**If you haven’t seen Ruiz vs. Joshua part 2 yet, and you don’t want to know the outcome, stop reading now. Here be spoilers. You have been warned.**
If you were unaware of my obsession with boxing, you’re about to learn something new about me. I am obsessed. I am in love. Boxing is the only sport that I can say I will sit and watch with rapt attention. I’ve played soccer and I’ve played volleyball and I like both sports, but boxing does it for me.
I have been waiting for the Ruiz vs. Joshua fight since the end of their last fight on June 1. Anthony Joshua was the favorite to win. Hell, he was even my favorite to win. He’s tall, dark, good looking and at the physical peak of perfection. #truth A Brit from London with the accent and arrogance to back it up. He was set to fight Jarrell Miller, but when he failed several drug tests, Andy Ruiz Jr took his place. Ruiz was the underdog, a heavyset Mexican fighter who was relatively unknown. So when Ruiz beat Joshua the upset was huge. Everyone was in disbelief. How could a fat man beat this “Adonis”? (Their words. Not mine.) A rematch was instantly demanded.
I couldn’t wait, but the criticism of Ruiz and his weight, though shocking, was not a surprise. I’ve never been thin myself. Just this January, I was told by a doctor that if I lost weight my respiratory infection would get better. I had a respiratory infection in the middle of the winter. And he blamed it on my weight… MY WEIGHT… I have asthma, I have allergies, I have a somewhat weak immune system (I catch everything). And he blamed my respiratory infection ON. MY. WEIGHT. So, no. I was not surprised when they refused to accept Ruiz’s win because of his weight. Because he didn’t “look the part”. How could he beat such a physically perfect fighter?
I was a fan of Joshua, but I became an instant fan of Ruiz that day, and not just because he earned his win. Because I get it. I’ve never been to a doctor who didn’t tell me I was fat and needed to lose weight. No matter what I was being seen for. I’ve never matched society’s image of what makes a woman pretty. So I get it. Ruiz is not what people expect of a boxing champion.
The moment Ruiz started walking to the ring, all the commentators could do was bash him for his 16 lb weight gain and how he chose to spend his prize money. They talked about his “suspect eating habits” and his victory tour. Yet, in a video of him meeting Canelo Alvarez before the fight, they talked about how good the weight looked on him, how good he looked. So which is it? Are we here for a fashion show or to watch two men beat each other up? Maybe you should be commentating at Fashion Week in February, guys, since you’re so hung up on weight and looks. There’s a time and place for fashion policing. This isn’t it.
I expected a brawl. I expected a fight. I wanted Ruiz to get out there and defend himself against everyone saying that he got lucky, but he didn’t. Did he show up? Sure. Did he defend himself? Not really. Did he show us what he’s made of? Did he show us what he can do in the ring? Not at all. We know he can do something. We saw him get mad around round seven or eight when Joshua held his head down so he could punch him. But the bell rang and all the fight left him and it was back to defending his place in the middle of the ring, not fighting to keep the titles he won fair and square. I wanted to see him knock Joshua on his ass in defence of HIS TITLES. But he didn’t.
I expected Joshua to come out swinging to fight to regain his titles, but he didn’t. He danced. He ran. He hid. He threw some punches, but nothing impressive, really. Did he win? Sure. According to the scorecards, sure. But did he really? Can he really be proud of himself for merely surviving to see another fight? Put him in the ring with someone built like him. Tall, broad shoulders, long arms and legs, well-developed muscles. Put him in the ring with someone who looks like him. Chiseled, cut, physically perfect, handsome. Put Joshua in the ring with his true match and see what he does. Because from where I’m sitting, he can throw his hands, but he hasn’t shown me he can fight.