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Ruiz v. Joshua 2: Will weight play a factor in the rematch?

One of the biggest rematches in boxing history has finally arrived, as Andy Ruiz Jr. will look to go 2-0 against Anthony Joshua. Fighting in Saudi Arabia, both fighters won’t have any hometown advantage. Ruiz’s goal is to show his shocking win over the former heavyweight champion wasn’t a fluke, while Joshua is hoping to get back to the top of the boxing world.

During the first fight, Ruiz (33-1) weighed 268lbs and was considered unfit to compete. This time around, however? The current WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO Heavyweight Champion ballooned up to 283lbs. On the other side, Joshua (22-1) came into Saturday’s fight at 237lbs, ten pounds less compared to the fight in June.

https://twitter.com/DAZN_USA/status/1202965769363054593?s=20

No matter how you put it, that is an astonishing weight difference. More importantly, the gain by Ruiz is extremely interesting. According to ESPN, this is the heaviest Ruiz has been since he was about 290 in his first two pro fights. This is also the lightest Joshua has been since he was 236.5 in 2014.

Will the dramatic weight difference be a factor in the fight? Keep in mind that Ruiz was the heavier one the first time around and nobody gave him a chance. It is something to wonder, though, as to how Ruiz gained all that weight. During a media conference call, it was revealed by trainer Manny Robles that Ruiz has his own personal chef. It appears obvious that Ruiz and his team wouldn’t do anything to sabotage his chances of another win over Joshua. Having on a sombrero and covered up, perhaps there are mind games at work.

“I was already the same weight as the last fight this morning,” Ruiz stated to DAZN following the weigh-ins. “I had to wait until almost 5 p.m. to get on the scale, so I already had my breakfast, lunch and dinner. I also weighed in with my sombrero and pants on, so that’s why I came in so heavy. It was a psychological thing as well.”

The conditioning of Ruiz will be something to look out for, as well as his footwork against a notoriously-fast Joshua. This time around, the latter won’t take the first Mexican heavyweight champion lightly, but will his power be affected by his weight change?

“It could be good or not,” Ruiz stated when discussing Joshua’s power. “We don’t know if he’s still going to have that same pop in his punches. It could be a disadvantage, which is why I decided to come in a little heavier in this fight. I can move him around, be a little bit stronger and have more pop in my punches.”

As we get closer to the Clash on the Dunes, questions surrounding the appearance of both men will soon come to an end. It didn’t play a huge factor heading into the first fight, as clearly evidenced by Ruiz trouncing over the taller Joshua. Fans all over the world will see if both warrior’s gambles pay off. In Ruiz’s case, the unknown is always the most dangerous.

The main event of the Saudi Arabia show featuring Andy Ruiz and Anthony Joshua is scheduled to begin today, December 7, at 3:45 p.m. ET. You can watch all the action on DAZN.

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Baseball Editor, Misc. Sports Editor. Covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a podcast, The Main Event.
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