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Despite TKO loss to Andy Ruiz Jr., Anthony Joshua opens as sizable favorite in championship rematch

Anthony Joshua v Andy Ruiz Jr. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

I’m not sure what the hell happened last Saturday night in New York, but former WBA, WBO and IBF world heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua, looked completely bewildered against Andy Ruiz Jr. en route to a seventh-round technical knockout loss.

The contributing factors to that stunning upset are likely to influence the betting line in what will inevitably be a championship rematch. Perhaps Joshua was underestimating his opponent, tried mailing it in, then got rocked early and never recovered.

Or, maybe “The Landlord” did everything right, trained hard, and Ruiz Jr. is just that good, but never got the respect he deserved because of his less-than-idealistic physique, coupled with a 2016 loss to Joseph Parker.

Bookies appear to be leaning toward the former.

Coming into last weekend’s laugher in “The Empire State,” Joshua (22-1) had racked up 22 straight wins, ending 21 of them by way of knockout. By the time the betting lines closed just shy of the opening bell, the brick-fisted Brit had ballooned up to a bloated -2500 favorite.

And not surprisingly, the boys in Vegas took a bath at the window.

“We lost on the fight, not a giant disaster or anything,” Alan Berg, senior oddsmaker at Caesars, told ESPN. “Money was mostly all on Ruiz thanks to the friendly 10-1 or 11-1 payouts, all the $10 and $20 guys love anything that adds a zero to their money. So it’s a good night for them.”

No word yet on when or where a potential Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr. rematch will take place, but it certainly pumps the breaks on the much-ballyhooed Deontay Wilder fight, unless “The Destroyer” can repeat his bookie-busting performance and target “The Bronze Bomber” on his own.

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