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Can Jermaine Franklin pull an Andy Ruiz against Anthony Joshua?

Jermaine Franklin probably won’t bother Anthony Joshua at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday.

That’s the opinion of the oddsmakers, who have made Joshua the almost 9-1 favorite to win the heavyweight fight. And no fan or pundit with any knowledge of the game would argue with them, at least not vociferously.

But could they be wrong?

Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) was on the unfortunate end of a massive upset just five bouts ago when Andy Ruiz Jr knocked him down four times and stopped him in round seven. Ruiz was a bigger underdog than Franklin.

The former unified champion is not at the top of his game, having gone 2-3 in his last five encounters. He is coming off a back-to-back loss to former Undisputed Cruiserweight Champion Oleksandr Usyk, who won decisions in both bouts.

And Franklin (21-1, 14 knockouts) showed us something in his last fight. The 29-year-old native of Saginaw, Michigan, lost a majority decision to longtime contender Dillian Whyte in November, his second fight after a two-and-a-half-year layoff during which he worked for a living.

Some observers, including Franklin, thought he was robbed but he got a nice consolation prize: a meeting with Joshua, one of the biggest names in sports.

We’ll see if Franklin has the ability and mental toughness to compete with a fighter of Joshua’s pedigree. However, it’s a good bet he’ll be physically prepared.

He said that he spent most of his training camp in White fighting to reduce fat. For this bout, he entered camp in better physical condition, allowing him to improve his fitness and focus more on strategy.

The 6-foot-2 Franklin weighed 257 pounds for the white fight. Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, estimated that he could come in at around 230 for Joshua, which could produce a faster, more fluid fighter.

According to The Associated Press, Franklin said, “The circumstances surrounding this fight are very different.” “For the Dillian fight, I was working a job before the phone call came. I wasn’t in the gym.

“It took us five to seven weeks to get in shape for that fight. I did what I could with the time I had. This time I have got more time to prepare and get in shape.”

The fight with Whyte at the OVO Arena Wembley gave Franklin experience on a big stage in a foreign country, which will serve him well on Saturday. And he showed with his solid performance that he was not fazed.

He’s also been cool and calm in the lead up to the fight with Joshua, like many of the bigger fights he’s taken part in. He is confident.

“My confidence is always great,” he said Thursday at the final news conference before the fight. “If you don’t really believe in yourself then you are in the wrong business. This is not the right game for you.

“You must have … utmost confidence. you just have to believe in the work [you’ve done],

Predictors expect Franklin to become a footnote, a stepping stone that could possibly lead to an all-British super fight between Joshua and titleholder Tyson Fury.

That’s what Ruiz should have been though. And we know what happened there. Joshua decided mid-fight that he could not defeat his opponent and indicated with his body language that he did not wish to continue.

Franklin doesn’t have the track record of Ruiz, but he has demonstrated that he is a solid heavyweight. This fact, and Joshua’s uneven performance, suggests that the notion of being upset is not far-fetched.

“I come from a place without many possibilities,” he said. “I’ve made it this far [so] Anything is possible. … I believe that at the end of the fight I will raise my hand.


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