There was a major upset in the world of boxing Saturday night, as Andy Ruiz Jr. shocked Anthony Joshua to win three different heavyweight championship titles.
Ruiz won the fight via technical knockout in the seventh round of the fight, which took place in New York’s Madison Square Garden, per ESPN.
In winning the fight, Ruiz became the first boxer of Mexican descent to win a heavyweight championship, after seven others, going back to the 1960s, fought for heavyweight championships but failed to win them.
Among those shocked by the result was ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith, who, due to Ruiz’ large, doughy physique, compared him to the former boxer nicknamed Butterbean.
“Anthony Joshua — holder of 3 belts, gets TKO’d by Butter Bean [sic]…….I mean some dude named Andy Ruiz Jr. What a damn disgrace. Joshua looked completely gassed,” Smith tweeted.
Smith went on to say that Ruiz is “good,” but that the result upsets him because it means fans won’t be getting a unification fight between Joshua and Deontay Wilder, who holds the WBC heavyweight title belt.
The mention of Butterbean led at least one Twitter user to conclude that Smith was using a racial slur, in reference to Ruiz’s Mexican heritage.
But the ESPN commentator was clearly referring to Eric Esch, the 1990s fighter who went by the nickname Butterbean. The 425-pound fighter was a boxer, as well as a wrestler and MMA fighter, and he was a visible media figure for a time in the ’90s and slightly after, appearing in a reality show and in the first Jackass movie.
Sign of the Times: New heavyweight champ Andy Ruiz Jr., who beat Anthony Joshua last night, helped seal his fate as a fill-in to fight Joshua by contacting promoter Eddie Hearn on an Instagram DM after Joshua’s original opponent failed multiple drug tests. pic.twitter.com/veb8HDs1i6
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) June 2, 2019
Ruiz wasn’t even originally scheduled to fight Joshua, who was fighting for the first time on U.S. soil. But his original opponent, Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller, was tossed from the fight a month earlier after failing drug tests, and Ruiz was lined up as Joshua’s new opponent.
In the third round of the fight, both boxers were knocked down, with Joshua dropping twice to the canvas. The fight was ultimately stopped in the seventh round by the referee.
Joshua, who has the contractual right to a rematch, says he wants to fight Ruiz again, per ESPN, with the fight likely to be held in the U.K. this time.
“Right now, I just want to celebrate,” Ruiz told the media after the end of the fight. “I just made history for Mexico. This is what I have been dreaming about since I was 6 years old.”