Toney-Ruiz: Can Ruiz handle Toney's speed?

28.04.05 - By Ali Mohammed: On April 30, two of the biggest names in the current boxing business will square off to fight for the WBA heavyweight championship. Two different schools will be involved in this blockbuster; the first school will be presented by Norman Stone and John "the quiet man" Ruiz and the second school will be presented by Freddie Roach and James "lights out" Toney.

What makes this fight interesting is that both camps are so confident. When you hear Stone/Ruiz's side, you may think that this couple is the most confident in the world. Both of them had some firing comments against the Toney camp. When Stone was asked about Toney he said "Just no excuses Toney, be ready", Stone even emphasized that Toney fought nobody in the heavyweight except the old version of Holyfield and that he's no more that an over weighted middleweight.

John Ruiz (41-5-1, 28 KO's) is probably the most criticized boxer in boxing. However, he's still a world champion and is able to somehow defeat high contenders. Most boxing fans are of the opinion that Ruiz is boring and hope that Toney beat him in that fight to get red of Ruiz, but Ruiz is still cool under pressure and focused on the mission in hand. "My style is not the prettiest style in the world, but it gets me a win, by the reporters and commentators continually talking negative about my style, all that does make people hate it more. I guess they would rather see someone else rather than me in the ring," Said the WBA world champion.

With Stone by his side defended his fighter and attacked HBO boxing analyst Larry Merchant for criticizing Ruiz by saying that he's no more than a Greco-Roman boxer. Despite the critics, we have to give Ruiz all the credit for his lion kind of heart and for the always come back manner that he usually shows in the ring. We also have to respect Ruiz for learning from his past mistakes. Another important thing about Ruiz is that he gives every boxing lover a hope that he can be a champion whatever the physical ability he has.

In the Roach/Toney side, there is some of overconfidence especially with the "lights out" Toney. Toney thinks that he's the best in the world, unbeatable and will knock out Ruiz with ease, "Ruiz keeps talking about fighting the best, Ruiz is fighting the best - me!" says Toney. But he has to be careful with this, he's fighting a fighter that has all what it takes to beat anyone, stamina, smart as well as size compared to Toney, even Ruiz chin and stamina are not bad at all.

Toney (68-4-2, 43 KOs) relies a little bit on moving his upper part of his body to avoid punches and to land some shots; he has the old school type of boxing, with power and smarts. In my opinion, Toney's only downfall is his size as he's only a 5'9.

Moreover, Toney has to adjust to Ruiz difficult type of boxing, which has many names like (punch and clinch) and (jab and grab), yet Toney seems to have no problem with Ruizís unique type of fighting. "I make adjustments inside the ring, whatever he comes with, I will adjust. I will do what I do. Iím knocking him out. Flat out. Thereís no strategy involved. You train hard and go out there and fight. I adapt very well in each round and I donít see anything going wrong.Ē Said a confident Toney. Still, a lot of Toney fans are worried that he has rushed in losing weight to come in shape for the fight, and it looks like he failed in this, as he scaled in at 233 - a career high for him.

Nevertheless, Toney is more of a talented fighter, that use his skills in the ring to face whatever comes to him, whereas Ruiz is a more of a schooled fighter that likes to study his opponent very well before he get in with him in the ring; Ruiz also prefers to start with a preset strategy and follow it through to the end.

In my opinion, Toney can win this fight by out speeding and out powering the Puerto Rican, and by avoiding his jab with his head movement. He also will make things easier for him if he keeps himself away from Ruiz's constant clinches. Ruiz heavily relies on his jab accuracy, if he succeeded in catching Toney's head with as many jabs as possible despite the Toney's head movement, he will wear Toney down. Another thing is that if Ruiz succeeded to enforce his clinching to Toney, Toney will be in a real trouble.

Anyway, it is not going to be an easy fight for either of them, but what I do thing is that this fight is going to be a war between fighters that each one of them is looking to be the best in the world.

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Article posted on 28.04.2005

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