8th June, 2019
Amir Khan wants to see Anthony Joshua take a tune-up fight before facing Andy Ruiz Jr. in a rematch in an attempt to recapture his loss IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight titles. Khan, who is no stranger to losing, feels that there’s too much of a risk for AJ to get beaten by Ruiz Jr. (33-1, 22 KOs) if he faces him straightaway in a rematch, because the loss will still be fresh in his mind.
Ruiz Jr. dominated Joshua with ease last Saturday night in knocking him out in the seventh round at Madison Square Garden in New York. What’s interesting is that Ruiz was selected by Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn from the bottom of the rankings in what he hoped would be an impressive performance by his fighter in making his debut in the United States. Ruiz wasn’t selected because Hearn thought he would have a chance of winning the fight. Unfortunately for Hearn, Ruiz wound up exposing the heavily muscled Joshua, knocking him down four times in the fight before he quit in the seventh rounds when he chose not to continue fighting. The biggest flaw in Joshua’s game that Ruiz exposed was in the stamina department. Joshua looked so tired after throwing a handful of punches in the third round, it made you wonder if he needed oxygen in his corner.
“I’m not taking anything away from Anthony Joshua. He’s a great champion,” said Khan to IFL TV. “I think Joshua has beaten better opponents than Andy that he lost to. You have to give a lot of respect. He lost the fight. Let’s see how he can come back from that to see where the champion is at,” said Khan.
According to East Side Boxing, the decision has already been made by Joshua and his team to take the immediate rematch with Ruiz. Joshua, Hearn and trainer Rob McCracken made the decision to trigger the rematch clause in the contract to force an immediate second fight with Ruiz. Now it’s up to Joshua to show whether he made the right decision. Many boxing fans believe that Joshua, 29, will lose again. Unless AJ learns how to box from the outside, he’ll be countered to pieces by the faster, better skilled Ruiz.
Joshua has fallen in love with throwing huge shots that are easily countered by a classic counter-puncher like Ruiz. At the same time, Joshua quickly fades when he throws his big shots. Joshua is like an old rechargeable battery that loses it’s energy at a rapid pace, and no longer is capable of charging once it’s drained. Not only does Joshua fade fast when he throws punches, but it takes him many rounds to regain his strength.
Smart heavyweights like Ruiz aren’t going to wait around for five or six rounds before Joshua finally gets his second wind. Ruiz saw the big mistake Wladimir Klitschko made when he failed to take advantage of Joshua gassing out in the sixth round against him in 2017. Klitschko thought he had the victory in the bag after Joshua faded at the midpoint of their fight at Wembley Stadium in London, England. Wladimir thought he could just box Joshua to an easy decision, because he was fighting like a rank amateur from the sixth round. Instead, Joshua came back in the 10th, and hurt Wladimir an uppercut, and then finished him off in the 11th.
It’s a big risk for Joshua to take the rematch with Ruiz right away, and Khan knows that. Although Khan has never fought a fighter in a rematch after losing to them, he’s seen it happen plenty of times, and it often ends in failure for the fighter trying to avenge a loss. Joshua’s career will likely be over with if Ruiz smashes him again.
“I don’t think he should fight Ruiz straightaway, because in the back of his mind, he lost to him,” said Khan. “Ruiz is going to come into the fight more confident, which in a way it could be a bad thing. But at the same time it could be a good thing for him as well, because he’ll start making mistakes by coming forward, showing that he can knock him out again,” said Khan.