I knew what I thought, that I didn’t agree with Anthony Joshua’s take, that Andy Ruiz won because of a lucky punch.
Listen, Ruiz has been in boxing rings since he was in first grade. What he did wasn’t lucky, it was because he’s prepped for decades. Just because he’s chubby, just because he didn’t win every fight, just because he looks more like a plumber than a pugilist…wasn’t luck.
But, I put it to fighters, boxers, and a couple trainers…. and asked what they thought. What, I queried, did you think about Anthony Joshua’s assessment of Andy Ruiz’ effort on June 1?
Swedish heavyweight Otto Wallin, who himself gets a shot at a game changer opportunity, when he meets Tyson Fury next month, said this: “I believe Joshua could have won the fight but it wasn’t a lucky punch. Ruiz was the better man that night and he proved it!”
Lamont Roach, a Golden Boy boxer, gets a shot at a crown when he meets Jamel Herring in November. Roach answered thusly: “We go in there to throw punches so how is a punch that was purposely thrown considered lucky? Not like he had his eyes closed or the punch from between his legs,” the 130 pounder said, chuckling.
Tureano Johnson, the Golden Boy middleweight, coming off a win over Jason Quigley, saw it like this: “Opportunity meets preparation. Ruiz trained for that fight. AJ could not handle the pressure. The transition to fighting in the US, change of opponent, that was pressure. Issues in camp. When given so much, he didn’t know what to do when he didn’t have it the way he thought he should have. Not a lucky punch!”
Brooklyner Andre Rozier, who trains Johnson, what does he say? “There are no lucky punches in boxing. If the punch is thrown it can land. Ruiz threw many and landed them!”
Eric Molina, a heavyweight fighting under the Don King Promotions umbrella, told me this: “That’s what his people want him to believe. He’s probably heard it many times by his close friends. I don’t think it was luck at all. I believe a rematch will end the same way.”
Ex fighter Dmitriy Salita said this: “Ruiz won because of many “lucky” punches. Tactically, strategically he fought a great fight and used his style to his advantage to land those “lucky” punches. From a boxing technique perspective, AJ was just a bit off balance when he attacked and he reached in when he punched. Ruiz used his footwork to be far enough away to defensively expose Joshua, that was the difference in the fight. Ruiz’ smaller size actually worked to his advantage because of the foot-work and hand positioning of his boxing stance, which didn’t give AJ a lot of room to work with.”
Jamel Herring, the fighting pride of Coram, Long Island, a titlist at 130, holding the WBO strap, also weighed in: “That’s just the talk of a man who’s being bitter, and I like AJ as a fighter, but this past week it just seems as if he has a vendetta towards everyone. From Lennox to Ruiz he’s shown a different character. There’s no such thing as a lucky punch, and when you look over the fight, Ruiz put his punches together, after he was knocked down. By the way, you can’t call it a lucky punch if you were put down, on more than one occasion. I just hope Joshua comes backs to reality and focuses solely on getting his titles back.”
Trainer Stephen “Breadman” Edwards summed it up hard and fast: “Compartmentalization!”
Heavyweight Adam Kownacki, who bettered Chris Arreola in Brooklyn three weeks ago, also spoke up: “Trying to get some PR! You watched wrestling growing up? He is turning heel!” (see 5:55)
Not luck. Skill and will and timing and heart and fire and…you get the point.
Now, does AJ believe it..or is he turning heel, playing a part?
Are his people telling him that, in a bid to help him re-collect himself? Only he knows for sure.
But if he’s married to this theory, that Ruiz’ win came because he was “lucky”…well, that might not bode well for Joshua’s chances in the sequel.