With Andy Ruiz Jr now officially confirmed as the replacement opponent for Anthony Joshua on June 1 at Madison Square Garden, fellow top heavyweight names Dillian Whyte and Tyson Fury have reacted to the new matchup, as has Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya.
Ruiz, who is replacing Jarrell Miller due to Miller failing three drug tests, is obviously seen as an underdog by anyone.
Whyte tells Boxing News that he doesn’t see it as competitive, which, again, puts him about on par with everybody:
“I don’t think it’s a good fight. I just think they should pay Luis Ortiz the extra money and fight him. ... I think Andy Ruiz just doesn’t hit hard enough. He’s got quick hands [but] he’s not the fittest, doesn’t look the part. But he’s a well-schooled guy and all of that. But if [Joseph] Parker can outbox him that easy, then what’s AJ going to do to him? But I understand it’s short notice and he’s saving the day so full props to him and hopefully he does well.”
On the Ortiz topic, Eddie Hearn has said repeatedly this week that he offered Ortiz $7 million for the fight. They did offer to overpay him. If you’re still working on the Ortiz camp’s initial claim of being “lowballed,” you’re working on outdated information. Ortiz’s manager even did his best to take back the statement after Hearn threatened to go public with what had really been offered (which he eventually did, anyway). I guess Ortiz could have been offered $10 million? $20 million? Ortiz’s career-high purse is nowhere even in the same sport as $7 million, let alone the same ballpark. How much should anyone have overpaid him for the fight?
Anyway, other than that, Whyte’s thoughts are, again, about the same as anyone’s. “Good luck to Andy Ruiz, but he’s not going to win.”
Tyson Fury didn’t himself make an actual comment, but did enjoy a joke he saw on the internet, posting it to his Instagram story:
Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya, who has no skin in the game on this matchup, also gave his thoughts at the Canelo-Jacobs final presser.
“I wish (Ruiz) all the best. Ruiz comes to fight,” Oscar said. “It’s gonna be difficult because Anthony Joshua’s, what, like 6’7”, 6’8”? And he’s muscular and he’s built like a freakin’ goddess, you know? Then you have Ruiz, he’s a little shorter and stubby a little, but he can fight. I think it’s gonna be a great fight.”
Not sure if “goddess” is what I’d go with, but, y’know. I mean, Wonder Woman is cool.
Ruiz (32-1, 21 KO) just fought on April 20, dominating and stopping veteran fringe contender Alexander Dimitrenko in the fifth round. He was campaigning for the spot against Joshua (22-0, 21 KO) before the fight, upped his campaign after the fight, and after a while, he got it.
Joshua-Ruiz will headline a DAZN-streamed card on June 1, which will also feature a full lighweight unification between Katie Taylor and Delfine Persoon, plus Callum Smith defending his WBA super middleweight title against someone or other.