Andy Ruiz Jr. vs. Anthony Joshua - 12/7/19 Boxing Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Photo by Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
Saturday, December 7, 2019 at 5:00 pm (Diriyah)
The Line: Ruiz +246 / Joshua -274 -- Over/Under:
Andy Ruiz Jr. and Anthony Joshua fight Saturday in Diriyah for the World Boxing Association Super World Heavy Title.
Andy Ruiz Jr. enters this fight with a 33-1 record that includes 22 knockouts. Ruiz has won five of his last six fights, and he’s coming off a June win over Anthony Joshua. Ruiz completed one of the biggest upsets in the history of boxing with a seventh round knockout as a +1725 underdog. Ruiz controlled majority of that fight up to that point, and he was wearing him down with body shots and constant pressure. While Ruiz had some notable wins on his resume, he looked way too poised in the biggest moment of his career and you would have thought he was the favorite if you knew nothing about boxing. It’s now a question of how Ruiz handles everything that comes with that victory, as he’s now the hunted. Ruiz is a 30-year-old who stands at 6’2”, has a 74-inch reach and an orthodox stance. Ruiz is a brawling heavyweight who stands in the middle of the ring and trades punches. Ruiz loves to throw hooks and always manages to throw in shots to the body when putting together combinations. Ruiz is quicker than his size indicates and certainly has the power in his hands with five of his last seven wins ending in the seventh round or earlier. There’s not a lot of movement to Ruiz, but he’s quicker than you’d think and has an impressive gas tank for a guy who looks so out of shape. The memes about his figure may be funny online, but Ruiz has skill and doesn’t fight the way he looks. This will be Ruiz’s first career fight in Saudi Arabia.
Anthony Joshua enters this fight with a 22-1 record that includes 21 knockouts. Joshua has won five of his last six fights, and he’s coming off a June loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. Joshua has some soul-searching to do, as it can’t be easy being on the wrong side of a massive upset and now being thrown into a revenge spot. If Joshua doesn’t win this fight, his career takes a major blow and he may never be able to recover. There’s also more reason for concern given that Joshua wasn’t that impressive in previous bouts against Alexander Povetkin and Joseph Parker. Joshua is a 30-year-old who stands at 6’6”, 82-inch reach and an orthodox stance. Joshua was once considered the best heavyweight in the world, as it’s his footwork, movement and hand speed separated him from the rest. While everybody in this division has power, Joshua is extremely fluid with his movement and puts combinations together with surprisingly quick hands. Joshua has great technique, doesn’t take a beating and picks his spots smartly rather than loading up and going for the knockout when it’s not there. Joshua is very disciplined and usually takes full advantage when that opening is created. The problem is Joshua looked gassed in the previous fight and you have to wonder if conditioning is just something he’ll always have to deal with given his muscular figure. This will be Joshua’s first career fight in Saudi Arabia.
I didn’t pick Ruiz to win the first bout, but I did give him a lot more credit than most other write ups online and mentioned that his hand speed could give Joshua some issues. All of the pressure in the world is on Joshua in this fight and if he didn’t do drills to improve his conditioning, he’s going to be in trouble once again. Ruiz is going to sit in the middle of Joshua’s chest and throw body shot after body shot, and Joshua must counter and fight like the bigger fighter he is. Keep this fight on the outside, us your length and land those power shots. Of course, sounds easier than it actually is and confidence can’t be too high at the moment, but there’s no reason Joshua shouldn’t win this fight on paper. Win, lose or draw, we’re going to learn a lot about Joshua and if he’s truly capable of being the best fighter in the world. It’s about heart at this point.
I’ll side with Joshua to win, but I do have my concerns.