By his own admission, Rydell Booker was not “truly in shape” for this past Saturday’s losing fight with Kubrat Pulev. Pulev, attempting to knock off some ring rust while awaiting his mandatory shot at the IBF heavyweight title currently held by Andy Ruiz, hammered out a dull and sluggish ten-round decision victory over the crafty and durable, yet overweight Booker.
The fans were not impressed by Pulev’s winning performance and neither was Booker; who feels the fight would have been different had he had time to train properly. Speaking with ESB a couple of days after his loss to Pulev, just the third defeat of his pro career (the other two coming, via decision, to James Toney and Jermain Franklin), Booker spoke of Pulev’s chances against either Ruiz or Joshua:
Q: Commiserations on your loss to Pulev.
Rydell Booker: “Okay, thanks a lot. I took the fight on short notice so I wasn’t truly in shape. I needed the money more than anything, so I can secure a place to live for me and my family. But no excuses.”
Q: What next for you and can Ruiz beat either Ruiz or Joshua?
R.B: “I really don’t know what’s next for sure. But Pulev, no, he can’t beat either one of them. If you look at the fight, I gave that to him – he’s a robot who does the same thing over and over again. Me being in shape, I beat him and kill him easy. No, he can’t beat either of those fighters.”
Q: And who wins the big rematch on December 7?
R.B: “I really don’t know, it’s that close. It really depends on the mindset of each fighter: Joshua may be questioning himself, Ruiz, how has he handled the newfound success?”
So do you agree with Booker; has “robot” Pulev, 28-1(14) got next to no chance against either the Mexican/American or the Brit? Will we find out, or might the winner of the mega-fight in Saudi Arabia opt to vacate the IBF belt in order to go after bigger and far more exciting fights?