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Paulie Malignaggi breaks down Andy Ruiz vs Anthony Joshua rematch

Malignaggi says he expects Joshua to be better mentally prepared for this fight.

Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

In this video interview with Fight Hype, Paulie Malignaggi puts his analyst cap on to break down his thoughts on the upcoming Andy Ruiz vs. Anthony Joshua rematch. Check out some of his thoughts on the fight...

Malignaggi on Joshua enforcing an immediate rematch with Ruiz:

“I think you’re almost in a position where you have to because Joshua is a guy who unified the titles and you don’t wanna risk those titles becoming un-unified and all the politics coming into play. Because of the situation it kind of leaves you in a bad position if you don’t take the immediate rematch. So whether you agree with it or not, you kinda have to do it, you know, because otherwise you’re gonna put a lot of the work you did, you’re gonna risk it becoming undone even if you fight him later.

“I mean granted, the devils advocate can say ‘Well what if he loses again? He’s gonna risk undoing the work anyway.’ Sure, of course, but you roll the dice. This is what boxing is, right?”

On Ruiz getting a little more vocal on social media lately:

“Now you’re seeing the real Andy. Andy’s a fighter, he has an edge to him. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I think all fighters have an edge to them, you know? If you thought Andy Ruiz was just showing up like a happy-go-lucky guy the fight week then he played you for a sucker. He’s a fighter and a top contender and he was a top contender before that fight.

“This wasn’t Butterbean. He might look like chubby but he’s not Butterbean. He was a guy who was a legitimate heavyweight contender, so if you believe he was just showing up as a happy-go-lucky guy you got played for a sucker. And now I think you’re seeing more of a true side, more of the fighter side of Andy Ruiz where there’s a bit of spite in him, you know? And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. He a fighter and that’s what he’s gonna do. It doesn’t make him a bad guy, it doesn’t make him a nice guy, it just makes him a fighter, and that’s what fighters do.”

On if both fighters put on a better performance in the rematch:

“Whether you see a better Ruiz or not, I don’t think you got to see all of Ruiz. I don’t think he had to use his whole arsenal to get Joshua out of there. He fought a pretty basic fight and he got Joshua out of there so you may see a better Ruiz because Joshua may force a better Ruiz as well, and also Joshua will come with a mentally stronger game plan and physically he’ll obviously come with a stronger game plan.

“So in that regard you expect to see a better Joshua, so in that regard you expect to see more Ruiz, a better Ruiz. Ruiz will have to show more of himself. You didn’t see all of Ruiz in that fight, he fought a pretty basic fight and the fight ended.”

On if this rematch will be more psychological for Joshua considering what happened the first time, and if Joshua could have doubts after Ruiz lands his first good shot:

“It can be but it also can be something in Joshua’s mind — only he knows that. Sometimes only you know when you get hit. AJ strikes me as a mentally strong fighter. When I saw the Klitschko fight I really believed like ‘wow, this guy got up off his ass in front of 90,000 people and put this together when he was out,’ you know what I mean? He was almost out of the fight and he lost the next couple of rounds after that but refused to wither away and then eventually got this guy out of there.

“To me that was impressive. Not because of physically stopping Klitschko, but what he did because of mentally — stabilizing himself in such a storm. I think in the Ruiz fight when you don’t expect a tough fight and you’re in a tough fight, your mind can never stabilize itself. I think he went into the Klitschko fight expecting a tough fight so when it got tough, mentally he stayed with it. Maybe in the Ruiz fight he took him lightly... Maybe from a mental perspective he knows how dangerous Ruiz can be now and he’ll have more of an edge to him.”

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