By Scott Gilfoid: Trainer Teddy Atlas believes the move by Anthony Joshua’s team to have him lose muscle weight is an attempt for them to solve the problem for what went wrong against Andy Ruiz Jr. last June. It’s a way to make sense of what happened to former heavyweight champion Joshua (22-1, 21 Kos).
Trainer Rob McCracken and the rest of Team Joshua have to find something that they can pin the blame on, and his weight is a convenient excuse.
Weight loss might not solve the probem for Joshua
Unfortunately, that’s probably not going to solve the problem. A skinny Joshua will still be just as vulnerable to Ruiz’s speedy combination punching as a muscular AJ.
It’ll be DEVASTATING for Joshua if he gets blown out again by Ruiz, because there won’t be an excuse for him to blame the defeat on. I mean, if Joshua can’t beat Ruiz while carrying less muscle, then he’ll need to accept that he’s not good enough.
Joshua and Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs) will be meeting up in three weeks on December 7 on DAZN and Sky Sports Box Office in Saudi Arabia.
Joshua’s drop in weight = desparation move
“As far as the difference in size, the first thing people are saying is he’s not on PEDs anymore, but you can’t really say that because he’s been tested,” said Atlas on his YouTube channel ‘THE FIGHT with Teddy Atlas.’ “Joshua has been tested. A lot of people would say, it means he stopped taking PEDs. No, he was tested…but maybe he got off the weight program,” said Atlas about Joshua.
“The old time trainers always thought that weights and boxing never mixed, and that you get too musclebound,” said Atlas. “A fighter should have more subtle muscles, and shouldn’t have those bulky muscles, because it takes away something from them. A lot of people felt that when he [Joshua] lost to Ruiz, he was too musclebound, and that’s part of his problem.
“So when you lose a fight like that, you start to look everywhere to see [what went wrong]. So maybe they’re looking, and thinking a part of it is he was too muscular. Now all of a sudden they want to make a change in their weight program, and in their training program regimen. That may be part of it, because in one of the videos I’ve seen, he [Joshua] did look a little different. So that could be a part of it,” said Atlas.
Joshua has got to come up with an answer for what went wrong
“A big part of it, I think, is the mental part,” said Atlas about Joshua needing to come up with an answer about what went wrong against Ruiz. “You’ve got to come up with an answer, and you’ve got to do something to satisfy the guy, ‘this next time I’m going to be different.’ He’s not going to have a tune-up or confidence builder.
“So there’s got to be something there that says, ‘Hey, this is going to be different,’ and this might be something to give him [confidence]. He needs something. You might be walking across a desert, and you need a glass of water. He needs a glass of water. That glass of water is mental belief that something tells him that something is going to be different, and that it’s not going to be the same,” said Atlas in discussing Joshua’s need for an answer.
Joshua needs to try and make sense for what happened to him, but he may not like what he finds. It would be convient if Joshua’s weight loss solves the problem for what went wrong against Ruiz, but that likely won’t do it. When comes down to it, Ruiz was simply the better fighter in every facet of the game than Joshua. It’s not surprising through.
Ruiz has been in boxing longer than Joshua, and started earlier. So the amateur pedigree isn’t there for Joshua. It doesn’t matter that Joshua won an Olympic gold medal in 2012, because that was VERY controversial.
The Olympics that year was in London, and Joshua appeared to lose three of his fights in the competition. Heck, even Joshua’s opening match against Zhang Zhilei was controversial.
Ruiz has better physical skills for the sport of boxing than Joshua. That’s the reality of it. Andy is faster, better combination puncher, and his stamina is far superior to Joshua.
Atlas: Joshua SUBMITTED against Ruiz last June
“I do think the mental part is going to be everything, because I think he submitted in that fight, and a lot of people did,” said Atlas. “He might not have done that at home [in the UK]. That wasn’t in London, that fight. He might not have done that in front of his fans.
“I know a lot of people will say that sounds strange, but in front of witnesses, his home fans that he has to live with, he might not have. But he definitely may not have gotten that $40 million earlier.
“So he’s got to come to terms with that. Do I still want to behave like a fighter? Is it still the most important thing, and more important than pain? Is it more important that ‘I need to be a champion again.’
“He needs to reconcile that, and that’s where it starts,” continued Atlas about Joshua. “That’s where it starts, whether you call it a psychiatrist, psychologist or a good trainer, because good trainers are psychiatrists and psychologists, because that’s their turf,” said Atlas.
It’s patently obvious that Joshua did submit against Ruiz in the 7th round last June. Atlas believes that the story might have been different if Joshua had fought Ruiz in front of his own boxing fans in the UK, but it’s doubtful that it would.
In Joshua’s fight against past his prime 41-year-old Wladimir Klitschko in 2017, he was fighting in front of his hometown fans in London, England. Joshua was on the verge of being knocked out in the 6th, but Wladimir let him off the hook. Ruiz didn’t make that mistake after he hurt Joshua in round 3. He kept the pressure on, and stopped Joshua in the 7th.
McCracken an easy target after Joshua loss
“When you lose a fight, it’s awfully funny how everybody attacks,” said Atlas. “All the bows and arrows come out, and I know that. I got a couple of holes in my back. I’m going to cover it up where you’re not going to see it, and that’s why I’m wearing a red shirt. It’s funny that his [Rob] McCracken, who has done a good job.
“I think that’s the trainer of Joshua. He’s done a good job with him, and now all of a sudden everyone is attacking everything because he lost one fight. He’s [Joshua] a gold medalist in the Olympics, and it’s funny how that works. Look, there were things wrong, but no one was complaining,” said Atlas.
The reason the fans went after McCracken is because Joshua showed no improvement in the Ruiz fight from how he looked when he first turned pro. There was no head movement, and he defended poorly. McCracken should have kept Joshua at a lower weight instead of letting him fight at 247 lbs for the Ruiz fight.
Ultimately, it comes down to the trainer for why Joshua or any fighter loses. McCracken was the captain of the ship, and he failed to fix the flaws in his game. Even a minor thing like keeping Joshua’s weight low would have likely made the difference against Ruiz. Atlas may not like it, but McCracken should take all the blame for Joshua’s loss.
No one complained about Joshua’s muscles after Klitschko fight – Atlas
“It’s the same fighter with the muscles, got hit, and got dropped by [Wladimir] Klitschko, and got his backside up and behaved like a champion,” said Atlas in remebering Joshua’s fight with Wladimir. “He [Joshua] kept that belt against Klitschko in London BEFORE he made all these millions of dollars. He was on his way up. No one complained about that. And no one said, ‘You gotta get rid of McCracken.’
“Nobody said you got to get off the weight program. Nobody said nothing, right? I’m not saying there isn’t a need for some changes. I said there is. But isn’t it funny how this works. Nobody said nothing then, because he got up [off the deck against Klitschko], and made everything right.
“That’s what was missing against Ruiz. Yeah, he stood up too straight, but he didn’t behave the same way he did against Klitschko. That’s the big difference, and that’s what was missing,” said Atlas.
Atlas is WRONG about boxing fans and members of the media NOT being critical about Joshua’s bulky muscles, and about his trainer Rob McCracken following his fight with Klitschko.
There were plenty of people who took shots at Joshua and McCracken over that fight. They pointed out that Joshua was too muscular at 250 lbs that he weighed for the Klitschko bout, and that he should have been lighter. Joshua didn’t dump McCracken, but he may regret it if he loses to Ruiz a second time on December 7th.
Even former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis and George Foreman both talked about the need for Joshua to get a new trainer. Joshua has stayed loyal to McCracken, but it could bite him on the backside if he loses again.
Wladimir should have beaten AJ
Joshua was knocked down in the 6th by Wladimir, and would have been finished off if the Ukranian hadn’t made the error of choosing to box. Wladimir said he thought he could box his way to a decision.
It was a big mistake by Wladimir, who didn’t have his longtime trainer Emanuel Steward with him. He had passed away in 2012, and Wladimir wasn’t the same guy without his guidance.