Examining the Ramifications of Andy Ruiz’s Upset Win
By now, you’ve likely heard that in a shocking upset Andy Ruiz, Jr. stopped Anthony Joshua in the seventh round of their fight, becoming the first-ever Mexican heavyweight champion by taking Joshua’s IBO, IBF, WBO and WBA titles. The ramifications of this upset are wide-reaching, both in the boxing world and beyond, and I’d like to look at them individually.
1. Conspiracy Theories
Immediately after the fight, boxing Twitter was under siege by fans convinced something about Joshua was off. The primary piece of evidence for these theories, which ranged from Joshua having an illness to having been drugged, was a clip from between rounds where Joshua appears to say to his corner “Why am I feeling like this?” Skeptics argue he felt so weird because he kept getting rocked by Ruiz’s shots, but Joshua was dropped by Wladimir Klitschko, a far harder puncher than Andy Ruiz, so you would think he’d know what getting dazed from big punches felt like. It’s probably nothing, but considering how well Joshua handled himself after the loss, we’ll likely never know if he was battling the flu or something else anyways.
The other conspiracy involved Drake. Yes, there is a longstanding theory that once Drake starts rooting for you, you have been hit by the “Drake curse.” Anthony Joshua joked about this on twitter, posting a picture of himself alongside the Canadian rapper with the caption “Bout to break the curse #June1.” If you’re in Vegas, now would be a good time to put some money on the Golden State Warriors.
2. Will fighters make the fights we want now, or keep risking losses against lesser opponents?
Because of this fight, there are now two competing theories about the future of boxing. The first, and more optimistic, is that because of how much prestige the Wilder-Joshua fight has lost, fighters like Errol Spence and Terence Crawford will be smart enough to make the fights we want now, rather than risk losing to a lesser opponent while letting the fight “marinate.” That’s the best-case scenario. The other side of the coin says that we will now get even more mismatches, with “anything can happen in boxing, look what happened with Andy Ruiz” becoming the new marketing tactic used to justify putting on crappy fights.
3. Fury-Wilder 2 just became even more significant
To try and take some of the hype away from Joshua’s U.S. debut, Deontay Wilder announced that after he fights Luis Ortiz, he will be fighting Tyson Fury again. That’s not just talk; the fight is reportedly already signed, and with Joshua losing -- he says he will exercise his rematch clause -- Fury-Wilder becomes an even bigger fight than it was before. This newly elevated status combined with how good the first fight was means it should sell very well on PPV.
3. Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua Show Their Class; Deontay Wilder Not So Much
Anthony Joshua deserves credit for deferring almost all media attention to Andy Ruiz, declaring that “this is Andy’s night” and not taking the bait when offered the chance to blame the referee for a bad stoppage. That was classy. So was Tyson Fury’s response to Joshua’s loss. He tweeted “We have our back and Forth’s but @anthonyfjoshua changed his stars through life. heavyweight boxing, these things happen, rest up, recover, regroup and come again.” That was classy too.
What wasn’t classy was Deontay Wilder’s assault on Joshua, about whom he stated "The mother---er f---ing quit… At least Frank Bruno got KOd by Tyson, he's worse than Bruno… I think he's a broken man… His promoter, that b---- a-- n---- Eddie Hearn, what you say now? We wanna hear you say some s--- now."
Stephen A. Smith also got in on the classlessness, tweeting that Anthony Joshua just got TKO’d by “Butterbean,” an unfair shot at Ruiz’s weight and a gross underestimation of his skills compared to the famed club brawler. Luckily, the boxing community was able to set him straight, with Caleb Plant saying he sounded like a goofball, Canelo Alvarez essentially calling him ignorant, and Jessie Vargas saying he lost all respect for him.
I could add Ruiz’s DX crotch chops to my not-classy list, but those were just funny. Ruiz had said going into the fight that he was studying Mike Tyson. Everyone assumed he was studying the peek-a-boo style or footwork to get on the inside of a taller opponent. Apparently, he was studying this.
Katie Taylor Beats Delfine Persoon by Controversial Decision
For Katie Taylor, the good news is she is now the undisputed lightweight female champion of the world. The bad news is that a whole lot of people saw her majority, 95-95, 96-94, 96-94 decision win over Delfine Persoon as a gift, or a legacy award rather than a well deserved victory. Heather Hardy said that the decision was yet another sign of how politics had poisoned boxing, so much so that it’s one of the reasons she’s pondering quitting the sport altogether. Carl Frampton called it “disgraceful” while David Haye said -- despite being British and therefore using the metric system -- he thought Persoon won the fight by “miles.”
Taylor was the better boxer, but all credit to the police officer and former judoka for pressing forward and bullying Taylor for portions of the fight she managed to turn into an ugly brawl. The obvious answer for dealing with the controversy is a rematch, which Taylor said she was open to. However, she also said "We'll see what happens down the line. There are a lot of big fights out there for me," which very much leaves the door open for her to fight someone else first.
In my preview of the fight, I talked about how their different backgrounds, incomes, and levels of fame wouldn’t matter in the ring. That was true. It’s just that, in boxing, they tend to matter on the judges’ scorecards.
Callum Smith Knocks Hassan N’Dam Down Three Times en Route to Third-Round TKO Victory
Hassan N’Dam gets knocked down a lot. Against David Lemieux, he hit the deck four times. Against Peter Quillin, he got knocked down six times. And against Giovanni Lorenzo (in a fight he would actually win) he got knocked clean out of the ring before a WBA official helped him back into the ring (about 1:30 of the video). His fight against undefeated WBA 168 pound Champion Callum Smith would be no different, as he was knocked down three times en route to a third-round TKO loss.
Smith knocked N’Dam down once in every round; a left hook dropped him in the first, a left hook to the top of the head dropped him in the second and the final punch to do it was a beautifully timed right hand on the chin. N’Dam got up, but the referee had seen enough and called an end to the action.
After the fight, Smith made it clear he wants a fight with Canelo Alvarez. Will he get it? Maybe. Mike Coppinger was reporting GGG-Canelo 3 was the plan for September, but that’s certainly far from certain and around 20 days from that report there doesn’t seem to be much progress.
Willie Monroe Jr. Wins Decision over Hugo Centeno
Speaking of GGG, former Golovkin knockout victim Willie Monroe Jr. bounced back from a nine-month PED suspension to take a unanimous 98-92, 97-93, 96-94 decision victory over Hugo Centeno, in a largely dull fight. Monroe was too slick for Centeno, who couldn’t use the motivation of dedicating the fight to his father to propel him to victory. Before a positive PED test derailed the fight, Monroe Jr. was going to fight Jermall Charlo for Charlo’s WBC interim middleweight title. Charlo fights “Contender” winner Brandon Adams on June 29; it will be interesting to see if they make the Monroe fight after that one.
Devon Alexander Comes in Overweight, Gets Stopped in the Sixth by Ivan Redkach
It’s time for Devon Alexander to call it a career. After weighing in at 151.4 pounds for a welterweight fight, Alexander was dropped with a well-timed rear uppercut, then dropped two more times soon after as Ivan Redkach pressed the action and forced the referee to stop the fight in the sixth round. Alexander was winning the fight until that sixth-round uppercut landed, but it’s clear that the addition of Roy Jones Jr. to Alexander’s corner wasn’t enough to get the 32-year-old, who has struggled with opiate addiction following a nose surgery, back on the winning track. This was his fifth loss in his last eight fights.
On the other hand, it looked like adding Shane Mosley to his team helped out Ivan Redkach. Yet another talented Ukrainian fighter, this was his third win in a row since a 2017 loss to John Molina, Jr. After the fight, he called out the biggest names at 147. We’ll see if he gets one of them.
Chris Algieri Stopes Tommy Coyle and Calls out Maurice Hooker
At 35 years old, Chris Algieri is working his way back up the junior welterweight ladder, looking to get his WBO belt back. This weekend, he continued that journey by stopping Tommy Coyle in the eighth round, when Coyle’s corner opted to stop the fight. Algieri was ahead on all the scorecards, and dropped Coyle with a left hook to the liver. Still, Coyle deserves credit for a game effort that saw him swell Algieri’s eyes and throw back despite being outboxed often.
After the fight, Algieri called out Maurice Hooker, who owns the WBO light welterweight belt. Algieri’s reasoning was that he never lost the belt, he simply abandoned it to fight at 147. However, Maurice Hooker is supposedly fighting Jose Ramirez in July. So, Algieri will likely need another fight before that one can happen.
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