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Daily Archives: June 6, 2019

The only Joshua who falls in disgrace

“If you want street fight, let’s go. If you want boxing, I show you. But people think I am, like, gangster. No. Ring is different world. Very dangerous.”

–Gennady Golovkin

By Alex P. Vidal60336807_10214018136070347_8150589498095304704_n

NEW YORK CITY — IF not for the ongoing NBA Finals, sports fans would have discussed lengthily or devoted most of the commentaries on Anthony Joshua’s shocking TKO (technical knockout) loss to unheralded substitute Andy Ruiz Jr. June 1 at the Madison Square Garden.
But the showdown between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors would be until June 16 (Game 7, if necessary) while Joshua’s embarrassing defeat lasted only for seven rounds in the 12-round unified W.B.A., I.B.F., W.B.O. and I.B.O. heavyweight championship.
The name Joshua is always associated with courage, brilliancy, heroism.
Unlike the biblical Joshua who vanquished 31 kings and conquered their lands, boxing’s Joshua couldn’t put away Ruiz Jr for good after sending the challenger butt-first in the canvas with a quick knockdown early in the third round.
Anthony Joshua is the only Joshua who fell in disgrace. The biblical Joshua, successor of Moses, was a brilliant military leader who fought in the Walls of Jericho, was hailed as a hero who led the Israelites into the Promised Land.
“Who is Andy Ruiz Jr.?” asked Victor Mather of New York Times. Actually, he’s the heavyweight champion of the world. Uh, really?”
Ruiz knocked down Joshua in the seventh round with a flurry of punches. Another knockdown followed, and the fight was stopped as the crowd looked on in amazement. Ruiz is now the W.B.A., I.B.F., W.B.O. and I.B.O. heavyweight champion.
Joshua was 22-0 with 21 knockouts and had amassed an alphabet soup of world titles. His victims included the longtime champion Wladimir Klitschko.

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Mather pointed out that Ruiz was a substitute, added to the bout in April after the previously scheduled opponent, Jarrell Miller, tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. He was not ranked among the world’s 10 best heavyweights by The Ring Magazine.
Joshua was 22-0 with 21 knockouts and had amassed an alphabet soup of world titles. His victims included the longtime champion Wladimir Klitschko.
Ruiz was a substitute, added to the bout in April after the previously scheduled opponent, Jarrell Miller, tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. He was not ranked among the world’s 10 best heavyweights by The Ring Magazine.
Though Ruiz was 32-1, the fighters he had beaten were not world class, and his chances were widely dismissed. It was not hard to find odds of 15-1 or more for him to defeat Joshua.
The new champ, Mather explained, is 29 years old, born in California near the Mexico border. He fought for Mexico in qualifiers for the 2008 Olympics. (He didn’t make it.)
Here’s how Mather described the new champ: Ruiz is the first fighter of Mexican descent to win the heavyweight title. Mexican fans follow boxing avidly, but have mostly paid attention to the lower weight classes, and boxers like Julio Cesar Chavez, Canelo Alvarez and Juan Manuel Marquez. Ruiz’s success could change that.
“I wanted to prove everybody wrong, all the doubters thinking I was going to lose. I can’t believe I just made my dreams come true,” Ruiz declared after the fight.

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Frankly, he doesn’t look that fit. I know what you mean. Joshua is an imposing physical presence at 6 feet 6 inches, 247 pounds. Ruiz is 6-foot-2 and — yikes! — 268. He also has, let’s say, something less than a six-pack in the gut. Still, he was fit enough to knock down Joshua four times and complete the amazing upset.
Am I hearing that Drake was involved in the fight in some way?
Kind of. On social media, the rapper has been called a curse for athletes. Drake’s support for the Maple Leafs, Alabama football and Conor McGregor over the years has been said to have somehow caused them to lose.
Drake and Joshua poked fun at the supposed “curse” last March by posting a picture on Twitter with the caption “Bout to break the curse.” Maybe next time.
What’s next? A rematch. There was a clause in the contract– not one that was expected to be activated–that gives Joshua the right to a rematch in case of a loss. Joshua is already being installed as the favorite for that bout, although at odds of only about 3-1 this time.
Where does this leave Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury? The two other top heavyweights must wait for their chance. Wilder and Joshua have been dancing around the possibility of a fight for some time, leading many fans to wonder if it ever was going to happen.

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Wilder is next expected to fight Luiz Ortiz, whom he already knocked out last year. Fury will fight Tom Schwarz of Germany in two weeks. Then there could be a Wilder-Fury rematch; the two men fought to a draw in December. But the Ruiz upset will delay the fight fans have most wanted to see: Joshua-Wilder.
For his part, Wilder stuck the knife in Joshua after his loss: “He wasn’t a true champion,” he wrote on Twitter. “His whole career was consisted of lies, contradictions and gifts.”
Wilder is next expected to fight Luiz Ortiz, whom he already knocked out last year. Fury will fight Tom Schwarz of Germany in two weeks. Then there could be a Wilder-Fury rematch; the two men fought to a draw in December. But the Ruiz upset will delay the fight fans have most wanted to see: Joshua-Wilder.
For his part, Wilder stuck the knife in Joshua after his loss: “He wasn’t a true champion,” he wrote on Twitter. “His whole career was consisted of lies, contradictions and gifts.”
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

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Posted by on June 6, 2019 in Uncategorized