Andy Ruiz, the first man to defeat Anthony Joshua, says he got quite a few text messages after Saturday night’s rematch between Oleksandr Usyk and AJ; with boxing fans texting “The Destroyer” to tell him that Joshua’s rematch loss “was his fault.” Ruiz says fans think the shock KO he scored over Joshua back in June of 2019 forever made AJ a “scared” fighter, one who would now be “too cautious” in the ring.
Ruiz, who is still hoping to box a trilogy with Joshua, spoke with DAZN, and the Mexican-American who will be facing Luis Ortiz on September 4, said no fighter can ever afford to show fear.
“I did have a lot of text messages of people telling me, ‘Man, it was your fault. That’s why Anthony Joshua was not that aggressive. He’s thinking too much. He’s being too cautious,’” Ruiz said. “Us fighters, we shouldn’t care. I feel we should go out there with the bang. It’s scary. I feel that what fighters fear, of them getting dropped getting hurt, or getting knocked out. But this is boxing. You’re gonna get hit. You’re gonna get hurt. But the main thing is you have got to have those cajones to get back up and to win the fight. When Chris Arreola hurt me a few times, when he dropped me on my knees, I still had to have that same momentum to win the fight. We got to keep going forward. We gotta be dogs out there.”
The knock on AJ since the upset loss to Ruiz is the lack of dog in him, the lack of fire and f**k fear attitude. Joshua did look better in the Usyk return compared to in the first fight, yet he was still too cautious and too hesitant (heaven knows how cautious and hesitant AJ would be if he fought a monster puncher!). So did Ruiz do the damage, irreparable damage, that night in New York over three years ago? It does look like it. As such, Joshua faces a long and hard road back to the top.
Maybe the lack of activity also hurt Joshua, with the long months without a fight hurting his ability to relax in the ring. Whatever it is that AJ no longer has, at age 32 it could be too late to fix the problems.