By Trevor McIntyre: Eddie Hearn revealed that Andy Ruiz Jr. and team had no say so in choosing the location for the Anthony Joshua rematch on December 7. The only thing Hearn was required to tell Ruiz Jr. (33-1, 22 KOs) and his management team was when and where the rematch with Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) will be taking place. Hearn states that Ruiz’s team now know the rematch will be taking place in Saudi Arabia, and there’s been no discussion of Andy not fighting.
In an interview with Boxing Social, Hearn started off saying that Ruiz didn’t get a say in choosing the location for the Joshua rematch. Moments later, Hearn reversed and said that Ruiz did have a say, because the fight is taking place in a neutral venue in Saudi Arabia.
— Eddie Hearn (@EddieHearn) August 9, 2019
Technically, the fight is taking place in a neutral venue, but Ruiz’s preference likely wasn’t the reason why Hearn chose to stage the rematch in Saudi Arabia. It doesn’t appear that Ruiz is the reason for Hearn picking Saudi Arabia as the location for the fight. That was a situation where Saudi Arabia offered a huge amount of money that Hearn couldn’t resist. It likely wasn’t because of Ruiz that Hearn chose Saudi Arabia. The location appears to have been made based on money.
Hearn says Ruiz can pull out and retire if he wants
“Could he pull out and retire and never fight again? Of course he can,” said Hearn to Boxing Social about Ruiz not having to take the rematch with Joshua if he doesn’t want to if he’s choosing to retire. “You cannot make a guy fight, but he can’t have another fight. If anybody tries to give him another fight, they’re also in deep problems, because they’re potentially affecting a breach of the contract.
There’s been no discussion with his team about him potentially not fighting. Al Haymon, Tom Brown, they know their position in this fight. And by the way, he’s [Ruiz] making a lot of money for this rematch, and by the way, he probably thinks he can win. So I have no problem that they have questions, because I think that’s a lot of not naivety on their part, but a lot of naivety from people who don’t realize the infrastructure for events in Saudi,” said Hearn.
Ruiz hasn’t said anything about wanting to pull out. However, he could still make Hearn and Joshua miserable if he wanted by delaying the fight with injuries. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen, but you just never know. If Ruiz were to suffer back to back injuries that required postponements of the fight, Joshua could be sitting on the shelf waiting for the rematch a long time.
There were bigger offers to stage Joshua-Ruiz 2 than Saudi Arabia says Hearn
“There were bigger offers on the table,” said Hearn about the venue for the Joshua vs. Ruiz rematch. “The whole world will be watching this fight on December 7th. There were questions we had last night [from Ruiz’s management] that were more about logistics, about commercial, about travel, which is more than they’re entitled to ask. But he signed the contract for the rematch,” said Hearn about Ruiz. “We just have to let him know when it was, and where it was, which has been done. All the governing bodies have been written to by both sides to confirm the fight, and the day,” said Hearn.
It’s hard to imagine Hearn and Joshua turning down bigger offers that what they received from Saudi Arabia. The question is was one of those bigger offers from the United States? If so, then it makes sense why Hearn chose not to accept it. Joshua is his Hearn’s money fighter, and could very soon be finished. It’s worth it for Hearn to agree to the smaller money for Joshua in order to make sure he’s got things that are on his side for the fight.
This is supposed to be a neutral country, but it’s likely that Joshua will be treated as the champion, and not Ruiz. Whether that plays out inside the ring with the referee making things difficult for Ruiz is unknown. We’ll see. With the power the two heavyweights possess, there’s little chance the judges will get a say in picking a winner. That’s good news for boxing fans, because the last thing they need is the Joshua-Ruiz rematch to be tainted by controversy. It’s clear though that is Joshua is the A-side in this fight, not Ruiz.
Ruiz’s team is happy with rematch in Saudi Arabia says Hearn
“We knew we’d get criticism for this fight,” said Hearn to Boxing Social about the Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr. fight in Saudi Arabia. “I saw a lot of fake news being reported. Andy Ruiz said he couldn’t take part in the rematch. He does have questions to fight in a new territory like that. They expressed that they didn’t want the rematch to take place in the UK. They didn’t have a say. We decided to give them a rematch in new territory, which they’re happy about. He [Ruiz] already signed to fight the rematch,” said Hearn.
Hearn says that when he talks about Ruiz having signed the contract for the Saudi Arabia fight, he’s referring to the original rematch clause for the Joshua-Ruiz fight last June. In other words, there isn’t a new contract. Hearn is simply using the rematch clause to dictate the terms for the second fight.
Hearn using rematch contract to decide venue for Joshua-Ruiz
“The first contract takes care of all the venue, and the information in terms of the travel details,” said Hearn. “There is no new contract. His team and I have been in discussion almost since the other fight took place. I confirmed where the fight would take place. They expressed that Andy didn’t want the fight to take place in the UK. They didn’t have a say, but we decided to give it to them in neutral territory, which they’re very happy about. Yes, he has some questions that will be answered, but he’s already signed for the rematch. The first contract takes care of all the venues, and information in terms of decisions. There is no new contract. We’ve followed the original contract, which we decide where the fight takes place,” said Hearn.
It obviously helps when a fighter is the A-side, and has a rematch clause, because they can force a rematch on their terms. This is the fight that Ruiz wants though, because Joshua has an entire country backing him in the UK. Ruiz won’t get the same attention if he faces WBC champion Deontay Wilder or lineal champion Tyson Fury. Those are good fighters, but they aren’t as popular as Joshua.
There’s no question that Ruiz would like an increase over his rumored $9 million for the rematch with Joshua, but that doesn’t like it has a realistic chance of happening. The best thing Ruiz can do is beat Joshua, and then wait and see if he and Hearn want a trilogy fight. If so, then that’s the fight where Ruiz would be able to ask for a 50-50 split. If Joshua and Hearn refuse, then Ruiz could tell them go kick rocks, and then move on.
Ruiz’s team has a say – we’re giving them a neutral venue says Hearn
“The governing bodies have been written to by both camps to confirm the fight, and that’s where we’re at,” said Hearn. “They’re having a say, because we’re giving it to him on a neutral venue. We could have just said, ‘Cardiff, sorry,’ but they got their wish of a neutral venue. Congratulations. Andy Ruiz got a remarkable gift from us. He got a shot at the world heavyweight title for a lot of money. As we knows in boxing, when that happens there’s also a rematch clause that takes place. He’s [Ruiz] contractually bound for that fight, and he will take that fight.
He will try to win that fight. He may win that fight. But one reason he got that gift is all the term that came with it. I’ve seen various fake quotes on line of what he was supposed to have said. But again, contractually, everyone knows where they are. For us, it’s about staging a major event. What I do know is all the events I’ve seen out there have been so well received by the public and by the people,” said Hearn.