At the scales in Berlin: Valuev: 324 - Ruiz: 237,5

By Per Ake Persson: December 16, Berlin, Germany: WBA heavyweight champ John Ruiz scales 107,8 kg / 237,5 lbs for tomorrow´s fight against Russian giant Nikolai Valuev, who came in at 147,0 kg / 324 lbs. Ruiz wore gym clothes. After the weigh-in the two had a lenghty staredown and neither backed off... the excitement grew in congress hall at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. Don King wasn´t there but could be seen holding court in the hotel lobby..

The rules meeting was very quiet. WBA supervisor George Martinez from Canada read the rules. The three knockdown rules is in effect and there is no standing eight count.

The only controversy came when the parties were to pick gloves as Team Ruiz and Sauerland Event have different sponsors and that led to a lenghty discussion.

Referee will be South African Stanley Christodoulou.

Most people I spoke seems to go with Valuev on points but no-one predicted an entertaining fight.

Laila Ali looked trim and "up" her 10x2 non-title fight against Sweden´s Aasa Sandell. Ali weighed in at 165,5 lbs while Sandell came in at 167. Sandell tried to look cool and relaxed but was visibly shaken by the staredown and as Laila said something not so nice to her she turned away.

Working Sandell´s corner is Lennox Blackmore but not even a trainer of that calibre can change the fact that Sandell is in way over her head. "I have watched her on video" said Ali´s trainer Paddy Fitzpatrick. "She has some ability but makes too many basic mistakes. I´ll expect it will last two or three rounds." Ali vs Sandell is bigtime news in Sweden though and the fight will be televised by Viasat with Lars Myrberg commentating.

The eight-fight bill also features cruiser Marco Huck, who takes on American Michael Samms in an
eight-rounder. Russian heavy Alexander Povetkin is in against Willie Chapman. Willie told spectators to take a good look at him now "because I won´t mess around tomorrow!".

Norwegian jr middle Nikita Dubunin, 2-0, face Czech trialhorse Petr Rykala. TV 2 in Norway televise with Erik Nielsen commentating along with Olof Johansson while Steffen Tangstad handles the studio work. It´s comeback of sorts for both Johansson and Tangstad, who used to work a lot together a few years back.

The show at the Max Schmeling Halle begins at 6.45 PM and a sellout (10 000+ people) is expected.

Article posted on 16.12.2005

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