The third round between Anthony Joshua and new heavyweight champion of the world, Andy Ruiz Jr. was “instructive” in understanding the entire state of the division.
That is, according to ESPN analyst, Max Kellerman, who explained how the Mexican underdog was able to get the better of Joshua in their title showdown in Madison Square Garden, and why it exposed both the British superstar and his trash-talking American foe, Deontay Wilder.
Kellerman, a pundit on First Take, labelled the heavyweight division “wide open” after Ruiz Jr.’s win; a result which has been labelled one of the greatest upsets in boxing history.
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“If you get a guy … with deep amateur background, the muscle memory, if he’s been boxing since he’s a kid, [it] is different than a guy who picked up the sport at 18 like Anthony Joshua,” Kellerman said. “Or by the way, when he was 20 like Deontay Wilder.”
“ … I’ve seen this in boxing often. A big, good athlete hurts the boxer, hurts the guy with the deep background, with the boxing muscle memory. The he gets into an exchange with him, but in the exchange, the guy with the muscle memory, who has been doing it since he was a little kid, the punches are coming more to the point, easier, with less thought behind it.
“And that’s what happened. Joshua, the athlete, knocked Andy Ruiz down with a giant left hook, hit Ruiz, hurt him again, hurt him again, but Ruiz has a championship mettle, fired back and in those exchanges, the guy with the deeper background, with the muscle memory won.”
It was the first loss of Joshua’s professional career, with the 29-year-old now hunting a rematch in order to claim back his WBA Super, WBO, IBF, and IBO belts.
According to Kellerman, what was once considered a heavyweight triangle with Joshua, Wilder, and Tyson Fury, must now be re-evaluated.
“When you look at this heavyweight division, the two top names: Joshua and Wilder — both of them with medals, both of them with shallow amateur backgrounds,” Kellerman said.
“You know who has a deep amateur background, who has been boxing since he was a kid? Tyson Fury, and he’s the lineal champ.
“Andy Ruiz just showed the division is more wide open than people realised, it’s even better than people realised. And when you get upsets like this … it’s not a problem — we now have a new, colourful character, who can really fight in Andy Ruiz.”