Saturday night’s Andy Ruiz Jr upset of Anthony Joshua is still kind of settling in as reality for a lot of us, and there have to be at least some people who still haven’t even seen the damn fight.
So while you can always sign up for DAZN and check out the full fight, here’s a taste: the full, epic third round, where everything changed.
It’s a remarkable round for action. For most, Anthony Joshua had won the first two frames. There wasn’t a lot to them, but he’d seemingly done a bit more. He won the first two on my card and every official scorecard.
In the third round, though, things went haywire.
It started predictably enough; in fact, things looked like they were going to go as was expected by almost everyone coming in. Joshua lands a good right hand, then gets in close and lands a quick left hook that stuns Ruiz and puts him on his ass.
Ruiz has a look in his eyes when he goes down. There’s a bit of surprise about it, but also just a sort of, “Goddamn it” nature. He got caught. He’d never been down before. So he gets up, eyes are fine, focused, tells the referee he’s OK, and goes back to work.
But at this point, the most of us are rolling our eyes. This is the mismatch the critics said it would be. It’s laughable — the optics are bad enough, and now it’s clear it’s more than just optics.
Chris Mannix of DAZN pops in to say, “More than two minutes to go in this round. Anthony Joshua is a composed and ferocious finisher. Watch this.”
Little did he or we know that Andy Ruiz Jr was about to go full Rocky Balboa.
Joshua steps in, lands a long right, shakes Ruiz again. Uppercut gets in, not fully clean. Ruiz gets just a bit of distance and clubs Joshua with a left hook as Joshua is throwing to finish.
Joshua wobbles. The legs shake. Ruiz sees it. He continues throwing shots with both hands, overwhelming Joshua, who tumbles to the canvas.
Madison Square Garden loses its mind. 30 seconds ago they thought AJ was about to finish this. Now he’s on his ass.
Joshua gets up and has real surprise on his face. He’s also still hurt, but the fight has to go on. Joshua looks to attack to keep Ruiz away, maybe landing something big, but then ties up as soon as he can. He does that again. It’s what it is — it’s what he needs to do on unsteady legs with Ruiz looking to finish.
More hugging from Joshua. Ruiz stays calm. When he throws, Joshua clinches again. Joshua throwing and that leaves him open. Legs are still bad. Ruiz finds some space, Joshua ties him up once more. Joshua is staggering in the corner, leaning against the ropes, with Ruiz at distance before action resumes.
Joshua looking to tap to the body at range, keep Ruiz back. Ruiz, through, springs in with a right hand, catching Joshua again. Another wobbles him badly, and just like the first time, Ruiz just keeps throwing punches, to the point that Joshua cannot stand up. He’s down again, still on awful legs, and breathing heavy. Joshua’s response to the referee is, frankly, not good, as he fiddles with his trunks and the bell saves him as much as anything.
It’s not where the fight ended, that came in round seven, but it’s where the fight completely, totally changed, and it was clear that Andy Ruiz Jr was a serious problem for Anthony Joshua.
Here are the full fight highlights, focusing on the third and seventh rounds: