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Andy Ruiz Jr and Joseph Parker embrace at the Weigh-in
There will be a lot of friendly fire in the ring on Saturday night at Vector Arena. So much so the victor of the WBO Heavyweight Title bout between Joseph Parker and Andy Ruiz Jr will no doubt say a prayer over the fallen at the end of the bout.
Both men are supremely religious and committed Christians. Ruiz Jr is the more vocal about his faith.
"I believe in God, and I fight for God. When I win I will give God all the glory for what he has done for me," he said.
Parker himself is from a deeply Christian family. Parker's mother Sala Parker told me that there is a lot of praying going on in the Parker household. Not only for her son, but for Ruiz also.
"We are praying for a good fight for my son, and also for Andy. They are both sons."
All this love and respect was evident at the Weigh In at the Britomart Country Club on Friday morning. At the end of the Stand-off between the fighters, Joseph and Ruiz then shook hands, and embraced each other.
Ruiz's promoter Bob Arum spoke of the place of respect in Boxing, “It’s my experience in boxing that when the fighters respect each other and they handle each other politely at the Press Conferences and other events prior to the fight. Then all the aggressiveness goes to where it belongs in the ring, and you get a tremendous fight.”
“When there’s a lot of trash talking outside of the ring, when they get to the ring, it is not much of a fight.”
After embracing Ruiz Jr, then Joseph Parker lines up for a shot with Andy Ruiz Snr, his opponent's father
All this respect will be tossed aside according to Ruiz when the bell goes. That is when the switch is turned on to get nasty and go to war.
According to coaches Abel Sanchez (Ruiz) and Kevin Barry (Parker) it will be a battle of attrition in the ring.
"There will be a lot of punches thrown and both guys will take a lot of punishment," said Barry.
It is going to be a torrid affair. It is a shame one of these good men will end up the loser on the night.
Whoever will taste defeat for the first time, he can count on a lot of respect and even prayers, from the victor.
In my other life, I cover the All Blacks, Boxing (Joseph Parker) watch the Weather and of course manage Samoa Events