24.12.03 - By P.Mendoza: John Ruiz might not be the most skilled boxer in the Heavyweight division. He is far from being the most entertaining. If skills and popularity were money Ruiz would probably be in a homeless shelter somewhere. If determination had a monetary value Ruiz would be a multi-millionaire. He continues to defy the odds by beating much more skilled opponents (Holyfield,Johnson,Rahman) by implanting his crude and rather frustrating style full of smothering and decisive clinching. The Quiet Man is set to don the WBA strap in his next fight due to default since the current holder Roy Jones Jr is looking to give a rematch to a very deserving southpaw named Antonio Tarver.
Ruiz's future seems quite promising. The division is wide open and there are plenty of opponents out there that present winnable outcomes for John Ruiz. Fellow countryman Fres Oquendo is a very possible fight. Ruiz has more experience and brings more power than Fres. Fres condtioning is another factor since he was pretty winded down the stretch in his last fight with Bryd. Fres is a little quicker than Ruiz but I don't know if he can establish his jab before Ruiz starts using his rough tactics. This match up is far from a crowd pleasing fight since both fighters last ring efforts left a nasty after taste in most viewers heads. Ruiz could pull of this win, which would probably have him as the underdog again.
Mesi is a upcoming contender that most fans think would get a title shot in 2004. Hey why not against Ruiz. I doubt Mesi's handlers would want to put him in with Bryd since all he would do is bring out the Tua blueprint to win an easy fight. Ruiz has the power to hurt Mesi. If Barret could floor and make Mesi cautious then I pretty much envision Ruiz doing the same. Ruiz rough clinching style could pose problems for the young Mesi who sometimes rushes blindly. Mesi still could win this fight. He has the power to knock out Ruiz. The real question is his ring generalship skills mature enough to make the opportunity unfold.
Ruiz could unify with Bryd and obtain 2/3rds of the championship. This is highly possible since both fighters are under King. If Bryd thought he had probelms with Fres rough foul filled style, he will have to bring out his A game when he enters the ring with the boxer who invented the style. Ruiz could win an ugly decision but i highly doubt Bryd would go on the offensive again and i don't think Ruiz would go to the extremes by tackling and headlocks, but you never know.
The K brothers are also possible opponents for Ruiz. If I was Norman Stone I would steer clear from the elder of the brothers because the size advantage is too far. I doubt Ruiz could imply his strategy on a towering man who stands 6'8. A match with Wlad would fare better. Skill wise Wlad wins in every category, but Ruiz could hurt him with that sneaky right hand. You have to wonder if Nicholson's clinching was proper preparation for a fight with Ruiz who clinches more decisively an is in better shape.
After the Rahman victory Ruiz has some momentum going. He doesn't get the credit he deserves. He has a string of ugly fights that most fans would rather forget than mention he won. He was going through relationship problems during the Roy Jones Jr fight. In addition he had the job of promoting a fight in order to get paid since he wasn't guranteed any money due to one of those infamous Roy Jones contracts. Yet no one gives him an excuse whereas fighters like Manfredy are allowed to go through depressions or drug abuse everytime they have a loss. Well John Ruiz keeps winning all while being seriously counted out in every possible match up. He must be doing something right. Right?