Dillian Whyte who’s still highly ranked, and the #6 Big Baby was popped for drug cocktails to forfeit his Josha fight. Luis Ortiz, and Adam Kownacki have both refused to fight Joshua, gambling that Wilder would get through his last fight against Dominic Breazeale, but no matter who won, the WBC would be the easiest belt to win with them positioning themselves well in their in house WBC rankings. The only top contender left is Kubrat Pulev who has always marched to a different drummer, and their #10, Oscar Rivas, only been in their ratings 3 weeks.
What we can say is that Andy, 32-1, 21 KO is fighting the best fighter he has ever faced, Joshua, 22-0, 21 KO with both being at the peak of prime athletic years, ages 29 born within a month of each other. The 2nd best Andy faced was Joseph Parker whom he lost to in a close fight. Andy last fought April 20th and seems to have had an easy time in knocking out a former supersized 6-7 contender, Alexander Dimitrenko, within 5 rounds while sustaining no injuries, so after a week’s relaxation as the Big Baby Drug Cocktail Bombshell blew up, Bob Arum, who promotes Andy entered into negotiations with Josh that were quickly signed, sealed, and delivered to the Public on May 1st. That leaves exactly 4 weeks of light sparring for technique and fight planning with no need to get in shape since Andy hadn’t had a chance yet to fall out of boxing shape.
Cue in all the fat boy jokes you want, this fatboy knows how to fight and stepped up when higher rated fighters were not game to. At the announcement of the fight, the always changing Boxrec rankings pegged Andy at 11th which is a fine rating no matter how anyone may dice it up. Andy fought for Mexico in the Olympics even though he was born in Imperial, California located approximately 40 miles north of the Mexican border and 70 or so miles east of San Diego, so I have to wonder if Saul Canelo Alvarez ever drove up in his new Lamborghini that he was recently clocked at 200 mph in France during The Run To Monaco to pay Andy a visit at his training camp for moral support?
This being such a sudden fight made out of the blue with such blatant contrasting physiques and records on display, Joshua sculpted out of bronze and Ruiz a completely different breed of cat, it’s difficult for me to get a handle on the fight. My instincts tell me Andy will prove to be a game and tough customer for as long as the fight lasts if he keeps his chin tucked in. He lasted the distance against Parker in a tough fight, but Joshua is so much bigger, stronger and such a concussive puncher that I’m thinkin’ maybe midrounds, say 7-10 is where Joshua finally drops the hammer.