By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Andy Ruiz Jr. is confident he would’ve knocked out Anthony Joshua emphatically if referee Michael Griffin would’ve allowed their fight to continue in the seventh round Saturday night.
Ruiz thus feels Griffin was wise to stop their scheduled 12-round fight when he did. Joshua replied, “Yes,” when Griffin asked if he wanted to continue after reaching his feet for the fourth time in their bout, but Griffin still stopped the action at 1:27 of the seventh round.
Neither Joshua nor his promoter, Eddie Hearn, complained about Griffin’s decision in the aftermath of the former champion’s shocking technical-knockout loss at Madison Square Garden.
“You know, that’s the referee’s job,” Ruiz said Sunday morning, during the post-fight press conference. “You know? The referee knows what he’s doing. If he would’ve just let it go, I just think I would’ve stopped the fight in more dramatic fashion. But, you know what? He did what he had to do and, you know, good job [by] him.”
The 29-year-old Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs), of Imperial, California, got up from a third-round knockdown, the first of his career, to drop England’s Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) twice in the third round. The bell saved Joshua in the third round because his second knockdown of that round occurred with only a few seconds left in it.
Joshua suffered his first knockdown of the seventh round with much more time remaining in it (2:27). The fourth and final knockdown Ruiz scored took place with 1:58 to go in the seventh round.
An exhausted, dejected Joshua got up for the fourth time by the time Griffin’s count reached seven. Joshua’s legs weren’t under him at that point, though, which led to Griffin stopping the fight.
Tom Brown, Ruiz’s promoter, seconded Ruiz’s remarks regarding Griffin’s performance.
“I thought the ref did a great job,” Brown said. “I was hoping he would’ve stopped it at the end of the round, when they were both down. But the ref did a great job. He was in the ring, he saw ‘em. He did his job and he did a tremendous job.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.