The rematch has been made between American-Mexican champion Andy Ruiz Jr (33-1, 22 KOs) and former unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs).
On May 1, exactly one month prior to the first fight, BBN asked their panel of experts for their predictions and nearly everyone predicted an AJ win at the halfway stage of the fight. A few mentioned how deceptively fast and agile the Mexican was and that he could cause trouble early for Joshua and that we would see the Brit's chin tested, which was actually very accurate.
Now, we ask the same question to our experts, consisting of professional boxers, trainers and managers, to try to guess who wins the rematch in the middle of the Arabian desert?
Robbie Davies Jr
British & European super-lightweight champion
"If Joshua really does have that challenger mentality back, then I honestly believe the speed and power and explosiveness will be enough to get him the win.
Although, second time round, I feel Ruiz will have a confidence knowing he has the power to hurt Joshua.
I'm going for Joshua points win."
Commonwealth heavyweight champion and Prizefighter winner
"I think the same result again if it's a level playing field.
I think andy Ruiz Jr has more to him a lot more boxing skills and power than people care to believe and my belief is that Ruiz will be even better.
AJ has had his height and power to dominate until now.
Now, the speed, skill and power is with Ruiz Jr."
World heavyweight title contender
"As far as Ruiz winning or not, I'm not 100% sure on which way it goes but I would like to see him come out the victor once again."
British Challenge belt super-lightweight champion
"I predict the same outcome in the first fight. They say styles make fights, I just think Joshua can’t deal with the speed and workrate of Ruiz."
Promoter, VIP Promotions
"I’m going for another Ruiz stoppage.
I think he will have to get off the floor again, but he sure he will. I always fancy the winner of the first fight in rematches and see this as no different.
I believe the confidence of Anthony will be low and when it gets tough again I think he will wonder that apart from all the money why he has took this fight again straight away."
Three-time Southern Area champion
"I feel that there is just far too much for AJ to change to get the win, it’s a brave move jumping right back in for the rematch and people must admire him for that but I see it ending the same way with Ruiz winning via KO/TKO.
He’s just all wrong for AJ. From the waist up AJ doesn’t move he has no head movement whatsoever, a low front hand and Ruiz being the small man will capitalise on that rolling low and throwing wild hooks up and over. Ruiz has been tagged by AJ and put over but climbed back up to finish the job so mentally he knows he can do that, AJ doesn’t have that mental edge as he was dropped four times and unable to continue, boxing is 80% mental and he is in a very hard place to come back from. Ruiz KO/TKO."
"Was the Ruiz Jr stoppage of Anthony Joshua a freak result? Well, we are going to find out in December.
It's a hard one to predict as we dont know if AJ was off-form, if Ruiz has the beating of AJ or if Ruiz got lucky. AJ had struggled for a bit against Povetkin, a shorter stocky fighter and it could be that he struggles against these type of fighters. You would imagine AJ will be preparing better than ever before to try and redeem himself, Ruiz might find it more difficult with the added pressure going into the rematch, he wont be the overwhelming underdog anymore.
I can see Joshua knocking Ruiz out in the third round. On the same hand I can see Ruiz causing AJ similar problems to the first fight, using his fast hands and out boxing Joshua.
It's an intriguing fight. If I have to pick one I would probably pick Ruiz Jr, I think he might just have Joshua's number."
British featherweight champion
"I’m going for a tight AJ points win.
He has the natural attributes (height and reach) to outbox Ruiz, he just needs the concentration and discipline not to get drawn into a fight. If he hasn’t learnt and adjusted from the last fight, then it’ll be a repeat.
Ruiz has shown, up close, he’s the much better fighter. AJ needs to make this a long, boring fight by keeping the dangerous, shorter man at bay, and definitely mustn’t trade up close.
Ruiz is very cute inside and very well schooled. He massively shocked me and the coolness shown after the worse possible start, with the knockdown in round three, shows this man is for real, he’s had far more time to prepare this time, so it’s going to be a very interesting fight.
Really excited because I believe every good match deserves a rematch."
"I wholeheartedly believe in Anthony Joshua. I felt he underestimated Andy Ruiz in their first meeting.
He needs to fight long, use his skills and his physicality and not fall into Ruiz's game plan and fight in close because the shorter fighter usually wins that way."
Promoter, EC Box Promotion
"I think that the Rematch is Dangerous for AJ. If he not fight in his distance and try to go the full distance he will loose again. Ruiz is very dangerous in short distance. AJ must keep him in away with his jab. For Ruiz it will be a very confident fight. The pressure is by AJ... the hab is his key to win."
American singer/songwriter/guitarist and boxing superfan
"This fight is the death knell of Anthony Joshua's career.
There is no way Anthony Joshua can beat Andy Ruiz Jr. in a natural, neutral environment given what we saw in the first match. Ruiz's overwhelming power, speed, mass and ability to take high-tier power shots is too much for an up and down, glass-chinned, Euro-style fighter like Joshua to overcome.
Thus, cue the Dubai situation. Is it natural? No, it's controlled. Is it neutral? No, it's skewed in favor of Joshua. Why not the US or UK? Because Eddie Hearn knows full well the sentiments I posted in the opening of my statement are 100% true, and to lose in the UK or US again for Joshua spells the dissolution of everything Hearn has been working to build "in image" for Joshua.
What is Eddie's plan? Simple, take Ruiz to a part of the world where the time zone is "detrimental" to a fighter from the US to hope for a 'tired' Ruiz. Bollocks there; that's not doing anything. What else? Well, simply as stated before, if Joshua gets destroyed again, at least it wasn't in the US or UK, and from a promotional standpoint, that does "less damage" to the Joshua brand.
What's the real reason? Simply, to put the fight on in a nation not well known for fairness and stack the judges hoping that Ruiz's life change, extravagant spending and new-found fame equals poor training camp, bad conditioning and results in a 12 round decision where a nice, lopsided UD can be awarded to Joshua with no rematch to be seen for Ruiz, where Matchroom's narrative goes into "it was a fluke" mode.
Seriously though, what's going to happen is Joshua gets destroyed even more brutally and Ruiz going forward to unify with Wilder. This said, because Al Haymon will most likely not allow a Ruiz Jr. / Fury match, as PBC holds all the belts except the regular WBA which is held hostage by Charr."
"In my first prediction, I made it abundantly clear just how good Ruiz Jr was and how he was a far better opponent than Jarrell Miller and that he would start fast and cause problems for AJ. I did mistakenly believe that AJ would adapt and start to come on strong in the middle rounds, however.
What I saw in that first fight were two completely different fighters, but who were almost exactly matched in ability. I strongly believe that these two could fight 10 times and it would come out as 5-5. All of the post-fight rumours about AJ having panic attacks, food poisoning etc., which were all false, were the result of AJ fans unable to accept the loss. Ruiz's win wasn't a freak victory, it was an authentic win with no excuses.
Ruiz Jr is clearly the more natural boxer, having had his first fight at the age of six. That muscle memory from a lifetime of fighting proved the difference in the first fight. When he was knocked down, he jumped straight back up, more embarrassed and shocked than hurt - his first ever time on the canvas in his career - and when AJ came in for the kill he caught a right hand on the chin that almost spun his head around 360 degrees, but he stood firm and fought fire with fire, and it paid off, as AJ was then having his turn at taking a seat. When under duress, Ruiz thrived, but Joshua didn't.
AJ’s size is his best chance of winning this rematch, if he boxes smart to keep the Mexican at bay, then he should be able to control the distance and the pace of the fight. The thing is, for me, is that I rate Ruiz as a very intelligent boxer and if anyone is going to take control of the range and pace of the fight then it will be him, especially coming into the contest with the confidence of being champion and holding a win over his opponent already.
For me, this fight is 50-50, and, although I’ll be rooting for the Brit, I think that Ruiz is just that bit better than AJ and will win on points this time, probably via split decision, it’ll be that close. Without knockdowns in the round, the scores are very evenly split but the aggression and workrate of the Mexican will help rack up the rounds in his favour, but I think there will be a lot of swing rounds that could be scored either way."
"I thought Ruiz would give Joshua some problems in the early rounds of the first fight, just purely based on his pedigree but I thought Joshua would get to him after three or four rounds. Without taking anything away from Andy Ruiz Jr, I still don't believe that Joshua was fully fit, his team have downplayed any problems in the build-up but something didn't sit right with me and I think whatever went on played a massive factor in the first fight.
I am glad Ruiz will now get the credit he deserves heading into the fight but if both men are fully fit when they met again, I think Joshua navigates the first half of the fight sensibly before taking Ruiz Jr out, somewhere between 6-10 to reclaim the belts."
Co-Founder of buymyfight.com
"By no means is AJ going to walk it as we’ve all seen over a few fights he is as susceptible to a big punch as any other heavyweight.
Ruiz fought well, like a man who will leave the ring with no regrets and that’s dangerous. However, I think if AJ does the same, he wins. For me, he stands the best chance if he comes out fighting early, looking for the KO."
British super-bantamweight champion
"I think it’s going to be a Ruiz Jr win again, for me.
Anthony Joshua couldn’t cope with Ruiz's punching ability and fast hands, and he was punching in 3-4-5 punch combinations. I've been watching AJ and he looks like his slimmed down and working a lot on footwork, but, personally, I don’t think that'd be enough.
Ruiz was a very good amateur and is a good pro. Ruiz Jr's work rate will beat anything new that AJ can bring."
Welsh Area super-lightweight champion
"I think this fight is going to Joshua.
There will be a huge confidence in Ruiz and I believe it’ll be a decision win for AJ."
"I think it goes the same as last time.
Boxing is as tough mentally, as it is physically, and I think, mentally, Ruiz will have the better of AJ this time, so I’m predicting a similar result."
Southern Area lightweight champion
"Really looking forward to this fight , I think Anthony Joshua needs to stop being a nice guy and role model and be a horrible, nasty bastard ha ha!
He can’t lose this fight, it reminds me of David Price vs Tony Thompson and if he loses again, like David did, and his confidence went and went on a losing spree after, then he’s finished.
I should add that I don’t think it’s fair to boxing fans the fight is being held in Saudi Arabia as sports fans like a drink and the Islamic laws are very strict.
What I like about Ruiz, and you find in the Irish too, they have that spirit inside and if you hurt them, they come back harder. Does Anthony Joshua have that spirit? We will find out... AJ to win by KO."