The Big Question: Ruiz vs Joshua 2 - who wins?

Boxing Monthly
06/12/2019 10:10am

Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Nineteen members of the BM team are here with their Ruiz vs Joshua 2 picks and predictions, and the final tally is very tight...

I really can't see anything other than a Joshua win this time. I'm taking nothing away from Ruiz, who is very dangerous, a terrific boxer with great hand speed. But if Joshua can stay focused, use his reach and power effectively, and if he is 'right', he should be able to stay out of harm's way and cruise to a comfortable points win or possible late stoppage. - Luca Rosi

Joshua should be able to get his revenge – but a lot depends on how he applies himself. If Joshua backs off and tries to jab and grab from outer ring (the dreaded Klitschko approach) I think Ruiz will eventually walk him down late in the fight. If AJ can command centre ring, is positive, and makes Ruiz uncomfortable, then I think he can get rid of Ruiz early (inside three rounds). I’ll pick him to do the latter. - Andrew Harrison

Joshua has slimmed down and looks set to box on the back foot, move and probably hold (a lot). He’ll be helped by the selection of Luis Pabon as referee too, who is known for not letting fights flow. So this could end up looking like AJ vs Parker, unfortunately. But outcome wise, I think Ruiz will still manage to get to Joshua late after a lot of tying up and wrestling, which will tire the challenger. He struggles with the smaller man coming forward and his defence is basically non-existent in that situation. Ruiz Jr by late TKO. - Lee Gormley

Joshua has all the tools to regain quite comfortably but does he have the discipline to stay on task? He didn’t last time. McCracken has a huge role to play, keeping him cool and focussed. Ruiz is decent - quick and tough - but not exceptional. Josh clearly doesn’t have the best chin and didn't show the biggest heart last time, felt sorry for himself. Still, I expect AJ to get the belts back, probably by stoppage in the third quarter after dominating with his superior technical skills from the off. - Mick Gill

I’ve found this one quite tough to call. With the run Joshua was on there has been a lot of talk of something “not being right” with AJ in the first bout. So coming into the rematch my initial thoughts were that Joshua would box and hold his way to a unanimous decision but as the bout has got closer I’ve started to change my thinking. I don’t think the first time was a fluke, Ruiz had the better game plan and was the tougher man. It’s easy for us to make excuses but perhaps Ruiz and his style is Joshua’s kryptonite. Because of that my pick is for Ruiz to repeat his success of June and stop AJ around round nine to retain his titles. - Callum Rudge

It is one of the hardest fights to predict this year. An argument for both is valid particularly after what happened at Madison Square Garden. Joshua now looks leaner but how is his mindset? Ruiz is loving life, rightly so, and might be just too relaxed and too confident since exposing the former champion. The mentality of fighters fascinates me and this fight is going to come down to attitude and discipline as much as it will depend on skill and power. Joshua's career is not over if he loses this but surely he will not make the same mistakes he made last time out. If he gets Ruiz hurt again there cannot be the same mistakes he made in June. I'm expecting a much more cautious Joshua, one who will pick his moments and perhaps box the way he did against Parker. Ruiz on the other hand may just think all he has to do is let his fast hands go and at some point Joshua is going to wobble and that will be it. I'm on the fence with this one but if I'm pushed to make a prediction I think Joshua wins with a performance of jabbing and moving, keeping a tight guard and perhaps allowing Ruiz to hit nothing but arms for the duration. There may well be a late stoppage for Joshua but I think he will gain himself a points win around the 116-112 mark. - Shaun Brown

I think Ruiz is all wrong for Joshua. Although the Brit didn't seem himself during their last fight, i think that was a large part due to Ruiz being cute and slippery, rather than the rumours which appeared post fight. Joshua can be predictable and Ruiz quickly figured him out. What can Joshua do differently? I guess we'll find out. I think it'll be a very tough fight, with a knockdown each. But I think Ruiz will ultimately emerge with his belts intact. - James Oddy

Hard fight to call in such a strange environment, but I expect an improved, more circumspect Joshua. There's too much riding on this fight and he knows Ruiz can hurt him. Joshua on the cards. - Mark Butcher

A more conservative Joshua will win a clear-ish decision via wide cards in a fight that never quite catches fire in the way the first one did. - Luke G. Williams

In ten heavyweight world title rematches I believe only three men have avenged losses. The odds don’t look good for AJ. However, Ruiz is still an unknown quantity. With all the rumours of concussion and sparring knockouts did we see the best Joshua? As an amateur Joshua lost to Whyte and managed to avenge that loss in the paid ranks and that’ll give him confidence going into Saturday night. I feel Ruiz is probably a better boxer than AJ but my gut tells me revenge is on the cards. AJ via SD. - James Lupton

Tough, tough one to predict. Everything in my head says "AJ will be on-form this time" and will right the wrong of the first fight: he will box clever, keeping Ruiz at bay while gradually wearing him down and busting him up, possibly scoring an early knockdown to keep the American inside his shell, but punishing him in the late round for a stoppage in the 10th or 11th while ahead on the cards. He will be so focused, and his shots will have Ruiz in trouble throughout as he seeks revenge. But the trouble is that my heart just thinks Ruiz will repeat the initial victory. Patriotism sways me into saying: Joshua, KO10. - Colin Harris

I’m struggling to remember the last time I was this torn on the outcome of a big fight. I don’t put much, if any, stock in the wild Joshua rumour mill that emerged following the first fight - he was beaten by a sharper, more focused, fast-handed boxer, who bullied him on the inside and exploited the various flaws that were first presented to him towards the end of the third round. The most logical choice, clearly, is to pick Ruiz again. The short turnaround. A style match-up that is unfavourable to the point of being almost insurmountable. The immense weight of pressure on Joshua’s shoulders to right the wrong. All of that said, he’s the bookies’ favourite for a reason. The different in physique is striking and it points to a game plan designed to keep Ruiz at range between raids of his own; a game plan that avoids inviting the champion into his wheelhouse. Let’s say that, together with a full camp to prepare for Ruiz - and only Ruiz - is enough to see a controlled Joshua through. It won’t be plain sailing, and there’s very little confidence in this pick, but Joshua between rounds six and nine. - Tom Craze

I shall say, with tail between my legs, Joshua on points. I don't see the Watford man taking risks. He knows what lies beneath. Can Ruiz close the distance as effectively? Will he be allowed to step inside Joshua's ideal distance? I guess we shall see. I can envisage a Joshua v Parker performance. Avoid damage - pick the opponent off from distance. AJ by UD. - Craig Scott

Ruiz just doesn't suit Joshua, in my opinion. Joshua has looked wobbly in the face of pressure before but Ruiz capitalised on his known frailties. He fights in a swarming style and didn't give the Brit any time to think or collect himself. I don't see the approaches to the fight being much different to their first encounter; mentality will make the difference. If Joshua is able to disassociate himself from that loss - at least for the duration of the fight - and inject some spite to the contest then he should win. I just don't think that's as easy to do as it sounds and I suspect Ruiz will find success for a second time. - Oliver McManus

It's Ruiz again for me and always has been, simply because AJ is still mentally an amateur in his own psyche in my view. He has learned little if anything in the last couple of years, and he is not about to learn much more at this stage of his career. He cannot think on his feet when things go wrong, and you can't teach that from the corner, when in the middle of battle and in pain. He has been a credit to British boxing and will likely continue to be so, but at 'undisputed' world level, I think he has already been very well blessed and financially rewarded. If he wins decisively on Saturday, he proves me wrong, and has truly come of age. - Peter Shaw

I expect Joshua to fight long and control the action in the early rounds before Ruiz's workrate, handspeed and ring IQ begin to wear him down in the second half of the fight. There's no respite with Ruiz, who I think will will knock out a fading Joshua around the 11th frame. - Anthony Cocks

Repeat in my opinion, I think Ruiz mentally changed Joshua in the first fight and from someone who has been in there, this is more of a mental game than a physical one. I wouldn't be surprised to see Joshua win, but I believe that Ruiz just has the beating of him and will win again in the latter stages of the fight. - Chris Glover

Joshua to feel Ruiz out in the opener and then walk through him inside four rounds. Wait!!! That was my prediction from six months ago! In all seriousness, I have no concrete confidence in any specific outcome, but have at least narrowed my options to two alternate hypotheses – neither of which involves the Watford man banging out the chubby, beer barrel of a champ. Option one revolves around AJ sticking out his jab, working from the outside and keeping his shorter opponent at arm’s length, in a way that will be reminiscent of his earlier victory over Parker, albeit against an opponent with a more fluid arsenal and more ambitious intentions. It won’t be interesting but it will prove efficient in winning back his titles and a decent slice of his reputation, although insufficient to concern the two big shadows looming over him in the heavyweight rankings. Option two is little more than a recasting of Joshua’s horror night in New York to the wastelands of the Saudi desert. Only I could envisage it being even worse for the Briton this time. How much has AJ improved since the summer? Is he willing to learn and does he possess the focus and application to improve? He has transcended the sport in a way that he is barely anchored to it anymore. Perhaps, an evening on a chat show sofa is now more desirable than being slapped in the face by a Galento-esque Mexican. Whilst it’s not really Joshua’s fault, the noisy bombast from his surrounding cheerleaders is beginning to grate. All the talk of “lucky punches” and Joshua smashing the Edam-like champ has worn me down. There was something wonderful and life affirming about Ruiz’s “shock the world” victory. It has brought with it the conclusion that I don’t want the party to stop yet. I am fully sold on the roly-poly champ, who like Bryan Mosley in ‘Get Carter’ is a “Big man”, but he certainly isn’t “out of shape” when it comes to his conditioning. Ruiz to win in the fourth or fifth in another victory for the everyman against the body beautiful. - Garry White

A more focused, sharper Joshua should be able to come through the rematch with a win, perhaps by decision. - BM editor Graham Houston, in his big-fight preview

Final tally: Joshua 11 Ruiz 8