IQ key to Ruiz-Joshua fight

Mexican-American heavyweight boxing champion Andy Ruiz Jr, left, and British challenger Anthony Joshua face each other, as Eddie Hearn looks on during their press conference in Riyadh on Wednesday. / AYEZ NURELDINE / AFP
Mexican-American heavyweight boxing champion Andy Ruiz Jr, left, and British challenger Anthony Joshua face each other, as Eddie Hearn looks on during their press conference in Riyadh on Wednesday. / AYEZ NURELDINE / AFP

The winner in the rematch between unified world heavyweight boxing champion Andy Ruiz Jr and dethroned champion Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia tomorrow night will be determined by the degree of intelligence, more than anything else.

Ruiz will defend the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight belts against the man he dethroned via a seventh- round technical knockout in June. Ruiz came on as a late replacement for Jarrel Miller, who failed three dope tests.

Ruiz and Joshua have both lost just once in their careers and are both aged 30. Their punching power is pretty even. Ruiz has knocked out 22 of his 33 victims, while Joshua has 21 knockouts in 22 wins.

Ruiz is more skilful than Joshua, who is still stuck in the amateur style of fighting.

Boxing isn't only about who's faster, or who's stronger. It's not just about who can throw more punches, or who can hit harder. Sometimes it's about who can use their brain to out-think their opponents, and that will be the issue between Ruiz and Joshua.

Boxing has long been likened to chess, and that is because strategy and tactics play a huge role in every fight.

There have been a handful of amazing ring tacticians who used their intelligence to come up with sound game plans in the ring. Those boxers studied their opponents before a fight, gauged and read them mid-fight, and then adapted and developed strategies.

It is for all these reasons that the boxer who has a superior intelligence quotient (IQ) between Ruiz and Joshua will emerge victorious. The victor is going to be the one who can think clearly enough to see what adjustments he should make, and also has the physical skills to execute the plan.

A short-armed fighter like Ruiz cannot exploit a weakness that requires long-range punching. A slow-footed one like Joshua cannot plan to stick and move. Body and mind must work in harmony in the ring, one of the most hostile places of employment.

Top trainer Peter Smith said: "I believe Ruiz will win again. Joshua should have changed his trainer because he's no longer developing as a fighter. The higher the levels go, the harder it is going to get for Joshua. Ruiz can also take a very good punch."

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