Anthony Joshua is the latest victim of the Drake Curse.
The heavyweight boxer lost on Saturday to Andy Ruiz Jr. in a stunning upset at Madison Square Garden in New York. The match, which marked his first ever fight in the U.S., was also Joshua’s first career loss.
Joshua was originally set to fight Jarrell Miller, but Miller was replaced by Ruiz a month before the June 1 fight date after testing positive for PEDs.
Back when he was set to fight Miller, Joshua was trying to market the fight and even posted a photo on social media of himself with Drake. He said in his caption that he was going to “break the curse,” which is a reference to the rapper’s reputation for joining the bandwagon of teams that go on to lose.
— Anthony Joshua (@anthonyfjoshua) March 21, 2019
The Drake Curse is so real that he made reference to it with a funny outfit prior to the NFL’s conference championship games in January.
Our best advice to star athletes: avoid social appearances with Drake until after your career is over.
Joshua’s loss to Ruiz is already being viewed as one of the biggest upsets in heavyweight boxing history.
Andy Ruiz completely reshuffled the heavyweight division in boxing with a stunning upset win over Anthony Joshua at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.
Joshua was 22-0 and viewed by many as the best heavyweight in the world, not to mention one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in all of boxing. He was originally set to face Jarrel Miller in the fight, which marked his first ever in the US. Miller tested positive for PEDs and was replaced by Ruiz a month before the fight.
Ruiz was fighting on short notice, but you wouldn’t have realized it watching the fight.
After being dropped in the third round, Ruiz knocked Joshua down twice in the round. Then in the seventh, Ruiz knocked Joshua down twice. The referee stopped the fight after the second knock down, giving Ruiz a TKO victory.
In his postfight interview on DAZN, Ruiz reflected on the accomplishment of becoming the first heavyweight champion of Mexican descent.
“It means everything. This is what I’ve been dreaming about since I was six years old,” Ruiz said.
He also credited his Mexican style for rebounding after being knocked down.
“Because of the Mexican warrior that I am. I got that Mexican blood in me. Talking about the Mexican style, I just proved it,” he said.
— DAZN USA (@DAZN_USA) June 2, 2019
Immediately after the fight, promoter Eddie Hearn said the two would meet in November or December for a rematch in the United Kingdom, which is where Joshua had fought all his fights prior to Saturday.
Ruiz, who was 32-1 entering the fight, was about a 20:1 underdog.
Deontay Wilder can put on a show against Dominic Breazeale and others, but the real fight all fans want to see is a bout between him and Anthony Joshua. Wilder says that will happen but just wants patience from the fans on that front.
Wilder spoke with Jim Gray in an interview on Showtime after his first-round knockout of Breazeale on Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Gray said fans want to see Wilder against better competition. Wilder understood and promised the fight with Joshua would happen.
“I know a lot of people want to know when the (Anthony) Joshua fight happening. All these fights are in discussion. No doors are closed; all parties that’s involved are talking. It’s going to take my team and his team, maybe me and him as well, to sit down, handle this and squash everything and get this fight done for the fans,” Wilder said. “This fight will happen. With patience comes time and I just want [the fans] to have patience and give it a little time to make this happen.
“We risk our lives, so we want to make sure we get the best and most money that’s possible. Let us get our time to iron out our differences, and you guys will know when it happens.”
Joshua and Wilder have gone back-and-forth for well over a year about a potential fight, with Wilder offering Joshua $50 million last year to fight. Joshua is the IBO, IBF, WBA, and WBO heavyweight champion. He is signed to DAZN, and Wilder is signed with PBC, which makes it challenging for a fight to be arranged, but if there is enough willingness and flexibility, something can be worked out. Maybe both sides are trying to play things carefully and time things right before taking on the toughest fights of their careers.
Deontay Wilder is a killer in the ring and showed it yet again on Saturday.
Wilder knocked out Dominic Breazeale just over two minutes into their WBC heavyweight title fight at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. He nailed Breazeale with a few big shots that backed up the challenger into the corner. Breazeale had to go into a clinch just to stop Wilder. Not long after the referee separated the two, Wilder landed his crushing right hand that ended the fight:
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) May 19, 2019
This angle of the Wilder knockout is insane pic.twitter.com/JZW4qlfDpB
— State of Combat Podcast (@StateofCombat) May 19, 2019
Wilder is a special, special fighter. You just don’t come across boxers with that type of punching power very often — someone who can knock you out with one punch.
Breazeale just missed making the 10-count. The knockout marked the 40th of Wilder’s career, the 20th coming in the first round. He has won all but one of his fights by knockout, with no losses. That was just Breazeale’s second defeat.
Deontay Wilder isn’t just a boxer; he’s also a showman.
The WBC heavyweight champion wore a wild outfit into the ring before his title fight against Dominic Breazeale on Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
His large bejeweled coat resembled Thanos’ jacket from the Marvel movies. He had a mask on that showed some teeth-type parts. His crown seemed to resemble the one on the Statue of Liberty.
Fans took immediate notice of the outfit:
Dawg Deontay Wilder's outfit pic.twitter.com/pUPGnQN0wi
— The Man Who Sold The World (@LordBalvin) May 19, 2019
Some thought it made him look like Shredder from the “Ninja Turtles.”
— Wolf of 38th Street (@WolfOf38Street) May 19, 2019
Here was his full ring walk:
Deontay Wilder makes quite an entrance. pic.twitter.com/h7x2iI1StI
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) May 19, 2019
Wilder is 40-0-1 with 39 KOs. Breazeale entered the fight 20-1.
- Deontay Wilder
Manny Pacquiao’s second fight with Premier Boxing Champions has officially been set.
Pacquiao will face Keith Thurman on July 20 on FOX Sports pay-per-view. The announcement was made during Saturday’s fight card on FOX headlined by Jarrett Hurd-Julian Williams.
The summer just got a little hotter! pic.twitter.com/SxcZsEauNq
— Manny Pacquiao (@MannyPacquiao) May 12, 2019
FOX Sports boxing reporter Mike Coppinger has said the fight is expected to take place in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) holds the WBA welterweight title. Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs) holds the super champ version of the WBA welterweight title.
The winner of the Pacquiao-Thurman July fight could end up facing the winner of the August Errol Spence Jr-Shawn Porter fight.
Caleb Plant and Mike Lee will meet in the undercard.
A familiar voice for boxing fans passed away on Saturday.
Harold Lederman, who provided the unofficial scorecard for HBO Boxing for over 30 years, died on Saturday at 79 after a long battle with cancer.
HBO shared the following statement on behalf of Peter Nelson, the executive vice president of HBO Sports.
“Harold Lederman had a lifelong love affair with the sport of boxing. Over the past fifty years he was universally respected and celebrated by the many people who make the sport what it is. Harold was happiest when seated ringside, studying the action and scoring the fight. When he joined HBO Sports in 1986 he added a new and critical component to live boxing coverage. Viewers embraced his unique style and his command of the rules while his broadcast colleagues relished his enthusiasm and boundless energy. He was an historian and walking rulebook. He always had time for you whether you were a heavyweight champion or just a spectator looking to say hello. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Eileen and daughters Julie and Iris. There isn’t a person in the sport who won’t miss our Harold Lederman,” Nelson said.
Jim Lampley, who called play-by-play action for HBO Boxing from 1988-2018 and worked with Lederman on the telecast, also shared his thoughts.
“It was one of the greatest privileges of my broadcasting career to work with Harold Lederman, whose unique humanity and lifelong love of boxing brought joy to the hearts of millions of fans, show after show after show,” Lampley said in a statement. “They waited for his moments, they were thrilled by his insights, they gloried in imitating his voice. No one in the sport had more friends, because no one in the sport was more deserving of friends. As deeply saddened as I am by his passing, I am equally deeply joyful that he made it to the final bell on December 8. Nothing was more important to the legacy of HBO Boxing, so in that we can all take solace. Now his scorecard is complete.”
Lederman became a boxing judge in 1967 and began working with HBO in 1986. He provided the unofficial scorecards during fights on their telecasts all the way up until the premium channel got out of boxing at the end of last year.
We’ll never forget the way he would offer his opinion on the action, beginning his commentary by enthusiastically saying, “OK, Jim.”