Mancuso: Ruiz Jr. Upset Or Was It?

Andy Ruiz Jr. may not have had a bigger upset as Buster Douglas had over Mike Tyson. But Saturday night at Madison Square Garden he was a huge underdog and all week he said that motivated him more.

Whatever it was, and you can be skeptical about the fight, Ruiz Jr, dominated Anthony Joshua and his seventh round stoppage earned him the WBA/IBF/WBO titles and in the process the first heavyweight champion from Mexico. Most in the sellout crowd of 20,201 were countrymen from the U.K. who came to cheer on Joshua.

But this time, the singing of “Sweet Caroline” were not so good because that seventh round stoppage was not good for Joshua fans. It was boxing history, made the heavyweight division that more interesting, and there was immediate discussion of a rematch.

 IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz during their heavyweight championship bout at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Credit: Melina Pizano/Matchroom Boxing UK

And the rematch was just about set in stone in the ring when it was over. Joshua was diplomatic, though showed no effects of being knocked down twice in a third round and considered best of the year. Joshua had control in the round with an uppercut and left hook that dropped Ruiz to the canvas.

You can look at this as a possible script and right out of the WWE playbook, and only because Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Boxing promoter, said that a rematch was going to occur in the U.K. and by the end of this year,.

Of course this all makes sense, and not to take anything away from Ruiz who now has the opportunity to rest and prepare for a rematch in the U.K. Joshua made his United States debut Saturday night.but  he has earned a lot of money before sellouts of 80,000 or more in the U.K. at Wembley Stadium and other venues.

So add Ruiz to the heavyweight title picture, but not known as a champion and the late replacement for Brooklyn’s Jarrell Miller who failed three anti-doping drug test. The new champion wants the rematch and for now will enjoy the moment.  

 IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz during their heavyweight championship bout at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing UK

“Right now, I just want to celebrate,” he said, “II just made history for Mexico, This is what I have been dreaming about since I was 6 years old.:

The anticipated unification bout with Joshua and WBC champion Deontay Wilder is over for now. That was regarded as the fight and maybe set for next year that would have earned lots of money.  It’s the big four now of Wilder, Joshua, Tyson Fury, and Ruiz Jr.

Even more interesting, Hearn can work closely with the PBC, the  promotion with a mega financial and television deal with FOX and Showtime. The PBC  has two of the heavyweight champions in Ruiz Jr, and Wilder, and in the driver’s seat and Hearn has the streaming DAZN Network with Joshua as one of his major players.

Back then it was Don King and the heavyweight champion. And it was always skeptical when one champion was dethroned and the newest came right to King. This time the PBC has two pieces to the heavyweight title puzzle with Ruiz Jr. and Wilder.

Boxing in other words, in the heavyweight division, may have to wait longer to see the proper face and unified champion.  One advantage, Hearn has made it known, he works with other promoters and networks, though the DAZN streaming network is his baby and could  have difficulty with getting exclusive rights as long as the PBC has two of those champions.

“AJ got sloppy,” Hearn said. It was a beautiful combination in the third round. He was in total control of the fight, but he got sloppy and never recovered. Tonight was Ruiz’s night but AJ will come back 200 percent and we will make the rematch in the U.K. in November or December.”

Here are the final compubox Numbers:


Joshua47 of 176 (27%)24 of 104 (23%)23 of 72 (32%)
Ruiz56 of 206 (27%)17 of 87 (20%)39 of 119 (33%)

Say what you want. The performance of Anthony Joshua had to be questioned. And the rematch is going to happen. But once again, and at Madison Square Garden, a new champion was crowned but it seemed from the onset  this was going to be for the benefit of a rematch that will make big money and very soon.

Comment: [email protected]  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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