David Haye has admitted that Anthony Joshua’s best chance of avenging his shock defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr is to take him the 12-round distance.
Ruiz Jr produced a monumental upset when he stopped Joshua in the seventh round of their initial bout in June, taking the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles away with him from Madison Square Garden.
The pair meet again on Saturday night in Saudi Arabia as the Brit attempts to reclaim his straps and silence his critics who have been in full voice following his embarrassing display last time out.
Former world heavyweight champion turned promoter Haye believes that his countryman needs to adopt a more cautious approach and test the Mexican’s stamina.
“I’m split regarding the fight,” Haye said per the Mirror.
“It will either end in a knockout or on points and if it goes to points it means Ruiz wasn’t able to do what he does best and throw clusters of punches and work the body – and that Joshua will have kept him at bay with his jab and won enough of the rounds.
“But if there is a knockout, I believe it will come from Ruiz.
"If Joshua stands there throwing combinations with someone who bases his whole style on trading punches and turns it into a slugfest, I believe Ruiz will do something similar to the first fight.
“But if Joshua wins the first six or seven rounds comfortably, then Ruiz will be forced to change his game plan and take more risks, in which case Joshua will have a very good chance of stopping Ruiz in rounds 10, 11 or 12.
“If he forces Ruiz to take more risks, it will open the opportunity for him to land a massive counterpunch when Ruiz is tiring.
"That’s the only way I can see Joshua knocking Ruiz out.”
Joshua was lacklustre throughout the rivals’ first meeting and repeatedly looked for assurances from his corner between rounds.
He was concussed by Ruiz’s initial knockdown and then succumbed to the pure hand speed and combinations thrown by the Mexican.
However, Haye expects AJ to have progressed in the six months since the disaster in New York, and hopes the 30-year-old has learnt from his mistakes.
“You can change significantly in 12 weeks,” Haye added.
“He’s probably been thinking about this rematch and what he could have done better since the first fight.
“The word round the camp fire is that Joshua has lost a lot of muscle bulk, that he will throw significantly more punches and that his defence has improved.
“He’s switched on and he’s going to be as prepared as we’ve seen him for any fight. I’m looking forward to seeing the new, improved Anthony Joshua.”
The bout is the first heavyweight world title fight to take place in the Middle East and will be staged in the 15,000-seat Diriyah Arena.
Commissioned by the Saudi General Sports Authority, the bespoke arena was constructed in six weeks and is the single largest temporary seating structure that the company has built since the London 2012 Olympics.News Now - Sport News