Joshua vs Ruiz 2: Will Diriyah weather give AJ an advantage?
Saudi Arabia will reportedly spend as much as £80m ($98 Mil) to stage the rematch and promoter Eddie Hearn received more than £33m ($40 Mil) to bring the fight to Diriyah; But is there another reason Hearn was so hellbent on Saudi Arabia?
Obviously, the location is controversial for political reasons but what no one seems to be talking about is the weather.
It gets pretty warm in the desert. In fact, it's 100 degrees there as this is being typed... And, apparently, a makeshift outdoor arena is being constructed for the event.
How will presumably higher temperatures impact the fighters, especially Ruiz who weighed 268 lbs for the first fight?
Joshua vs Ruiz 2
December 7, 2019
Diriyah, Saudi Arabia
Joshua, who weighed 248 lbs last time, is rumored to be coming in extra lean for the rematch and could be as much as 30 pounds or more lighter than Andy on fight night. Should that happen, the temperature could have a tremendous impact on Joshua vs Ruiz 2.
Did Hearn select a warm weather location for the rematch with Ruiz's size in mind?
And will the big fella, whose activity rate in the ring is usually high, gas out if it goes past five rounds?
Thrilla in Manila
Let's go back to the third fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in Manila in 1974.
Ali retained his world heavyweight title when Frazier's corner refused to allow Joe to continue after Round 14. It was an epic fight and the heat played a critical role.
Dr. Ferdie Pacheco, Ali’s boxing physician, said that the heat “was as intense as any fight I’ve ever been in.” He added that the “heat in Manila is an ‘I’m about to drown you in a monsoon’ type of heat. Oppressive. I had a hard time breathing."
"Do you think after the beating he took that day in Manila he went home happy and had chocolate ice cream? He g*****n near died."
Ali, himself, added, "It was like death. Closest thing to dyin’ that I know of.”
Heavyweights boxing + extreme heat = Hell
If it's a scorcher in Saudi Arabia on December 7, a lighter, leaner AJ will undoubtedly try to get Ruiz to expend as much energy as possible, early.