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Andy Ruiz Jr. - New Heavyweight World Champion

This is Rummy's Corner.

I don't know shit about boxing!

In boxing, one punch can change an entire fight.

And when an upset occurs, it can potentially change the entire landscape in the blink of

an eye.

When Muhammad Ali tried to get a rematch against heavyweight world champion Smokin' Joe Frazier,

the champ instead decided to face his number 1 challenger - the general expectation was

that this was just another step for Frazier in the lead-up to a highly anticipated rematch

with Ali.

But Big George Foreman had other plans, and he shook up the entire heavyweight landscape

with his 2nd round destruction of Smokin' Joe!

When Evander Holyfield was the undefeated #1 ranked contender by all 3 major sanctioning

bodies, an agreement was reached where he would challenge Mike Tyson for the undisputed

heavyweight crown after a tune-up fight in Tokyo - the general expectation was that Tyson

would make easy work of Buster Douglas in the lead-up to the highly anticipated showdown

with Holyfield.

But Douglas had other plans, and he shook up the entire heavyweight landscape with one

of the biggest upsets in the history of professional sports.

Just 3 short weeks ago, we had 3 undefeated heavyweight elites, each of whom had a legitimate

claim to call himself heavyweight champion.

The general expectation was that Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua, and Tyson Fury would all win

their upcoming matches, all of which took place within a 4 week span.

But Andy Ruiz Junior had other plans, and he too shook up the entire heavyweight landscape

with an incredible upset performance this past weekend.

It was Saturday night, at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York - in a championship

bout that was broadcast by the relatively new streaming app service known as DAZN - Andy

Ruiz Jr received an unexpected opportunity to challenge the unified IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight

world champion, Anthony Joshua.

Ruiz was a replacement opponent who stepped in for Big Baby Miller.

The expectation going into this bout was that Joshua would emerge victorious in his American

debut!

It appeared the strategy going in was to provide Joshua with more exposure in the US, so that

he could build his profile here for would-be mega bout showdowns against Wilder or Fury.

Things began at a measured pace.

Joshua was trying to establish his jab, and Ruiz was strategically trying to make use

of his own jab.

Ruiz was throwing in short combinations on the inside, as the two boxers were still trying

to get a feel for each other.

Ruiz went on the attack early in round 2, but Joshua soon seemed to be discovering his

range.

AJ was jabbing well, and he landed a nice big right and also a solid left hook, but

Ruiz stood his ground in the heat of battle, and Ruiz was firing back and letting his hands

go whenever the champion was at mid range.

But Joshua was the one who seemed to really be finding his groove as the 2nd closed out.

AJ looked comfortable to begin the 3rd, and early in the round he nailed Ruiz with a crisp

combination that dropped the challenger.

The series of punches was punctuated by a mean left hook, and Ruiz appeared to be hurt.

Ruiz rose, and he bravely battled on, and he soon ate a monster right hand.

Ruiz absorbed the shot, and he began trading with Joshua.

Ruiz nailed AJ with some quick sneaky shots and the champion went down!

Looking back at this sequence, it was incredible that Ruiz was able to absorb that big right

so well while maintaining his composure.

But Ruiz kept his cool, and that quick counter left seemed to really disrupt Joshua's equilibrium.

Joshua never saw that shot coming, and it messed up his entire sense of balance.

Joshua battled on, and while he still seemed a little wobbly, it appeared as if he would

survive the round without further incident.

But then Ruiz unleashed a vicious assault in the closing seconds of the round, and the

champion was down again!

Joshua managed his way to his feet, but he appeared to be in some serious trouble.

Ruiz began the 4th round aggressively, but then he took his foot off the gas.

The 4th round was slow and largely uneventful, but Ruiz was still throwing some nice isolated

jabs downstairs.

Joshua didn't do much at all on offense, but he at least appeared to be able to clear his

head and get his legs back.

Joshua started jabbing more in round 5, but there wasn't a whole lot of snap behind them.

Joshua and Ruiz each landed some decent shots later in the round, but the 5th round was

another round that was largely lacking in action.

And it appeared that Ruiz may have let Joshua off the hook as the champion was still regaining

his composure.

Round 6 began with both boxers throwing punches with authority, but things soon settled back

into a more measured tactical affair, where both boxers were being conservative with their

offense.

But despite the slow pace, both boxers were still studiously searching for spots and trying

to calculate their foes next move.

Later in the round, Ruiz started opening up with nice short combinations that appeared

to be making Joshua very uncomfortable.

In round 7, Joshua landed a big shot that sent Ruiz into a frenzy, as he landed one

clubbing shot after another, and he literally beat Joshua down to the canvas.

Joshua bravely made it to his feet, but he didn't look good at all.

Joshua attacked, Ruiz started swinging, and Joshua was down for the 4th time in the fight.

Joshua again rose, but referee Michael Griffin didn't like what he saw, and he called a halt

to the action.

The fight was over.

Andy Ruiz Jr had just become the new unified IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion of the world!

Now that the dust is beginning to settle in this drastically altered heavyweight landscape,

I see a lot of fans being overly critical of Anthony Joshua - to be fair, there are

a lot of fans giving Ruiz his due credit, but some fans are acting as if losing to Ruiz

means the end of the road for Joshua, and I'm not sure that's necessarily the case.

A lot of times what ultimately defines greatness isn't about losing - a lot of times it's about

how you rebound from a loss that truly matters.

When Joe Louis lost to Max Schmeling, a lot of people wrote The Brown Bomber off prematurely.

But Joe Louis learned from that loss, and he improved after that loss, and he went on

to become an absolute legend of the sport!

To this day, Joe Louis holds the record for most heavyweight title defenses.

Louis overcame adversity, and he also managed to defeat his nemesis and former conqueror

in just 1 round, in a career defining effort.

When Lennox Lewis was knocked out by Oliver McCall in a shocking upset, many people wrote

Lewis off prematurely.

But Lewis went back to the drawing board, and he worked his way back into the mix and

ultimately proved himself as one of the very best, if not THE best, in a very competitive

90s era.

Lewis holds the unique distinction of being one of the only heavyweight champions to retire

having defeated every opponent he ever faced, as Lewis avenged his only 2 career losses,

and he did so in explosive style.

When Wladimir Klitschko got blasted out by Corrie Sanders, many people wrote Klitschko

off for good, and worse yet!

When Klitschko first teamed up with Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward, Klitschko lost

against Lamon Brewster in their first fight together.

Those 2 losses resulted in many people prematurely dismissing Klitschko's chances at heavyweight

glory, but Wladimir bounced back from those early defeats, and he went on to become a

dominant heavyweight champion whose reign lasted nearly an entire decade.

And Wladimir didn't lose many rounds during that impressive streak of dominance!

Can Anthony Joshua bounce back the way guys like Joe Louis, Lennox Lewis, and Wladimir

Klitschko were able to?

That remains to be seen!

But regardless of whether he can, or whether he can't - nothing changes the fact that Joshua

was a unified heavyweight world champion, with a proven ability to overcome adversity

- we saw in his highly dramatic encounter with the aforementioned Wladimir Klitschko

- and the bottom line is, Andy Ruiz Jr deserves all the credit in the world for scoring this

sensational upset victory!

During the first 2+ rounds, things were going according to plan for Joshua.

The champion was finding the range with his jab, and after he scored that 3rd round knockdown,

it looked as if it might have been a quick night's work for AJ.

But Ruiz Jr was the one who overcame adversity this time, and he did so in style!

Even prior to the knockdown, Ruiz was fighting very smart.

Ruiz was usually throwing punches whenever Joshua's head was in range, and he was always

looking for ways to time Joshua's attacks with explosive counter punches.

Ruiz was bravely standing his ground, and that left hook he drilled Joshua with - the

one that really messed with AJ's equilibrium.

That punch changed the whole fight!

I don't think Joshua ever truly recovered from that punch.

It actually reminded me an awful lot of the punch Golota drilled Bowe with in their rematch!

A solid blow near the ear/temple area that resulted in a somewhat delayed reaction from

Big Daddy Bowe!

That's what this punch from Ruiz reminded me of!

It was just one of those punches that was far more devastating than it may have seemed

because of where it landed and how it landed.

Then during the middle rounds, where it appeared that maybe Ruiz had let Joshua off the hook

where AJ seemed to have time to recover.

Ruiz was being very disciplined, and while he wasn't doing a whole lot offensively, Andy

was still making an effort to land body shots whenever he could, and he was wisely sticking

to his game plan.

Ruiz didn't overextend himself.

He didn't get reckless.

Ruiz was patient, and he was still mostly looking to stand his ground and counter whenever

AJ attacked and got into mid-range.

And the plan worked!

It seemed that any time Joshua landed something big - Ruiz almost always immediately came

back with something big of his own - and Ruiz was throwing his punches in bunches.

AJ was simply unable to rediscover his ideal distance whenever Ruiz found himself at ideal

range, and Ruiz was effectively pouncing whenever these opportunities surfaced.

Ruiz showed tremendous heart and determination, he had an excellent strategy, and he also

exhibited a splendid ring IQ as he stuck to his game plan and never lost his composure!

It was just a SENSATIONAL all around effort from Andy Ruiz Jr!

And all the credit in the world to the new unified heavyweight world champion.

I confess, I was sleeping on Ruiz in this one, which shouldn't be surprising to anyone

who's been paying attention - because I clearly don't know shit about boxing!

It was only last week I was saying that any matches that involve Fury, Wilder, and Joshua

that aren't against each other are inherently inferior match-ups.

Clearly - Andy Ruiz Jr has proven me wrong, yet again.

There is something so beautifully uplifting whenever an underdog scores an upset that

shakes things up to such a profound degree.

And Ruiz winning might well be a blessing in disguise for the fans, and for the heavyweight

division!

Maybe this will act as a long term lesson that whenever the opportunity for a mega fight

emerges, that time is of the essence!

Trying to build up fights into something bigger down the road is a GAMBLE - and it can sometimes

backfire.

Anthony Joshua might just well find himself stuck on the outside looking in, as Ruiz now

firmly established himself as a force to be reckoned with.

Whatever Andy Ruiz Junior does next, I will undoubtedly be paying attention!

Will he rematch AJ?

Will he look to take on a mandatory next?

Will he ultimately gun for the winner of a would-be rematch between Wilder and Fury?

Or maybe we shouldn't look too far ahead just yet!

Fury has Tom Schwarz next week!

Wilder is reportedly having a rematch with Louis Ortiz later this year, before having

a rematch with Fury sometime after that.

But Andy Ruiz Jr firmly reminded me that maybe we should take things 1 step at a time before

looking too far ahead.

And right now - Andy Ruiz Jr has made his mark in boxing history, and I can't wait to

see what he does next!

Thanks for watching everyone, hope you enjoyed, and have a wonderful night!