Boxings Baddest: The Fans Speak!

10.10.04 - By Mike Samuels: This weeks mailbag is juiced more than the average MLB All-Star roster, with questions ranging from Felix Trinidad's place in boxing history, Bernard Hopkins' 20th middlweight defense, Shane Mosely's fall from the pound-for-pound ranks, Floyd Mayweather's freeze on the jr. welterweight division, John Ruiz and the always controversial Iron Mike Tyson. Jamie from New York also wants my own personal top ten list. These, along with more mythical matchups are whats in store. Read on and enjoy!

Not only is watching Ruiz as much fun as watching paint dry but more than that , he is TERRIBLE, and I mean TERRIBLE. I have been an observer of boxing for over 50 years and let me tell you, this guy has nothing.

1) throw left jab , 2) grab opponent 3) let ref break the clinch. 1) throw left jab 2) grab opponent and on and on and on. He has fought NO ONE of any quality. Holyfield is not over the hill he is under it, he did not land a punch against an over rated and over weight and over sold Roy Jones. I respect all fighters but Ruiz is not a fighter nor a boxer. He is a terrible heavyweight in an era of mostly terrible heavyweights. Where is Kingfish Levinsky when you need him??!!

Thanks for writing and reading.

Jim Crue

If you respect all fighters Jim, then you shouldn't bash John Ruiz as being "TERRIBLE" just because you don't dig his style in the ring. I admit that Ruiz is about as fun as watching paint dry, but not everyone in the sport can be a fan filling superstar. Ruiz didn't deserve his shot at the heavyweight championship but to his credit he has remained consistent since getting air time from HBO over the last few years.

For you to say Ruiz has nothing is a bit off, Jim. Chris Byrd, one of the more legit champions (the guy has faced everyone) was given a gift against fringe contender Fres Oquendo, who later went on to not only be beaten, but knocked out by John Ruiz. The Quiet Man also beat former heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman over twelve rounds, so his resume is hardly as bad as most heavyweight fighters around today.

The point is that Ruiz isn't exciting, but he is hardly the only boring heavyweight in the division. Jameel McCline, Wladimir Klitschko, and Chris Byrd to name a few, are all fighters we shouldn't have to pay to view on the big screen. Do you consider all of them disgraces to the heavyweight division, too? I feel your pain, Jim, the division sucks right now but John Ruiz is still winning and that can't be ignored no matter how much you dislike watching him.

Hey pal, anyway you cut the pie, it's the same story when it comes to Ruiz..He's a babbling excuse maker and a cry baby! On top of that, he's a marginal fighter, made his so called "fame" beating up on old men..Ruiz is a bore, I'd NEVER spend a dime watching him, as he grunts, grabs and mauls his way through his borrrrrring fights! No style, no class, poor loser, not much considering the mention on your part of his loss to Jones...Jones, regardless of his last two loses is still too great a boxer for Ruiz to beat no matter who the ref! Let's face a fact ok??

Ruiz is a fringe contender at best, fails in so many ways as being a complete type of fighter and is growing a bit OLD I might the way, why should a ref allow a fighter to lay on and hang all over an opponent???????? Also you mentioned how fighters use thier heads as battering rams, well Ruiz is good at most all foul tactic's..he gets NO respect from the Duke~!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Your welcome to post this email.

I bet you're one of those 'fans' that never thought Antonio Tarver or Glen Johnson would beat, let alone knock out, the much greater boxer skillwise, Roy Jones Jr. See the point, Duke? Just because a fighter is technically than his opponent doesn't mean that there is no way he can be beat. If that were the case, as you make it seem with your example of Ruiz never being able to beat Jones, there would be no reason to schedule fights. After all, looking at sharp fighters like Mike Tyson, Vernon Forrest and Oscar De la Hoya, there's no way subpar fighters -- skillwise --- Ricardo Mayorga, James Douglas, and Ike Quartey would ever stand a chance at beating them ... right? The reason fighters fight is because anything is possible. You can't count out a fighter because he doesn't punch as hard or move as gracefully as another fighter. I'll face the facts as soon as you present some, Dukester.

Interesting that you mention John Ruiz making his claim at 'fame' by beating on old men. What exactly was all mighty Roy Jones Jr's claim at fame? Beating a green Bernard Hopkins and weight drained James Toney? How about moving up to heavyweight only not to challenge the true king of the division, Lennox Lewis. Or was it beating the Robert Frazier's and Glen Kelly's of his era? Ruiz hasn't been a poor loser through out his career. He actually had good reason to question Jay Nady during his bout with Jones. If you want to talk about babies, look no further than your God, Roy Jones. All Roy has done is make excuses for every single loss in his career. First he was weight drained in his first meeting against Tarver, yet he won't let that same claim ride with James Toney when he speaks about why he lost to Jones years ago. Add to that the fact that Jones has said he couldn't get up for light heavies, so what does he do? He moves up and challenges heavyweight champion Vitali Klitsch ... oh wait, he takes on ANOTHER light heavy in Glen Johnson. You may not respect Ruiz, Duke, but he hardly makes excuses compared to other 'great' fighters.

I am anxiously awaiting the big show by Don King on November 27th. How do you see the matchups going, with Byrd vs McCline (IBF Title), Ruiz vs Golota (WBA Title), Holyfield vs Donald and The Rock vs Meehan. Take care, Ben.

I'm in the minority Ben, but I am going to say that Ruiz beats Golota. The Andrew Golota fanatics of the boxing world never seem to amaze me. Golota has never done anything special besides beating Riddick Bowe in two fights before growing fascinated with his balls and DQing himself out of victory. That is his mark in boxing and that's not something that makes you a great fighter, let alone a good one. Ruiz fights with that awkward and boring ass style, but it's effective and I honestly see Golota's so-called mature performance against Chris Byrd going down the drain. No matter how 'terrible' Ruiz is, I'm sticking by him to beat Golota by unanimous decision.

Chris Byrd is one of the slickest boxers in the game and he absolutely loves fighting and beating bigger guys. Jameel McCline is most definitley bigger (6'6, 260 + lbs) but he isn't better. Remember McCline freezing against Wladimir Klitschko, Ben? His comeback wins since that embarassing knockout loss haven't convinced me that he's going to become a champion. I do think, however, that Byrd needs to have an impressive showing against McCline after losing (in my opinion) to Oquendo and barely getting by Golota in his last fight. If he decides to stand toe-to-toe with McCline it could be trouble, that is if Jameel remembers how to let his hands go.

Larry Donald and Evander Holyfield both don't belong in the ring. I mean it's bad enough that we have to PAY for this show, which really isn't that great to begin with. But to have Holyfield and Donald facing off against each other, I'd rather watch Sweet Pea and Julio Caesar Chavez face off in their early forties. Fighters just don't get any more shot than Donald and the Real Deal. If you think Ruiz is boring, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

Hasim Rahman has been on the steady comeback trail since being beaten by Evander Holyfield's head. Meehan proved that he can bang against Brewster and this fight is probably the most exciting on the card in my opinion. I like the Rock by late round KO.

Mike how can you call yourself a boxing writer? There is no way John Ruiz ever beats Roy Jones Jr, maybe you should stop hugging Ruiz's nuts so tight and you could actually see that he sucks. There is no way Pernell Whitaker beats Tito either! I don't care if he was in his prime or on crack cocaine, Tito is a legend! - Mark Lajae

I'll stop 'hugging Ruiz's nuts" when you put the pipe down, Mark. Tito is a great fighter, there's no doubt about that. He will also go down as one of the legendary Puerto Rican fighters of his time. He is also one of the most exciting fighters of the last twenty years, but don't mix apples with oranges. Trinidad is no Sweet Pea. Take away Whitakers late losses towards the end of his career when the drug problems really hit him hard, and he is one of the only boxers that you can successfully argue for never losing a professional fight. He was screwed royally in France early on in his career and nobody will debate that. There are more people than not that think he beat Oscar De la Hoya and everyone knows that his fight with Chavez was anything but a draw. Sweet Pea was so good, he was able to move up from lightweight, where he was untouchable, and handle bigger and stronger fighters with relative ease. Don't forget that he did most of this while battling a coke addiction, and anyone who has ever gotten into that drug knows just how much of a living hell it can turn your life into. Pernell Whitaker would play with Felix Trinidad like nobody ever has if he was even a quarter of himself when they faced off at the end of his career. The sooner you understand this the better.

What is going on with Floyd Mayweather! Boxing needs him Mike and it has been forever since he last fought, do you know when he will be fighting again and if so who would he be fighting? - Charles Rozeski, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Mayweather will probably fight again by Janurary, or early winter Charlie. He is still working out the details with being promoted since he is no longer under the wing of Top Rank and Bob Arum. Negotiations have been dragged out until at least November 1st for a possible showdown with Arturo Gatti. Mayweather's the number one contender for Gatti's title, so lets hope that the fight happens and soon.

You are wrong Mike. Trinidad would and will kick Bernard Hopkins ass all over the ring if they ever fight a second time! I would bet you any amount of money that this is true, viva Puerto Rico! - Carlos Santiago, KC Missouri.

A lot of people may think I'm wrong when I say that Hopkins beats Trinidad 10 times out of 10. I don't think the fight will happen, to see my reasoning check out my article on Boxing Playing Match Maker up on the site right now. But if it does happen, come see me and we'll work out a 'friendly wager.'

Since you came to the website Ring Side Report I want to say that you have been nothing but great! Bad Brad made the right choice by hiring you, keep up the good work son. - Bruce Miller Jr. - Ontario, Canada.

Thanks for the compliment, Bruce. I hope to bring my perspective and insight to the sport with every column I pen for RSR and I am glad to hear that you are enjoying my aspect on the sweet science. If you talk to "Bad" Brad, let him know how much you dig me and maybe I'll get some real coin for bustin' my hump here on a daily basis, ha ha.

A couple years ago Shane Mosely was dubbed the greatest fighter since Sugar Ray Robinson by all of boxing even you Mike, I am sure, don't deny it. Now he is fighting like crap. I think he lost to Oscar De la Hoya in the rematch, he lost to Winky Wright and looked like a washed up bum against Marquez. His last good win was either against DLH in the first fight or against Adrian Stone who sucks anyway. Do you think Mosely can regain his spot at the top of the pound for pound, interesting in hearing from you - Doug Miles, Boston, Mass.

Believe it or not, I never dubbed Mosely the next Ray Robinson. I don't think that he should even be allowed to use the nickname "Sugar," as he is no Robisnon and not even anywhere near Ray Leonard. I never saw Oscar De la Hoya as p4p #1 in boxing - he's always been a solid top 5 in my book. So when he beat De la Hoya in June of 2000 I never understood and still don't to this day how boxing could jump on Mosely and name him the greatest thing to boxing since cold steel. I thought it was a great win for Mosely, but in order to be recognized as #1 you need to do more than just beat one great fighter.

Mosely doesn't suck, Doug. He's a good fighter, not great, who should have stayed put at 147lbs where he beat De la Hoya. It's a shame we never got to see him fight at 140lbs, because that division is packed with talent and big fights right now. Mosely-Mayweather anyone? How about Mosely-Gatti? The possibilities are endless. My problem with Shane is his dedication to lifting weights and bulking up. He is no longer a boxer, but a slow and lethargic fighter looking for one knock out punch rather than combinations, which were always the keys to his famous knockouts at the lighter weights. Mosely has to beat Wright to take a step back at regaining his luster, so for the sake of Shane let's hope that Goosen gets him fighting the right way.

What is your personal top ten or so, Mike? Just wondering - Jamie, NY

Here's my list Jamie. Thanks for writing in.

# 1. Bernard Hopkins

# 2. Floyd Mayweather Jr.

# 3. Erik Morales

# 4. Antonio Tarver

# 5. Cory Spinks

# 6, Manny Pacquiao

# 7. Diego Corrales

# 8. Winky Wright

# 9. Kostya Tszyu

#10. James Toney

After reading your so called article on how you think Trinidad will lose to Bernard Hopkins I have concluded that my dog knows more about boxing than you, too bad he can't write! - Rob LaSause

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah. Stick a cork in it, Rob. Felix Trinidad is a great fighter, but he's not untouchable and don't forget, it was Bernard Hopkins that smoked your boy every single round of their 2001 fight. He'll do it again if it happens and then I expect a formal apology from you and the rest of the Tito lovers. As for your dog knowing more about boxing than me, real funny. I bet my girlfriend knows more about boxing than you, buddy and the only fighter she follows if the Pretty Boy. Thanks for writing anyway, but next time say something with a little more thought. Challenge me for god sakes.

Going to keep it simple, Mike. Does Tyson stand a chance against Klitschko? - B

Against Wlad, I like to think so. Against brother Vitali, I highly doubt it.

Do you got any idea who Bernard Hopkins will fight for his 20th defense Mike? I keep hearing Felix Sturm all over the net - Cal

According to most sources around the world of boxing, Sturm is the high man to get the shot against X for good 'ol number 20. I'd much rather Jermain Taylor face off against him, but it looks Tay will be fighting the shopworn William Joppy in December on HBO so that's out of the picture. Surprised anyone? Sturm beat DLH in my opinion so I say give the kid a chance to prove something. The fight will be interesting, but Hopkins should make his 20th defense a successful one.

Hello mike . We are led to believe that prime mike tyson from 86 to 88 was a gym rat and trained really hard . But I have heard it said before that after tyson beat berbick he didnt train as hard, was no longer a gym rat and missed quite bit of training and was a bit of a party animal . Is this true ? . Was mike a gym rat or did he have a tendency to slack of training and under train after he beat Berbick ? .

best wishes,


There are some things we may never know about Mike Tyson and whether or not he was a gym rat is one of them. Source after source say he was and that he wasn't, but based on my observations and what I've learned over the years I tend to believe that Mike trained but not like he should have. He got away with a lot of it at first, but guys like Buster Douglas made him pay for his mistakes. Mike has said many times before that when you go from having nothing to having the world in the palm of your hands your priorities change, so it is smart to believe that Tyson went from boxing first to women first, which is partly a reason for his downfall as a great fighter.

Just a couple matchups between past and present fighters I want to know from you Mike. - Sandy Anderson

Muhammad Ali vs Larry Holmes

Julio Caesar Chavez vs Ricky Hatton (my boy!).

Sugar Ray Lenoard vs DLH

Marvin Hagler vs Bernard Hopkins

I assume you are taking Ali in his prime against Holmes, and to that I have to go with the Greatest of All Time to win a split decision over Larry the Legend. Holmes learned a lot from Ali and often got the best of him in sparring matches, but Ali is truly a unique fighter who would get Larry down the stretch of a 15 round fight.

Are you kidding me man? Chavez KO 4 over Hatton.

I think someone asked me this last week. Incase you missed it, I have to go with Ray Leonard to knock out The Golden Boy between the 7th and 10th rounds of either a 12 round or 15 round fight. De la Hoya is a great fighter, but everything about Sugar is better.

Hagler and B-Hop is a matchup that has been talked about a lot lately, and why not? I don't see any way that Bernard Hopkins beats the Marvelous one. Hagler would pressure Hopkins like nobody ever has, including Trinidad and B-Hop would find it a nightmare to try to out box the charging Hagler. Hagler wins on points.

That's it for this week folks. Keep on writing and I'll try to get your e-mails answered in next weeks Monday mailbag!

Article posted on 10.10.2004

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