Pick It: TBRB #1 Andy Ruiz vs. #4 Anthony Joshua (Saturday, DAZN, 12 PM EST)
It’s the last ‘biggest’ fight of the year, literally. Three heavyweight belts, and maybe the balance of power in the division, are on the line in Saudi Arabia. Ruiz (33-1, 22 KO) makes his first defense of the WBA, IBF, IBO and WBO belts against the man he lifted them from in June. Joshua (22-1, 21 KO) tries to set right one of the most consistent economic engines in the game.
It’s a fascinating fight on almost every level. Can Joshua learn from his mistakes? Will Ruiz prove to be the sort of battler who gets even better with a belt? It’s as compelling a sporting event as the world has to offer this weekend.
Additional Shows to Watch For
Friday – ESPN+ (3 AM EST): Tszyu vs. Brubaker
For the insomniacs, the Jr. middleweight son of Hall of Fame Jr. welterweight Kostya Tszyu continues his rise. Tim Tszyu (14-0, 10 KO) faces Jack Brubaker (16-2-2, 8 KO) in the land down under. Brubaker is 3-0-1 in his last four starts.
Saturday – ESPN+ (9 PM EST): #2 Navarrete vs. Horta
Mexico’s 24-year old Emmanuel Navarrete (29-1, 25 KO) attempts his fourth WBO 122 lb. defense of the year in the main event. Opponent Francisco Horta (20-3-1, 10 KO) has won ten in a row. Also on the card, IBF 115 lb. titlist Jerwin Ancajas (31-1-2, 21 KO) will try for his eighth defense against light hitting Miguel Gonzalez (31-2, 8 KO). Gonzalez has won two straight since being stopped by Andrew Moloney as Ancajas continues to rack up stats without appearing to be genuinely tested.
Saturday – Showtime (9 PM EST): #5 Charlo vs. Hogan
WBC middleweight titlist Jermall Charlo (29-0, 21 KO) can’t do much more at middleweight right now but stay active and wait for bigger fights to develop. This time out, it will be against Dennis Hogan (28-2-1, 7 KO). Hogan came close to upsetting Jaime Munguia for a belt one division below in April and can scrap. This should be an excellent night of fights with a returned middleweight Chris Eubank Jr. against Matt Korobov and a potential war between Marlon Tapales and Ryosuke Iwasa at 122 lbs. Ruiz-Joshua II is the biggest fight on Saturday. This could well be the show of the weekend in the ring though.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]