Following Anthony Joshua's shock defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr. at Madison Square Garden, fans of 'AJ' are no doubt looking for reasons to explain why a man with the legs of a corgi who looks like he just stepped off a taco truck knocked the British behemoth on his ass four times.
Well, look no further. Here are 7 ready-made excuses for Joshua fans to use next time somebody asks you about the fight.
1) Joshua was gravely ill.
You'll want to use this one first. Nobody can prove Joshua wasn't suffering from some ailment and it perfectly explains why he fought like Frank Bruno on a lethal dose of valium.
Be sure to slip things in like "something was clearly wrong with him during his ring walk" and "did you see that stye in his eye a couple of days before the fight?" Oh, and definitely mention Joshua's confused questions to his corner during the fight, like "why do I feel like this" and "what shots did he hit me with"; obviously, it was the mysterious super bug, not the continuous hooks to his noggin.
If you're feeling REALLY adventurous, claim he was poisoned by the New York Mafia or a Mexican cartel; if you can sell it, you'll be sure to impress your friends with your in-depth knowledge of boxing corruption.
2) Joshua didn't have enough time to prepare.
Five weeks CLEARLY wasn't enough time to prepare for the fight. Joshua had already trained to fight Jarrell Miller, before the American was caught using performance-enhancing drugs to maintain his trim 320lb frame.
How can Joshua possibly be expected to adjust from fighting one overweight 6'4 boxer to fighting another overweight 6'2 boxer with shorter arms and shorter legs? DISGRACE. Definitely use the word 'disgrace' and hyperbole like "Joshua was destined to fail"; your passion will really drive the issue home and get other people on your side.
3) Joshua threw the fight to lure Deontay Wilder.
This one's obvious, isn't it? Joshua wasn't hurt. He wasn't even fazed by those weak punches Ruiz was throwing. Desperate to become the undisputed champion, he made sure he looked as dreadful as possible in the ring and gave his titles away to an out-of-shape man with 5 weeks' notice that few had even heard of.
Tell your counterparts it was all part of Joshua's masterplan to lure that coward Deontay Wilder into finally fighting him. Joshua's going to take the belts back in a glorious rematch and Wilder's sure to put his WBC title on the line now he thinks Joshua has a weak chin. It's brilliant, really.
4) One of Joshua's friends/relatives/pets died.
This one will tug on people's heartstrings for sure. Tell them someone close to Joshua died shortly before the fight and, being the incredible and humble man that he is, Joshua still fought anyway because he didn't want to let anybody down.
Could be an uncle, his best friend, his cousin's cat who he developed an almost brotherly relationship with. The more detail, the better. If you're struggling to think of a story, just watch Rocky 3 for some inspiration.
That damn cursed Toronto rapper Drake was at it again. Show people this irrefutable photographic evidence and, if they don't already know about Drake's curse, tell them all about it. Tell them how, for the better part of a decade, any sportsperson/team that hangs around or takes pictures with the 'Hotline Bling' rapper before their next match/game is 100% sure to lose, from the Toronto Raptors, to Conor McGregor, to Manchester City. There's no disputing this one; Drake and his voodoo bullshit have gone too far this time.
6) The New York climate.
This one will surely convince them. Joshua has lived in London his entire life. So humble is the man that he still lives with his mum in her ex-council flat (definitely fit that into the conversation somewhere). His fight against Ruiz Jr was his first on US soil. His first loss was on US soil. Coincidence? We think not.
The drastic change in climate has obviously taken a huge toll on the champ. Can you even imagine the effects of going from the fresh, beautiful air of Golders Green to training in the muggy, polluted cesspool that is New York? It doesn't bear thinking about. Tell them that even the smallest differences in weather can have an enormous impact on a finely tuned specimen like Joshua. For bonus points, see if you can fit 'atmospheric pressure' in your explanation. You'll sound so impressive.
7) It was bullshit.
No elaboration needed for this one. Just respond with "it was bullshit. Absolute bullshit".
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