Ruiz - Valuev not to be televised in the US

09.12.05 - By Geoffrey Ciani: On December 17, WBA heavyweight champion, John Ruiz, will travel to the Max Schmelling Arena in Berlin, Germany, in order to defend his title against “The Beast from the East”, Nicolay Valuev. Sadly for boxing fans in the United States, this bout will not be televised.

This is nothing short of disgraceful. After all, this is a heavyweight title fight we’re talking about here, and the American boxing audience won’t even be able to watch it. Frankly, I cannot remember the last time a heavyweight championship bout wasn’t televised in the U.S. Has the state of the heavyweight division sunk so low that we’ve reached the point where fans are no longer afforded the opportunity to watch title fights? This is ridiculous!

OK, I know this is a John Ruiz fight and that Ruiz fights are typically known for their infamous lack of excitement. However, this fight is actually somewhat intriguing because Ruiz is facing an undefeated challenger who’s compiled a record of 42-0 – and he happens to be seven feet tall and somewhere in the vicinity of 330 pounds. That in itself warrants a level of circus-like curiosity.

Ruiz’s championship reign has had more lives than most cats. Ruiz has a knack for holding onto his title even when he should have lost it. First off, there was the dubious draw against Evander Holyfield in the finale of the most unmemorable trilogy in boxing history. Then there was his DQ victory over Kirk Johnson; Johnson had promised to enter the ring looking like Muhammad Ali. Instead, he wound up looking like Andrew Golota because he couldn’t keep his punches above the belt-line. This was followed-up by his embarrassing loss to former middleweight champion, Roy Jones, Jr.

One would have thought that the loss to Jones was the end of the line for Ruiz; however, one would have been wrong! Just before Jones vacated the title he had just won, Ruiz was inexplicably given the opportunity to fight for the interim championship against former champion Hasim Rahman. In what may very well have been the most boring boxing match I’ve ever seen, “The Quiet Man” out-hustled Rahman for a unanimous decision. Following this, Jones vacated the WBA strap, and Ruiz was reinstated as the WBA champ. This was followed up by a snoozer against Oquendo which had more clinches than punches thrown.

After that, Ruiz was soundly defeated by Andrew Golota, but once again, Ruiz somehow managed to hold onto his title due to the awful decision that robbed Golota of his first championship. Following his gift victory against Golota, Ruiz would once again lose to another former middleweight champion, James Toney.

This loss gave him the unique distinction of being the only heavyweight champion to twice lose his title to former middleweights. (Are you listening, Bernard Hopkins?) That is, until Toney was caught cheating when he tested positive for steroids, which enabled Ruiz to once again be reinstated as WBA champion.

It’s actually almost comical that someone as bad as Ruiz has managed to stay in the championship spot-light for so long. Somehow or another, he always seems to remain in the mix of things, be it bad decisions, vacated championships, disqualifications, or his opponent testing positive for steroids. Lest we forget, this is the same man who was annihilated by David Tua in a mere 19 seconds back in 1997.

Valuez poses an interesting challenge for Ruiz’s ugly jab-and-grab style. Largely an unknown commodity in the U.S., Valuev holds victories over Gerard “The Jedi” Nobles, Clifford “The Black Rhino” Etienne, and most recently, Larry “The Legend” Donald. 31 of his 42 victories have come via way of knockout, and aside from the somewhat controversial decision over Donald, Valuev has looked impressive for the most part – especially when one considers his enormous size.

Will Ruiz by able to hug his way to victory against his gigantic opponent? Will he be able to find some new and unusual way to once again keep hold of the title he really doesn’t deserve to have in the first place? Call me crazy, but I actually have a strange suspicion that “The Quiet Man” is going to slay “The Beast from the East” somehow or another. Furthermore, I suspect this will actually be an entertaining bout, at least as far as Ruiz fights are concerned.

Unfortunately, like the rest of the fight fans living in the States, I won’t have an opportunity to watch this fight. This is an absolute disgrace! It’s BS of the highest order!

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Article posted on 09.12.2005

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