Anthony Joshua looked a completely different fighter than the one we witnessed in June, the look of composure was evident mentally but more so was the way in which he entered with a big chip on his shoulder, a chip that was created by the naysayers who captured the illusion that if defeated his career would be one staring into the oblivion. It was enough to add fuel to the flame of redemption.
Joshua no longer the hulked up behemoth that we had witnessed in the first fight had shed the weight in an obvious attempt to prepare him to go the distance, this was the gameplan, this is what come to fruition. He looked lighter on his feet, able to box and move which was helped further by a fighter who came into the bout looking like the Pillsbury Doughboy.
On that subject, Andy Ruiz Jr was a disgrace, simply put he looked awful both concerning the lack of preparation and in-fight tactics, he plodded around the ring, lost, totally out of ideas, perhaps thinking more about his bank balance than actually securing the titles.
I know some of you reading this will think this to be a harsh assessment but given the circumstances, I believe it is applicable, he made a believer out of us all when he scored the upset of the first fight which is quite evident from our recent prediction piece but it came as a slap to the face to see him perform as he did and in the shape, he tried to do so.
I suppose fame without the necessary preparation for its arrival can become a poison chalice which is precisely what happened to Ruiz who lavishing himself with gifts of Jewelry, a mansion and a few cars whilst also indulged in other fruits of his labour, minus the fruit, of course, I don’t begrudge him the spoils of his bounty, we all would do the same but getting to the top of the mountain wasn’t the most difficult aspect, staying there should have been paramount to anything else.
His comments in the fall out of the contest further confirmed his lack of preparation.
“There was always tomorrow, tomorrow,” Ruiz lamented. “I should have taken this fight more seriously. Three months of partying and celebrating affected me.
“Being bigger and heavier, I thought was going to benefit me. It didn’t. Being overweight, I thought I was going to be stronger. I should have trained harder and listened to my team.”
All in all, it was a big let down not only to his fan base but more so his team who had prior knowledge that the hunger had diminished, unfortunately it didn’t have such an effect to his appetite.
Speaking to Umar Ahmed of iFL TV, coach Manny Robles confirmed his frustrations at Ruiz’ lack of focus.
“When you’re a coach and you’re in camp, you do everything you can to keep everything in house,” he said.
“Things go wrong, but you’ve got to show face in situations like this.
“My situations with my fighters is this; I try to bring the best out of them, I try to get them to be disciplined, I try to get them to work hard.
“It doesn’t always work that way, but unfortunately for us it didn’t work out this way. You try to hope for the best, but understanding that you win your fights in the gym.
“There’s no secret; if you don’t work hard, if you don’t put in the work the way you should you have this type of outcome. But personally, I think it’s difficult for people to understand that you have to stick with your fighters though good and bad and thick and thin.
“In this situation we didn’t walk away with the win, but I got to stick with my guy and he’s got to know what he did wrong and what we did wrong as a team. But you got to stick with it, you have to rise from the situation.”
“I did expect that (performance). Unfortunately, we had a great game plan but I couldn’t get Andy to be committed 100 per cent. It’s definitely not because of the training camp, it’s because it’s more him.
“He’s got to realise that he is an experienced fighter and he knows what he needs to do.
“He knows he has got to train hard, he knows he’s got to be disciplined – there’s no secret.”
That aside, this is not taking away anything from a solid showing from Joshua wisely adapted from the first fight to employ a far better more efficient gameplan than the one adopted in June which was ultimately to trade with the smaller guy, I think we can agree that he has learned from the mistakes made.
Now a two-time world champion he once more returns to the top of the pecking order with the next course of action being to make his mandatory defences, one against Kubrat Pulev and the other against former Undisputed Cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk.
It will now become a choice which organisation will insist on making their’s next with one of the belts potentially becoming vacant but all that can wait for the time being as Joshua will be content in knowing revenge was so much sweeter the second time around.