As a late-replacement opponent for Anthony Joshua, Andy Ruiz entered the ring at Madison Square Garden on June 1, 2019 as an 11-1 betting underdog, then he shook up the entire heavyweight division upside down. As many are calling Ruiz the modern day “Rocky”, there’s an argument that the division needs him more than ever.
There had been a heavyweight love triangle between Joshua, Tyson Fury, and Deontay Wilder and fans clamored to see the three of them fight it out to determine the division’s best, in no particular order. Things seemed to be headed that way until Ruiz defeated Joshua by 7th-round TKO, shaking not only the heavyweight division, but the boxing world upside down.
While Luis Ortiz is still very much a top contender in the division despite losing to Wilder twice, the emergence of Ruiz could make things quite interesting for the immediate future of the division. The triangle became a square of competitors in the heavyweight division and while Wilder and Fury are on schedule to rematch in February 2020 from their first classic fight, the rematch between Ruiz and Joshua holds the cards for the heavyweights.
Fans and boxing pundits alike have been waiting Joshua to enter his name into the ringer to take on either Wilder, Fury, or both, but as is the norm in boxing, things aren’t always as easy as signing a contract and showing up to the fight.
For the sake of the heavyweight division, Andy Ruiz, who many think is just a “Rocky” type fighter in a stable of boxing superstars, needs to once again pull off the win over Anthony Joshua. A win over Joshua would not only signify that the first fight wasn’t a fluke, but it would keep the division moving, thanks to the other champion in Wilder.
Following his rematch win over Ortiz, Wilder would repeatedly go on to say that his only goal is to make one champion in the division, and “The Bronze Bomber” is looking to make the division his own. That goal for Wilder can likely be achieved quicker if Ruiz is to go on and defeat Joshua once again and then face the winner of the Wilder/Fury rematch.
Back in July, both Wilder and Ruiz were on the PBC on FOX set and discussed a possible unification fight, and they’re both down to fight one another. When two top boxers are more than ready and willing to face each other, it takes away from one of the biggest negatives about boxing, the negotiation process.
If Anthony Joshua were to defeat Ruiz this weekend, it without a doubt will complicate the future of the division. Would Ruiz and Joshua want a trilogy fight? If they have a trilogy fight would that mean that the winner of Wilder Vs Fury would wait for the trilogy to play out? What if one of the other fighters take a fight and get defeated? The lust for another matchup between these four would be lost, but is it worth the wait? Adding the fact that Fury and Joshua are both from the UK adds even more challenges to the negotiation process if they were to face each other with the titles on the line, between stadium, broadcast rights, and bragging rights as the best fighter in the UK would be on the line as well as the heavyweight titles.
There’s no telling what will happen next whether Ruiz or Joshua win, and that also complicates the stakes at hand. When Wilder fought Luis Ortiz in his rematch, he knew a fight with Tyson Fury would be next, and he shifted his focus to the Fury fight following his impressive win over Ortiz. Not knowing what will happen next for Ruiz and Joshua means every theory is purely speculation, but for the story of Andy Ruiz’s career, and the livelihood of the boxing heavyweight division, fans should hope that “The Destroyer” comes out on top.