Joshua vs Martin prediction: Lewis vs Ruddock all over again
What'll happen when newly-crowned IBF heavyweight champion Charles Martin (23-0-1, 21 KO) faces surging 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist Anthony Joshua (15-0, 15 KO) at O2 Arena in London on Saturday?
Joshua is a big favorite but some, like lineal champion Tyson Fury, are predicting a Martin win, insisting the latter's presumed edge in experience will rise to the fore.
In determining a prediction for Joshua vs Martin, I couldn't help but think back to October 31, 1992.
There are some similarities, indeed.
For on that night, Halloween, a young gold medalist who many thought was still a bit 'wet behind the ears' faced a legitimate top 3 or 4 heavyweight.
Lennox Lewis vs Razor Ruddock.
Mike Tyson was in prison, and Lewis and Ruddock faced off in a high profile WBC title eliminator. The winner, of course, was supposed to face the winner of the undisputed title fight between Evander Holyfield and Riddick Bowe.
Like Joshua vs Martin, Lewis vs Ruddock was staged in the UK and the local fella was a fan favorite who was projected to be something special.
However, having given Mike Tyson all he could handle (despite losing) in their two meetings in 1991, Razor Ruddock was the presumed, natural top seed, givenTyson was locked up.
Lewis had yet to defeat a top-flight opponent while Ruddock had gone nearly 19 rounds in two action-packed wars with the ferocious Tyson, and annihilated heavyweight former belt-holders Bonecrusher Smith and Michael Dokes who were still considered formidable at the time.
But despite Lennox's 21-0 record, many of us still thought he lacked experience, refusing to give Lewis full credit for his deep amateur pedigree. Conversely, we gave Ruddock too much credit, ignoring that he hadn't beaten a top 6 or 7 heavyweight in prime condition either.
In that All Hallow's Eve bout, Lewis introduced the boxing world to what would become one of the most devastating shots in heavyweight history - the Lewis right hand. He'd use it to good effect that evening, flooring Ruddock three times en route to earning a second-round TKO.
"We have a great new heavyweight on the boxing scene," HBO analyst Larry Merchant yelled moments after the fight was halted.
... And the rest is history. Lennox would become an all-time great.
Will Joshua vs Martin produce a 'great new heavyweight on the boxing scene?'
At 15-0, 15 KO, has Anthony Joshua progressed as much as the 21-0, 19 KO version of Lennox Lewis who knocked out Razor Ruddock?
Answer: Probably not
But is Charles Martin, at 23-0-1, 21 KO, as established as the Razor Ruddock (then 27-3-1, 21 KO) who lost to Lewis?
Like Lewis vs Ruddock, Joshua vs Martin will answer a lot of questions.
But similar to Lewis before him, Joshua seems to have the superior pedigree and athleticism, as well as an edge in overall career momentum.
The Brit simply looks like a star in the ring.
Joshua vs Martin prediction: A Martin win wouldn't be a shocker but look for Joshua to deliver a Lewis-like performance.
Joshua TKO 4 Martin