Joshua vs Ruiz 2 odds could be tighter
Ruiz, of course, instrumented one of the biggest upsets in heavyweight history on June 1 by dominating and subsequently stopping the highly favored Brit. Since then, some experts have insisted Joshua shouldn't face Andy right away because the latter's style is not conducive to the Brit's.
And yes, despite flooring his foe and landing a few humdingers, Joshua, for the most part, appeared to be out -boxed and out-brawled by the Mexican throughout.
Joshua vs Ruiz 2 odds
So, what are the early odds for Joshua vs Ruiz 2?
AJ will open as a rough -350 favorite while the fast-handed Mexican will be a +275 underdog. The latter was about a +1200 underdog for their first fight.
It seems fans and bookies don't think Joshua was at his best in June, believing AJ took Ruiz lightly and/or had a poor training camp. The fight served as Joshua's US debut and AJ certainly made his rounds (pun not intended). Strong rumors suggest he was KO'd in sparring by Joey Dawejko, and Joshua certianly didn't appear to have him 'game face' by fight time.
...And let's not forget AJ had been preparing for Jarrell Miller who was forced to bow out in May due to multiple drug test failures.
A case can be made Joshua didn't take the fight - or his opponent - as seriously as he should. A case can also be made Ruiz is a lot better than most experts thought and might have AJ's number.
Moreover, and what many seem to forget, a case can also be made Ruiz is undefeated. His only loss to date came via a razor thin majority decision verdict to then WBO Champion Joseph Parker in a bout in the latter's native New Zealand.
Some insist Parker was the recipient of a little home cooking.
The public is still underestimating Ruiz, not wanting to believe a fighter with a dad bod can defeat an elite opponent built like a Greek god.
The Joshua vs Ruiz 2 odds should be closer if not even. Ruiz knows he can hurt, floor and KO Joshua. And the former will be even more confident in the rematch as a result.
Joshua vs Ruiz 2
December 7, 2019
Conventional wisdom says Joshua should use his reach advantage and poise to outbox the quicker Ruiz from the outside and not succumb to the lure of a brawl at close range. Can he do that effectively for 12 rounds while staying upright? And should AJ adopt that style, would Ruiz be able to solve the puzzle?
Trouble staying upright
Joshua didn't take Ruiz's punches well and was repeatedly hurt and floored 4 times in less than 7 full rounds in their first bout. Had that fight gone the distance, Joshua might have been floored 6, 7 or 8 times.
Even if AJ out-boxed Ruiz in 7 of 12 rounds in the rematch, he'd still lose if he tasted the canvas 2 or 3 three times without earning a 10-8 round of his own.
Imagine if AJ out -oxed Andy the first 2 1/2 minutes of a round and the latter unleashed a combination that floored the Brit in the stanza's waning moments? Many judges would award the round to Ruiz 10-8, incorrectly giving him 3 points for the knockdown in a round AJ would have otherwise won the round 10-9.
Joshua, if he doesn't KO Ruiz Ruiz from long range, not only has to outbox Ruiz for the majority of the fight, he must stay upright while doing so.
Location, Style Points and the A-side
Should the rematch go the distance, a close fight (with no knockdowns or equal knockdowns between the fighters) would likely favor Joshua as he'll enter the bout as the A-side again and will be fighting in his native UK where they adore him.
Also, although Andy seemed to be decisively beating AJ in the first fight, two judges had him ahead by only a point at the time of the KO while the third had Joshua up by the same margin. (57-56, 57-56 - Ruiz, 57-56 - Joshua). Joshua, like Canelo Alvarez, is a bonified star and has a sexy, aesthetically-pleasing fighting style.
Look for AJ to get the benefit of the doubt in close, hard-to-call rounds but the onus is on him to fight more flawlessly than Ruiz.