Joshua vs Ruiz 2 Judges: Will the rematch end in a draw?
It is finally here!!
The highly anticipated rematch between former champion Anthony Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) and reigning multiple title holder Andy Ruiz Jr. (33-1, 22 KOs) is upon us, and fight fans can't wait to see how the heavyweight drama unfolds in the ring.
Because both competing athletes have great KO ratios, most are expecting an all-action fight that will most likely end with a decisive and resounding knock-out! Fight fans should be reminded that a popular rematch seldom packs the same level of action as its dramatic predecessor. Should the scheduled twelve round main event hear the ringing of its final bell, here's a brief review of the three judges assigned to score the contest.
Disclaimer: In an attempt to remain objective, in a grossly subjective practice, both competing parties agreed on the assignment of one British judge (Steve Gray), one American judge (Glenn Feldman) and one neutral judge (Benoit Roussel of Canada).
Judges for the rematch between Joshua/Ruiz Jr. for the WBA/IBF/WBO/IBO Heavyweight championship
Steve Gray - Lancashire, UK
A lot like referees in California and Texas, officials of the British Boxing Board of Control are customarily required to be experienced as both referees and judges. So although Gray has been the third man in the ring in over one thousand professional bouts, he has only judged 335 professional contests. His most recent, notable and controversial scorecard was submitted this past June, when he judged the "Josh Warrington vs. Kid Galahad" IBF Featherweight World Championship.
In a fight many fans thought Kid Galahad deserved to win, Gray scored the bout (116-112) 8 rounds to 4 in favor of the incumbent title holder, Josh Warrington, based on effective aggressiveness, ring generalship, and greater activity. Although many fans felt Kid Galahad landed the cleaner, more effective and consequential punches throughout, the veteran official rewarded the greater activity and more aggressive strategy, despite the undefeated challenger landing 19 more punches overall and out-landing Warrington in 9 of the 12 rounds scored, according to BoxStat.com.
Was Gray directly influenced by Warrington's busier and more aggressive fight style, or was he influenced by the overwhelming pro-Warrington crowd in Leeds?
If influenced by style, Advantage: Ruiz,
If influenced by crowd, Advantage: Joshua
Glenn Feldman - Avon, Connecticut, USA
This 64-year-old, veteran judge has been scoring bouts since 1992, and tallied the now infamous Mayweather vs. Pacquiao super-fight in 2015, in which Glenn scored the bout (116-112) or 8 rounds to 4 in favor of Mayweather. So this experienced fight judge is no stranger to a big-fight atmosphere which carries a ton of pressure for the somewhat thankless position.
Feldman also scored Cotto vs. Mosley in 2007 (115-113, Cotto), as well as Marquez vs. Bradley in 2013 (113-115, Marquez).
Although Feldman doesn't seem to be overtly influenced by any particular style or scenario, the Bradley/Marquez bout of 2013 is a bit puzzling.
In a fight in which most ringside observers felt Bradley won convincingly, landing 15 more punches than Marquez and throwing 107 more, the US born judge scored the contest 7 rounds to 5 in favor of JMM. Bradley also seemed to be the ring general throughout the great majority of the contest, forcing Marquez to uncharacteristically take the lead. But to this Feldman's defense, it was an overall competitive fight in which Marquez did land 29 more power shots than the eventual winner.
For the most part, there doesn't seem to be any tendencies towards any particular style or scenario which could potentially sway or influence a straight-arrow like Feldman.
Benoit Roussel - Gatineau, Quebec, Canada
This veteran fight judge has scored 689 bouts since 2004, most recently ruling on the highly competitive and entertaining "Josh Taylor vs. Regis Prograis" for the IBF/WBA/WBC Super Lightweight Championship, which took place on October 26th, 2019.
A fight that was promoted as the WBSS Junior Welterweight finale, featuring two very confident and undefeated 135-pound champions, was seemingly very difficult to score. Although both men made convincing arguments inside the ring, it was Taylor who came away with the "Majority Decision" in Greenwich, London, England. Despite Prograis throwing 75 more punches over 12 rounds of action, most spectators sided with Taylor because of the Lousiana native's activity before the bout ever began.
Regis was not only undefeated, he was destroying most of his opponents with relative ease coming into the highly anticipated contest. He had an unblemished record of 24-0, 21 KOs, and stated publicly that no 140-pound fighter could go "toe to toe" with him and see the distance. To the surprise of most, Taylor not only fought Prograis in a phone booth, he seemed to get the better of most notable exchanges.
Although judges aren't supposed to be influenced by any other criteria than what's taking place inside the ring, one couldn't help but sympathize with the betting underdog who stood up to the hard-punching favorite.
To this specific judge's credit, Roussel seemed unflappable and wasn't ostensibly influenced by the crowd or any pre-fight rhetoric. The Quebec native scored the contest 114-114, while the other two judges saw the bout in favor of Taylor, 117-112 and 115-113.
In conclusion, two of the three judges have a decent to good record of accuracy with a slight red-flag or a noticeable tendency for Steve Gray favoring a specific style. If this fight goes the distance, don't be surprised if we see a draw, fight fans!! The scorecards could read:
Judge Steve Gray (116-112 in favor of Ruiz), Glenn Feldman (115-113) in favor of Joshua, and Judge Benoit Roussel (114-114) for an official Split Draw!!
Here's to hoping that we don't need the judges on Saturday night!!
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