The WBO title belt was vacated by Tyson Fury in October, after almost a year of inactivity. While Parker (21-0, 18 KOs) is the heavy favorite in this matchup, Ruiz (29-0, 19 KOs), who now calls California home, has yet to taste defeat in the squared circle. Concerns about Ruiz' weight and his motivation have been tempered somewhat; the underdog has been training under Abel Sanchez and has dropped about 20 excess pounds in preparation for this fight.
Parker, meanwhile, is two inches taller than Ruiz at 6-foot-4 with a two-inch reach advantage, and three years younger at age 24. But he's yet to prove himself at the higher levels of international competition.
Boxing Odds: Parker-Ruiz in WBO Heavyweight Title BoutThe buzz is building around Saturday's WBO World Heavyweight title bout between New Zealand's Joseph Parker (–360) and Mexican native Andy Ruiz (+270). Their card in Auckland starts at 1:30 AM ET; HBO will have this fight on tape delay for their World Championship Boxing show (9:35 PM ET).
Parker (21-0, 18 KOs) may be the favorite to capture the vacant title, but Ruiz (29-0, 19 KOs) has stepped up his conditioning for this fight, and neither man has been truly tested by elite competition. This could be a closer contest than the odds suggest.