Joshua’s Upset and Masterclass Performance Against Ruiz
ElevateNews takes a look at the previous fights of great boxers and the similarities with Anthony Joshua, Andy Ruiz second fight.
Muhammad Ali became the greatest boxer that ever lived not because he knocked out all his opponents but because he managed to beat those who had earlier beaten him.
One of them was Ken Norton who fought Ali three times, winning one, losing two. Norton was described by Ali’s corner in one of their trilogies as an awkward pugilist with no good steps, yet he gave Ali tough time.
The two times that Ali beat Norton were through split and unanimous decisions. No Knockout as Norton went to query the decision of his last fight with Ali. To Norton, he had won all the three but the politics of boxing had denied him the honour. Joe Frazier was another warrior who fought Ali thrice. He lost two and won one.
Besides these great fights was the trilogy of Evander Holyfield and Riddick Bowe. In these, Bowe who is popularly called “the big daddy” defeated Holyfield twice.
It was one of the masterclasses in boxing school. Bowe used his jabs tremendously against Holyfield to earn himself three belts, including the most prestigious WBC. He later threw the belts in dustbin to duck a fight with Lewis who had become so skillful at that level. Both of them had earlier fought in the Olympic in which Lewis ran away with the gold and Bowe with the silver medal.
Another classic was Lennox Lewis vs Holyfield with Lewis having the upper hand, winning one and drew one. Holyfield never beat Lewis, even the first draw was a travesty of justice against the Brit.
In 1978, the world of boxing witnessed a classic between Ken Norton and Larry Holmes. The 15 round tension soaked match was won by Holmes via split decisions of just one point.
The span of a boxing bout was 15 rounds then. Toe to toe, pounds for pounds, boxers hit themselves to the delight of their fans. Those who had good in jabs made boxing interesting and brought out the real business of it.
However, Mike Tyson changed the face of boxing with his speed, pace and powerful hooks that sent most of Ali’s generation out of the ring.
But unfortunately, most boxing fans now use Tyson style as a yardstick to define the game, which should not be. No doubt, Tyson in his own right was a masterclass, extremely talented despite his size.
He has unique steps in the ring with devastating punches. He was the second after George Foreman to carry sledgehammer in his gloves but his power was subdued by a less tactical but more disciplined Buster Douglas when they met in 1990.
Tyson’s loss to Douglas was an upset until Lewis jabs and the effective use of the ring just like Ali revived the real boxing culture. Lewis was a marathon fighter who would always wait for an opportunity to knock his opponent out. He always prepared to win his fights on points because of his long reach, yet he suffered an upset from Hazim Rahman.
Today, there is a resurgence of boxing masterclass and I think the real boy is Anthony Joshua. The Joshua/Ruiz 2 was a masterclass because each of the 12 rounds recorded a visible jab instead of a slap.
Many of these jabs came from the outside. It takes discipline, energy and absolute adherence to game plan to box your opponent without being hurt too. A few boxers do that.
Joshua used the ring. He hid so perfectly from the heavy shots of Andy Ruiz Jr but landed some good shots that could be used for quality boxing advertisement.
Not all bouts could be won by knockout and not all matches should shed blood. The science of boxing goes beyond that of wrestling. It is dangerous, yet entertaining.
If Joshua will keep the pace, he will be remembered like Ali, Lewis and Tyson. He should also learn from his compatriot, Tyson Fury whose gangling style has helped to humiliate the American Deontay Wilder last year.
Wilder, though powerful and most athletic of the heavyweight division for now, his style is dreary and awkward. He can harm any quality boxer just as Leon Spinks did to Ali but Deontay may not be good enough for boxing commercial and when he quits either by beating him or resignation, he may not have been among the greats because he is yet to fight a champion.