Boxing

David Haye TKO's A Brave John Ruiz In 9th-Round; Retains WBA Heavyweight Crown

David Hayeby James Slater - Tonight at The M.E.N Arena in Manchester, WBA heavyweight champion David Haye successfully defended his belt for the first time, with a 9th-round TKO over an incredibly gutsy John Ruiz. The ending to the drama-filled fight came at 2-minutes and one-second of the 9th-round, as the challenger's trainer Miguel Diaz threw in the towel.

29-year-old Haye is now 24-1(22). 38-year-old Ruiz, the former two-time WBA ruler, is now 44-9-1(30).

Tonight's fight was a terrific action bout, and though Ruiz has given us his share of stinkers in the past, he deserves a huge amount of praise for the way he hung in there against the faster, harder-hitting Haye.

The fireworks began in the very first round, as a sharp right hand from Haye went straight through the guard of Ruiz, dropping him with barely seconds gone. Looking badly hurt, Ruiz appeared to be on his way to an early, devastating loss. Haye followed up on the knockdown with more right hands, leaving Ruiz bent over the top rope. Excited, Haye was guilty of hitting Ruiz on the back of the head as he was bent over the ropes, and the referee, Guillermo Perez, docked the champion a point for the rabbit punches. Still, Ruiz was also given a second count, and the fight did seem to be all but over with..

Amazingly, Ruiz fought back, even landing a late punch as the bell rang. A huge round for "The Hayemaker!"

Ruiz was still pressing forward in the 2nd, and both men threw sharp left jabs. Another big right hand crashed into the Puerto Rican's head, but this time Ruiz took the shot well. Indeed, Ruiz showed both heart and an amazing chin tonight. It was another dominant round for the Londoner, but Ruiz did manage to clip his man with a left hand to the head.

Haye scored with a left/right combo in the 3rd-round, and then with a right/left combination. Ruiz was still dangerous, as he showed with his own right hands, but Haye let loose with another big burst in the round. Once again, though, the older man's chin had the look of granite! Ruiz let loose with his own combination at the bell. Another round for the champion.

Haye boxed well in the 4th-round, looking a little more patient than he had been before. Back-pedalling as the tank-like challenger advanced, Haye unloaded with fast shots. Ruiz had some success in this session, however, and the 4th was probably his best round of the whole fight.

There was another big attack by Haye at the start of the 5th, as a right and a left slammed into Ruiz's head. His nose now badly bloodied, the 38-year-old former champ refused to stop chugging in. Then, seconds before the bell, another right hand put Ruiz down. The legal right hand was followed by another rabbit punch, and Ruiz again complained to the ref - but this time there was no deduction.

The fight really had been a one-sided affair, and it was astonishing that the action was still ongoing as late as the 6th-round! Ruiz pressed in again, and Haye boxed and moved once more - until he scored with yet another big right hand, putting the challenger down again. Once more Ruiz complained of rabbit punching by Haye, and he was also looking busted up now. But he came firing back at the champion soon after his latest trip to the floor; prompting Haye to blast way, looking for the spectacular finish. There was also a brief time-out so the ref could replace Haye's mouth-piece, which had come loose during the hectic action. Another right hand scored for Haye, as did a big burst at the end of the exciting round.

The 7th was a quieter round, with Haye content to jab and move as Ruiz advanced. Swollen under his left eye, Ruiz was nevertheless still game.

A right uppercut scored for Haye in the 8th, and Ruiz was under fire again. A left hook and another right landed by "The Hayemaker," yet Ruiz was still showing the ability to take everything that was coming his way. A monstrous right hand crashed into the visiting warrior's head, yet still Ruiz came forward.

The end came quite suddenly in the 9th-round. The session started off slowly, but then Haye exploded with a right and a left upstairs, finally convincing Diaz to rescue his fighter. There were no complaints from anyone; least of all the sell-out crowd. Having been treated to a great - if one-sided - action fight, no-one in the audience felt the need to boo!

In short, Haye looked superb tonight. There was nothing wrong with his stamina, his speed or his brutal power. In becoming only the second man to have halted Ruiz, Haye made quite a statement. It will be most interesting to see who the exciting, charismatic Londoner fights next.

As for Ruiz, he gave us arguably the most thrilling fight of his entire career in losing. Though the veteran will be unhappy at going home with a defeat, he can at least take some consolation in knowing how he gave the fans their money's worth.

Article posted on 03.04.2010



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