Andy Ruiz Jr. (32-1 21 KOs) won the lottery when he landed a dream world title shot at Heavyweight king Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) on Saturday June 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK.
Ruiz could make history and become the first ever Mexican heavyweight world champion if he beats AJ at the vaunted Manhattan boxing mecca but is anyone picking him to win?
Robbie Davies Jr
European & British super-lightweight champion
"For a late replacement, this is the sort of level, I think, outside of the top guys at heavyweight.
Ruiz is a good replacement at short notice. He has good boxing ability and will win a lot of hooks against Joshua, which can be unorthodox at times. I just think AJ's sheer size, athleticism and punching power will be too much for Ruiz, with the fight finishing before six."
American singer / songwriter & boxing superfan
"I once saw Andy Ruiz Jr. obliterate a friend of mine, a much taller man, in three rounds by sheer attrition.
If Andy Ruiz goes in there being himself, he beats Joshua by the same road. If Ruiz tries to "look good" and box like he did vs Parker, he loses to Joshua. Ruiz has Donkey Killers in both hands; all he has to do is go forward and swing, and Joshua is out of there quick. If Ruiz decides to box, Joshua wins easy.
Joshua's weak chin is tailor-made for a mega puncher like Ruiz, who's lack of conditioning is tailor-made for a pure boxer like Joshua.
The outcome of this match is dependent on who will set the tone and in what fashion. Pure 50/50 with the X-factor being Ruiz's choice of plan on that day."
Promoter & former world title contender
"Andy Ruiz fought on my Detroit Brawl show against Josh Gormley in 2016. When I saw him train, and in the fight, I was very impressed with his speed and overall ring generalship
The saying “don’t judge the book by its cover” definitely applies to Ruiz. He is a sharp puncher with a great ring command and excellent hand speed for a heavyweight. Joshua is obviously the heavy favourite but Ruiz has the tools to make it interesting."
"I know Anthony Joshua and Eddie Hearn have come under a lot of fire for the match making for this fight, but I would argue that Ruiz Jr will be a better test for Joshua than Miller may have been. The choice was between Michael Hunter Jr and Andy Ruiz Jr, as Luis Ortiz and his team negotiated their way out of the fight. They've ended up with a world title contender with one solitary loss in a very closely-contested affair away from home against the only man to take AJ the distance - Joseph Parker. If it sounds like I'm flowering, well just look at his record - 105-5 amateur record and 32-1 as a pro, that's 137-7 overall! The numbers don't lie, Ruiz Jr is a credible, dangerous and very serious contender.
AJ has got everything he needs already in his locker to beat the Mexican, who is so much shorter and disadvantaged greatly with his stature and reach. Ruiz will be pressing forward because of that and looking to land his deceptively fast hands on AJ, which I believe he will manage to do.
He is a very good fighter, so don't let his flabby appearance fool you; he walks his opponents down, moves his head and body well enough to avoid too much damage going in and when he sees the chance to let his lightning fast hands go, he does so in blisteringly quick combinations to both head and body. He is a decent fighter, just lacking in size and physique.
I kind of see this panning out similar to the Povetkin fight with AJ having to adapt to the shorter opponent, whilst being constanly under pressure, until he can land clean and stop proceedings in the mid-rounds. Obviously, I want AJ to win but I would love to see Ruiz trouble him for as long as possible to make the fight worthwhile and for him to be able to go on to more high-profile fights - Ruiz Jr vs Dillian Whyte would be an absolute barnstormer!"
Promoter at VIP Promotions
"Hard to knock this opponent with the short notice, but I expect a good KO win for Joshua around the halfway stage."
"I think that AJ will win quite comfortably.
Ruiz is a good replacement and has a good record with a good KO ratio, his only loss a respectable one to Joseph Parker.
The main thing is he will come to fight, his style will be exciting for the fans as he ploughs forward, and hopefully can get the best out of AJ.
Joshua to stop him in the first six rounds!"
Anthony Joshua: 21KOs from 22 wins - 95%
Andy Ruiz Jr: 21KOs from 32 wins - 66%
Co-Founder of buymyfight.com
“I think AJ wins by KO but I don’t think it’s going to be as easy as some may think.
Although fans may be feeling disappointed what with it being a replacement fighter, I don’t see it as anything other than a dangerous match up. Ruiz can bang! You only have to watch the Parker fight and see that he is relentless at coming forward, and just like he’s announced himself, I think he’s right – AJ doesn’t like fighters coming at him. He’s not used to it, and that’s when he is open for getting caught (in a trade-off).
Ruiz will come to win. The pay day will be great, but make no mistake he’ll turn up. I think this could be, in the words of Triple G a ‘Big drama show’. I’m going to call it as AJ getting caught like he did against Klitschko but being forced to go big on the return attack, finishing Ruiz off around 8/9.”
"It's going to be a big ask for Andy Ruiz Jr when he faces Anthony Joshua. Does he have a chance, well every heavyweight has a chance with how big the guys are, especially one who has 21 KOs.
Ruiz Jr only fought a couple a weeks ago and won by a fifth round KO, he took Joseph Parker the distance in a fight many thought he won - his only loss to date. His resume is nowhere near Joshua's though.
Saying that, I cant see anything other than a Joshua stoppage around round 4/5. Joshua's strength and conditioning will prove too much for Ruiz Jr. I expect him to target Ruiz Jr body early on then take him out with a quickfire combination to the head."
"In the opening rounds, Andy Ruiz Jr may momentarily fool some of the Madison Square Garden crowd into believing he does, in fact, have a chance of beating Anthony Joshua. The foolish misinterpretation may raise people off their seats in spikes of unison roars as Joshua allows Ruiz Jr to throw haymakers that may successfully land on an arm, clip a shoulder and detonate with a bursting thud as his leather meets AJ's guard - this, will probably be the most success the chunky, conformed slugger will be able to lay claim to.
Thereafter - slowly but surely, Joshua will spear out jabs to the head and middle, softening up his man before a more steely caliber of punches whistle and blast through the 'Destroyer's' guard, knocking into next week.
I don't know much about Ruiz if I'm honest - and without any disrespect, the events of his life story may be a screenplay and Oscar-winning film, just begging to be written. However, if he does somehow manage to beat Anthony Joshua on June 1, it'll be another one of 'Boxing's Greatest Tales'."
Anthony Joshua: 84 rounds
Andy Ruiz Jr: 144 rounds
"I really don't think outside of two or three fighters anyone can give Joshua much trouble, just so happens I think outside of the top three or four, Ruiz is one of the better ones.
Parker and Ruiz fight was close, most think it could have gone either way so not sure why Ruiz is seen as a no-hoper, I certainly don't think he wins but he can really fight.
Ruiz is fast of hand and foot and I think Joshua will struggle with that like the Povetkin fight, don't think Ruiz has Povetkin power though and Ruiz should slow down quicker which I'm sure he will after four or five and get him out halfway.
Ruiz is better than Miller, he will give Joshua trouble for six rounds before Joshua, I'm pretty sure, certainly wears him down with his superior size and strength."
"Fourth-round knockout for AJ."
Head Coach at Guildford City Gym
"AJ will take no chances, he will throw straight power shots and get the job done after just a few rounds.
Ruiz has got a chance of beating one of the best heavyweight boxers in the world but he has to gamble and roll the dice from the first bell. He could get a good punch in and KO AJ and use those fast hands and lots of head movements and positive counters, but it''ll be a KO win AJ."
Anthony Joshua: 5 first-round KOs
Andy Ruiz Jr: 9 first-round KOs
"I think Ruiz Jr is a harder fight than the Miller fight. It could be a bad choice picking him, but I do think we we will get to see how good Joshua's chin really is."
Former British super-bantamweight champion
"I've watched a few clips of Andy Ruiz Jr online and he looks good against people who is in there to be beaten. He has got a lot of weight behind him and he packs a punch.
Will I pay for this fight? No. Am I interested in this fight? Maybe the next one.
My prediction is that Joshua wins and moves up to 23-0."
“I can understand why fans would be underwhelmed by the new choice of opponent for Joshua, but I believe Andy Ruíz Jr is a better boxer than Jarrell Miller and poses a different kind of threat to Joshua.
With deceptively fast hands, I can see Ruíz having a good start in the fight - he’ll certainly come to fight with the hope of leaving Madison Square Garden having dethroned Anthony Joshua.
However, I think Joshua is reaching his peak at heavyweight now and outside of Fury, Wilder and an improved Dillian Whyte, I think he has the tools to get anyone out without too much trouble.
I think Ruíz will slow down after 5/6 with AJ taking him out no later than 7.”
"I think this is a decent scrap. AJ will win quite easily in the end, while I think it'll take AJ a couple of rounds to get used to Ruiz's hand speed and body work.
Ruiz only chance is to really come at AJ, work the inside and use his hand speed, but even then, I think AJ is far too good and smart to let Ruiz anywhere near his inside.
AJ to win by TKO/KO in the first half of the fight, Ruiz will put up an entertaining fight, and by the way, is a good replacement, arguably better than Miller. All the top 10 AJ has fought doesn't make sense in the UK or have avoided AJ, so Ruiz is the best of the next level of fighters.
The whole show and fight will be good I think - AJ to win by KO/TKO!"
"This being a somewhat hastily put together fight after that complete fool Jarrell Miller failed his drug tests, it's difficult to see past a resounding AJ win.
The ones I feel sorry for are the punters who have stumped up serious money for tickets expecting to see an entertaining sporting spectacle.
A-J has too much experience, power and strength and so I’d be surprised if this one goes past the third round."
94% are going with AJ
6% opted for Ruiz Jr