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The Official TSS Ruiz-Joshua II Prediction Page

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The Official TSS Ruiz-Joshua II Prediction Page

Whenever a big fight comes down the pike, we like to survey members of our editorial staff to get their opinions. However, not all big fights qualify – only those in which the odds suggest that the underdog has a reasonable chance of winning. After all, what’s the point in running a survey if all the responses figure to be pretty much alike?

We did not perform this exercise for Joshua-Ruiz I because the odds were skewed too heavily in favor of Anthony Joshua. It was inevitable that Joshua would have his hand raised in triumph, or so it seemed to the vast majority of those who cover the sport.

You know the rest of the story.

STAFF PREDICTIONS

I see Joshua-Ruiz II resembling Kovalev-Alvarez. Joshua is going to fight a very technical fight behind the left jab and look to keep Ruiz at the end of that jab for much of the contest. And Ruiz will be loading up looking to land that fight altering punch like he did in the first fight. But this time, it won’t come. Joshua puts on a boxing clinic and wins a wide twelve round unanimous decision. – MATT ANDRZEJEWSKI

I’m picking Andy Ruiz for the stoppage in the late rounds. If Anthony Joshua wins it will be by knockout early but I’m betting Ruiz can handle his power. After that its Ruiz going to the body and wearing down the bigger fighter. Ninth round stoppage win for Ruiz. – DAVID AVILA

There is a saying in boxing that some fighters “look like Tarzan, fight like Jane.” It means pretty much the same thing as you can’t judge a book by its cover. It’s true, too. If beautiful, sculpted physiques are the determining factor of ring greatness, Mike “Hercules” Weaver — to be fair, a onetime alphabet champion for a hiccup or two — might have been the best heavyweight ever. Which brings us to Ruiz-Joshua II. If Andy Ruiz Jr. wolfs down all his Thanksgiving leftovers, he might show up looking even more like a Mexican Butterbean. Anthony Joshua looks like Tarzan, but in his first go at Ruiz he pretty much fought like Jane. I am sorely tempted to forget appearances and pick Ruiz, but I still have a nagging suspicion that the Joshua who got off the deck to beat Wladimir Klitschko is still present in that mass of muscles. I cast a reluctant vote for AJ, maybe on points. – BERNARD FERNANDEZ

New International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee THOMAS HAUSER agrees with his 2020 Canastota “stablemate” Fernandez. “Joshua by decision,” he writes. “But like most people I have my doubts.”

World Heavyweight King Andy Ruiz Jr. is reigning in Saudi Arabia? He must feel like Rocky Balboa getting ready for WW3 with the muscle-bound Ivan Drago on Christmas Day in Russia! Strange lands, strange laws, an imposing mountain to climb. After what I saw Ruiz do to Anthony Joshua in NYC on 6/1/19, I have to pick him to pick up where he left off. Fighting hard. Doing whatever it takes to win. Hurting AJ. Knocking him out in 11. – JEFFREY FREEMAN

The storyline of Anthony Joshua’s signature triumph over Wladimir Klitschko was how well Joshua handled adversity. That made his showing against Andy Ruiz all the more head-scratching. Was he overconfident? After all, Ruiz had a short training camp, having been roped in off the street, in a sense, after Joshua’s original opponent Big Baby Miller was ruled out. Perhaps Ruiz has the blueprint for beating Joshua; perhaps his style is just all wrong for Joshua — I’m really not sure — but my inclination is that the Brit will do a better job of exploiting his 8-inch reach advantage in the rematch. It wouldn’t surprise me if this fight follows the same tack as Ruiz’s fight with Joseph Parker, a distance fight with a lot of close rounds that ultimately went against the chubby Mexican-American. – ARNE LANG

What happened in the first fight? It’s been almost half a year since Ruiz shockingly defeated Joshua in one of the biggest upsets in heavyweight history and I’m still not really sure. For the longest time, I believed it was simply a tactical error made by Joshua in round three that spelled his doom. Once he suffered that first knockdown, he never recovered. But as fight week looms, part of me wonders if Ruiz just has a style that Joshua doesn’t know how to attack. Still, the greater part of me still thinks Joshua has what it takes to beat Ruiz. He’ll fight the second bout much differently this time and plod his way to a 12-round decision. The cards will be wider than most would like, but Joshua wins in most people eyes via UD in a competitive fight that reveals Ruiz’s limitations. – KELSEY McCARSON

When is a prediction not a prediction? When it defaults to some future event that subscribes the outcome. In this case it is the Ruiz-Joshua weigh in, generally speaking the final hiding place for cowards asked by their editors to turn in that prediction. But hear me out. Or rather hear out Iron Mike Tyson, here discussing Ruiz’s perceived weight loss: “I just don’t understand it.  But everybody has their own thing their vanity gets the best of them. “I’m a believer in ‘if it’s not broke don’t fix it.’ The only thing Ruiz has to do is do what he did last fight.” Tyson is unequivocally correct. Ruiz trusted himself to punch with the puncher last time around and he had the chin and the handspeed to get it done. Worst case scenario sees him a faster fighter with a better chin in a shootout; but he’s added a proviso here with his weight-loss. Ruiz’s weight makes it difficult for Joshua to bully him with his prodigious strength and is a faculty of his punch resistance. It has also been an indelible part of his ring character during his decade in the ring. Stripped of a sizeable portion, Ruiz may enhance both his speed and his gas-tank, but these are aspects in which he already out-strips Joshua; the benefits, therefore, do not outstrip the detriment. That said there is likely a sweet spot around 245 where Ruiz reaps the benefits of size without the loss of familiarity nor bulk and at this poundage or above, I’ll pick the Mexican to once again out-punch his svelter foe. Joshua, for his part, appears to have slimmed down too, perhaps looking to enhance his own speed and stamina. Both will be necessary if he is, as many British fight fans insist, intent on boxing and moving despite all evidence to the contrary of his being able to sustain this over a twelve-round fight. But watch those scales. I can’t remember a time in heavyweight competition where they meant as much.” – MATT McGRAIN

So preposterous was the outcome in the first fight that trying to come up with a prediction for the rematch seems like a comically futile endeavor. Here goes, anyway: If Ruiz is able to wade through another Joshua left hand-right uppercut, he may have his hands raised again. Ruiz is the better fighter, and Joshua, despite his overarching physical advantages, has no capable answer for the pudgy Mexican on the inside. If Joshua can stay disciplined for 12 rounds, working behind his jab, one could see him winning a snoozer of a decision; but one suspects his stamina will become an issue. Still, for all of the question marks surrounding Joshua’s mental state, his chin, etc., his punching power is genuine, so it’s entirely possible that he decks Ruiz inside five rounds. Of course, anything seems possible, even in the deserts of Saudi Arabia. Ruiz TKO8 – SEAN NAM

There are a lot of “ifs” in this one. The relatively small amount of weight that Ruiz lost (5-8 pounds) will make him lighter on his feet and even more dangerous, but he needs to couple that with a competitive fire and attitude. The purchase of a Rolls Royce and mansion is not a good sign. Meanwhile, Anthony Joshua is doing exercises that reportedly are elongating his musculature. If so, that’s a smart move. Muscularity and attendant vascularity, with exceptions like Holyfield, are not necessarily compatible with flexibility. If AJ can come in loose (rather than overly tight like the last time) and without the element of surprise, I see him fighting tall (using a superior jab coupled with sharp crosses) and keeping Ruiz at bay while winning a decision or even perpetrating a mid-to-late round stoppage. Remember, we are talking about a guy who beat Wlad Klitschko, Dillian Whyte, Joseph Parker, Alexander Povetkin, and many other solid opponents. – TED SARES

Who wins? The “sportswashing” government of Saudi Arabia as DAZN trumps global morality with viewers like me. Willfully or not, we all bow at the altar of Plutus. Follow the money and that probably means that barring another delightful surprise, Matchroom meal ticket Joshua takes back the belts in a cautious display while Ruiz’s payday keeps him from any loser status. – PHIL WOOLEVER

OBSERVATION: An interesting diversity of opinion. Reading through the lines, the most common thread was that this is a tricky fight to handicap and that no outcome would be all that surprising.

The graphic is by Colorado comic book cover artist ROB AYALA whose work is attracting a lot of buzz. Ayala’s specialty is combat sports. Check out more of his work at his web site fight posium.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel  

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‘Tank’ Davis has a lot in common with his FORMER Promoter Floyd Mayweather

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The first big boxing card of 2023 takes place on Jan. 7 in Washington, D.C., where Gervonta “Tank” Davis defends his WBA world lightweight title against Hector Garcia with Jaron “Boots” Ennis and Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade, among others, in supporting bouts. It’s a SHOWTIME ppv.

In the past, Davis has split his training camp between Baltimore and Las Vegas where he conducts his workouts at the gym owned by his mentor, Floyd Mayweather Jr. However, that relationship has been severed. Speaking to a FightHype reporter at a press conference in Washington, Davis confirmed that he was free agent. Although it was common knowledge that they had been feuding, it was apparently an amicable break-up. “Much love to Mayweather promotions,” said Tank diplomatically.

Mayweather was still an active boxer when he took Davis under his wing. “The ultimate goal,” said Mayweather, “is for him to break all of my records.” Currently 27-0 with 25 KOs, Gervonta is a shade more than halfway there.

Floyd did more than groom Davis to be a future world champion. As noted in a widely- circulated 2015 story, Davis, then 20 years old, “traveled on Floyd’s private jet, participated in Mayweather’s public appearances, observed his business dealings, and took a ride with him on his yacht.”

It was inevitable that Davis, raised in a West Baltimore slum, would inherit Mayweather’s zest for the high life. He shares his mentor’s fondness for bling and for bodacious wheels. Within the last three months, he purchased a customized McLaren 765LT Coupe, one of only 765 manufactured by the British auto-maker, and a widebody Lamborghini Urus.

One surmises that he purchased the Urus to replace the Lamborghini SUV that was damaged in a hit-and-run accident in Baltimore in the early morning hours of Nov. 5, 2020. Four individuals in another vehicle were injured when Davis or his driver ran a red light and left the scene without stopping to render aid. Gervonta will have his day in court on Feb. 16 and the outcome could potentially scupper a Spring megafight with Ryan Garcia.

This was not Davis’s first brush with the law and in this way too his career has paralleled that of his mentor.

In 2015, he was charged with aggravated assault for sucker-punching a childhood friend at his home gym in Baltimore. In November of last year, police in Coral Gables, Florida, charged him with Simple Battery Domestic Violence after a video surfaced of him grabbing his former girlfriend and mother of his child by the neck at a charity basketball game.

As for Floyd Mayweather Jr, he continues to keep his name in the news for reasons that have nothing to do with boxing. Earlier this month, TMZ reported that he visited an art gallery in Miami and spent $3.1 million for “between 10 and 12” paintings including four by Andy Warhol. Yesterday it was reported that the semi-retired, 45-year- old boxer had an interest in purchasing an NBA team and that he had a $2 billion offer on the table to acquire a franchise he would not identify.

Previously he got involved in the sport of NASCAR. Mayweather’s The Money Team (TMT) Racing co-sponsored Conor Daly, a star driver from the IndyCar circuit who finished 35th in his NASCAR cup series debut at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 8.

Mayweather’s partner in his Conor Daly “investment” is Milton “Todd” Ault III, the founder of a company called BitNile, described as “a diversified holding company specializing in disruptive technologies, including cryptocurrencies and innovations in the field of decentralized finance.”

ault

Ault

On web sites and in disreputable business magazines, Ault is described as a “successful investor, entrepreneur, CEO, social media personality, motivational speaker and mentor.” In 2009, various publications reported that he was being sued by a group of 12 international hedge funds for bilking them out of $4.2 million, money ostensibly intended for developing a software program for stock trading and instead used to fund “pornographic-related endeavors” including a ‘’swingers’ ranch” in the Catskill Mountains.

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Tiger Jack Fox took a Circuitous Route to the International Boxing Hall of Fame

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Tiger Jack Fox was 47 years old, or thereabouts, when he suffered a fatal heart attack in front of a movie theater in his adopted hometown of Spokane, Washington. Three years earlier, he suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. He died broke.

Fox’s memorial service was held at 8 am on a Friday morning at Spokane’s landmark Lady of Lourdes Cathedral. It attracted a small turnout. Most of those in attendance were schoolchildren from the school that sat next door and was run by the Diocese. They likely knew nothing about the decedent who had passed away three days earlier on April 6, 1954.

A significantly larger turnout will pay homage to Fox this coming June during Hall of Fame Weekend in Canastota, New York. This morning, Dec. 7, it was announced that Fox, who fought mostly as a light heavyweight, would be going into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in the Old Timer’s category. He will join a long list of posthumous honorees who died in relative obscurity.

There’s a lot of mystery — not to mention a lot of poppycock — surrounding the man born John Linwood Fox, not only his true age but his birthplace: Georgia? Indiana? Minnesota? He had his earliest confirmed fight in 1928 and fought until 1950, amassing a record of 138-24-12 with 91 KOs in documented fights. The key word here is “documented.” In his early years when he tramped about the northwest and southwest, many of his fights were off the grid, so to speak. This was true of many fighters of his era, especially journeymen that shared his pigmentation.

Professional boxers and wrestlers that plied the hinterland customarily roamed from territory to territory, hunkering down with a local promoter until they exhausted their pull. At various times, Fox hung his hat in Picher, Oklahoma, Springfield, Missouri, Terre Haute, Indiana, Salt Lake City and Portland, Oregon before taking up residence in Spokane where he had 11 fights in 1936-37 and several more in neighboring Idaho.

It was during his Terre Haute phase that Fox had one of his more interesting bouts, a 10-round contest in Indianapolis with veteran George Godfrey, the Leiperville Shadow, a former sparring partner of Jack Dempsey. The bout was billed for the World Colored Heavyweight Title.

Godfrey, who out-weighed Tiger Jack 257-181, was too big for Fox and got the decision in an uninteresting fight, keeping the gold-tinted belt that was put on display in the window of a drug store for promotional purposes.

Fox had at least 90 fights under his belt when he made his New York debut at Madison Square Garden in 1937. His match with unheralded Elton “Tex” Irwin was relegated to the walk-out fight following a middleweight title tiff between Freddie Steele and Babe Risko. Fox had Irwin on the canvas three times before the match was halted 29 seconds into the second round.

Fox had 11 more fights in New York before the year was out, seven at Rockland Palace, a Harlem dance hall, and was undefeated in New York rings prior to his 1939 engagement at Madison Square Garden with Melio Bettina in a bout sanctioned for the New York version of the world light heavyweight title. Fox was favored but didn’t bring his “A” game and was stopped in the ninth frame.

Fox, who fought only in spurts, had a handy excuse for his poor showing. Two months earlier, uptown in Harlem, he was stabbed in the chest by a woman wielding a 10-inch razor knife as he left a late-night party. He lost a considerable amount of blood and according to some reports suffered a punctured lung.

It was at Rockland Palace that Fox scored what in hindsight would come to be seen as one of his biggest wins. On May 22, 1937, he stopped Jersey Joe Walcott in the eighth round, knocking him down for the count with a right cross to the jaw. Twelve months later, he defeated Jersey Joe again, winning a clear 10-round decision on Walcott’s turf in Camden, New Jersey.

These two wins undoubtedly got Tiger Jack over the hump with the IBHOF electorate. A late bloomer, Walcott went on to win the world heavyweight title and preceded Fox into the Canastota shrine by 33 years.

Some of Fox’s setbacks were likely pre-arranged. Against white opponents, black fighters often had to “do business” to keep the checks rolling in. When fighting members of their own race for a percentage of the gate, black boxers often tailored their exertions to how much money was in the till. Fox fought many stinkers and it didn’t help that he was by nature a counter-puncher whose style – notwithstanding all those knockouts – wasn’t particularly fan-friendly.

This was the second straight year that the Old Timer’s committee selected a fighter identified with the state of Washington. Last year, the honor went to Sequim native Tod Morgan who like Tiger Jack Fox died young (he was 50) and died a pauper. Only one other Apple State fighter is in the Hall of Fame, the aforementioned Freddie Steele, the pride of Tacoma, inducted in 1999.

Arne K. Lang’s latest book, titled “George Dixon, Terry McGovern and the Culture of Boxing in America, 1890-1910,” has rolled off the press. Published by McFarland, the book can be ordered directly from the publisher (https://mcfarlandbooks.com/product/clash-of-the-little-giants) or via Amazon.

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R.I.P. Hall of Fame Referee Mills Lane whose Life Story was Worthy of a Big Screen Biopic

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He probably never should have lasted as long as he did. After famed boxing referee Mills Bee Lane III suffered a debilitating stroke in March 2002, which left him partially paralyzed and unable to speak, the consensus medical opinion was that he it would be touch-and-go for him to survive the first few weeks. Even when he did make it through that critical early stage of recovery, it seemed a medical certainty that the feisty former Marine, at 65, could expect no more than a life expectancy of five years, tops, and most likely as a virtual prisoner in his own body.

But Mills Lane had been the third man in the ring long enough to discern when certain fighters, well behind on the scorecards and unlikely to find a path to victory, had shown enough resolve and moxie to go the distance if possible and make it to the final bell. It is a disposition of proud defiance he admired in others, and had exhibited himself on numerous occasions as an unapologetic free spirit. On those occasions when one must choose to be a leader or a follower, the little guy with the bald head and raspy voice always chose to stride boldly to the front.

For 20 years Lane was unable to verbally communicate with the family he so dearly loved, but there are some things, including goodbye, that a father need not express in words to make his feelings known. And, so, Mills Lane, at 85, silently took his leave of a life that mostly had been well spent in the early morning hours of Tuesday, Dec. 6, with his wife, Kaye, and sons Terry and Tommy, and their wives, at his bedside in the patriarch’s adopted hometown of Reno, Nev.

“He was on hospice at home, in Reno, with the family around him when he passed away between 2 and 2:30 in the morning, but his time of death wasn’t officially recorded until 3:16,” older son Terry noted. “He had a rough couple of days. It all kind of came out of nowhere and things progressed quickly. My brother and I got back to Reno this past Thursday to be with my mother at Dad’s bedside. Monday was one of the worst days of my life. Dad was just out of it. All we could do was whatever we could to make him comfortable.

“The reason we put him on hospice was he was beginning to have renal failure. I presume the stroke he suffered in 2002 was a contributing factor because he was in a pretty poor condition for 20 years.”

That Mills Lane was a respected and highly regarded referee is a given, and not just because he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in the Non-Participant category in 2013, which in and of itself is a story that bears telling. But it is the winding road this son of Deep South wealth and privilege undertook to success on his own terms that makes him unique, so much so that his history of obstinate self-discovery almost screams out for close-examination by a Hollywood screenwriter.

Mills Lane began life as the patrician scion of a banking dynasty in Savannah, Ga., with extensive holdings in South Carolina. How wealthy were the Lanes? So much so that the Mills B. Lane House in historic downtown Savannah, completed in 1907, was hailed as a “jewel of the antebellum South” when it was placed on the market in 2007 with an asking price of $7.6 million. It seems a safe bet that no other future referee was raised in a mansion that boasted a marble entrance, Corinthian columns, parquet floors, 29 handcrafted canvas murals, nine fireplaces, five bedrooms, eight full baths, three half-baths and a large, in-ground pool.

Young Mills’ father went so far as to have already paid his son’s tuition at a prestigious Midwestern university, where he was to study agriculture. But being a banker and/or gentleman farmer didn’t especially appeal to the son, so he chucked it all in 1958 to enlist in the Marines. He took up boxing during his service stint, becoming All-Far East welterweight champion. When his hitch was up, he enrolled at the University of Nevada in Reno which was reputed to have a boxing team of some repute. He won an NCAA boxing championship at UNR, went 10-1 as a pro and from there continued to make his mark as a deputy sheriff, district attorney, two-time judge of Washoe County Circuit Court and, of course, boxing referee.

It was as a referee, however, that Mills Lane began to make his mark not only nationally, but internationally, working such high-profile and controversial bouts as Muhammad Ali-Bob Foster (1972), Larry Holmes-Gerry Cooney (1982), the Evander Holyfield-Riddick Bowe II “Fan Man” fight (1993), Oliver McCall’s crying jag against Lennox Lewis (1997) and, most notably, the Evander Holyfield-Mike Tyson II “Bite Fight” (1997). It might have been coincidence or possibly fate when Lane got the assignment for Holyfield-Tyson II when the originally tapped ref, Mitch Halpern, backed out when Tyson’s handlers objected to him and was replaced by the guy known as a lightning rod for fights sure to be branded into the public’s memory.

“The visibility of the `Bite Fight’ made Mills even more mainstream,” recalled Marc Ratner, former executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. “It almost seemed like he worked all the Super Bowls of crazy fights.”

Terry Lane said that the visibility of the “Bite Fight” was such that the producers of the (eventual) Judge Mills Lane TV show decided that their courtroom arbiter of justice just might be the same guy that had the stones to disqualify Tyson.

It was while at home in Reno, by himself, that Lane suffered the stroke that made him voiceless, unable to call out for assistance. Terry Lane is unsure how long he lay on the floor of his home, but the delay did not help.

“A few months earlier, our family had become bicoastal,” Terry Lane recalled for a story that appeared for TSS in 2014. “My brother had just begun high school in New York City after moving there from Reno. All of us were kind of going back and forth between Reno and New York. I had just started college in New York around that time. My mom, my brother and I were all back East and my dad was in Reno, by himself. We really don’t know how long it was before he was found. It might have been a day possibly as long as two days. We don’t know for sure.”

As if all that he already was facing weren’t enough, Mills had a fall in June 2013, almost to the day a full year before he was to be inducted into the IBHOF. His attendance for that event, which would have been considered extremely unlikely in any case, suddenly appeared to be impossible.

“When I got the call (from IBHOF executive director) Ed Brophy, I just assumed it would be Tommy and me going to Canastota and making a quick thank-you like we’ve done dozens of times before,” Terry said in 2014. “But Dad was really into it. I know he was very happy to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He can’t speak, but he still can emote and be expressive.”

Amazingly – well, maybe not so amazingly given who and what Mills Lane always had been before the stroke – he threw himself into the task of learning how to walk again, however haltingly. And when the Lanes accompanied their father to central New York, the miracle that couldn’t possibly happen became reality.

“I could not believe that we were able to attend,” Terry said. “Ed Brophy and his team, God bless ’em, made our lives so much easier at that time. It was a highlight for Dad to be there during a time when he truly was a prisoner in his own body.

“When he first had the stroke in 2002, we were told that his life expectancy was five years, maybe. Another massive stroke, which was always possible, would just take him out. So, in our own way, our family has been mentally prepared for this moment for 20 years. But then my dad never followed any accepted timeframe from for the living of his life. He lived way beyond any doctor’s expectations, and in that time, he still was someone who not only was a disabled stroke victim, but he was getting older. He turned 85 on Nov. 12 of this year.”

In other words, what the stroke started finally was finished by the aging process that affects everyone. Rest in peace, Mr. Lane. In sickness and in health, you stood as a beacon of hope for everyone who understands that every fight is capable of being won to some degree.

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