The winner of this weeks Fighter of the Week should be no shock to anyone. The shock happened in the ring this past weekend at Madison Square Garden, the Mecca of Boxing, was once again home to one of the great moments in boxing history. Andy Ruiz jr fought a brilliant fight to become a part of a very rare breed. A unified heavyweight champion. Ruiz a 12-1 betting underdog pulled himself up off of the canvas in round 3 to produce the round of the year, the fight of the year and the upset of the decade. Almost, no one gave Ruiz much of a chance, a late replacement for without much fanfare. Ruiz had lost his only title shot dropping a close competitive decision to Joseph Parker back in 2016, Parker went on to lose his title in one-sided fashion to Anthony Joshua last year. So there was no real reason to suspect the California kid could pull the upset.
Ruiz fought competitively in the first two rounds, probably not winning the rounds but accounting well for himself and showing that at least through the first two rounds he was competitive and fighting to win. Then the third round happened and a picture-perfect left hook dropped the challenger and the boxing world though that was it for the game challenger. However, Ruiz pulled himself up and went full steam ahead after Joshua landing a left hook of his own that stunned the champ Ruiz jumped on the staggered champion and put him to the canvas for the first time of the night. Joshua got to his feet but Ruiz stayed aggressive flooring the champ for a second time with just seconds remaining in the third round. Joshua was able to survive the round and the paced slowed in the fourth as the two boxed pretty evenly over the next two rounds. In the sixth, the champ looked fatigued and the challenger seized the moment taking control late in the round and completing the upset in the next round by putting the champ down two more times in the seventh and causing referee Mike Griffin to call a halt to the bout. A confident and newly crowned heavyweight champion said in the post-fight press conference “I knew that I could beat him, I knew my abilities would give him troubles the speed, I knew he opened up to much”
The new unified champ will have plenty of options for the rest of 2019 and as long as he holds onto his titles. AJ had a rematch clause in the contract, which he could exercise. A rematch Ruiz, a Calfornia native, wants in the Staples Center in Los Angeles but Joshua wants in the UK. It will also be easy to make a fight for undisputed status against Deontay Wilder or Luis Ortiz as both fighters are under the PBC banner. Eddie Hearn also expressed that the WBO was going to call its mandatory which is Dillian Whyte. All of those options are extremely lucrative and will make Ruiz, who was largely unknown before this weekend and his massive upset, a much bigger star in the US and abroad.