Boxing

Stoney - The "Rock" In The Ruiz Corner

22.12.05 - By Jim Amato: Norman " Stoney " Stone has decided for a number of rumored reasons to retire from the corner of former WBA heavyweight kingpin John Ruiz. Stone has been vilified on many occasions throughout his association with Ruiz. Controversial? You bet. Entertaining? Well, I guess that comes down to the "eye of the beholder" category, yet "Stoney" was usually good copy. It all came down to drawing attention to your fighter and as a manager, Norman had the knack..

Let's face it, John Ruiz is a decent fighter and a decent man. What he lacks is charisma. Enter Norman Stone. Like him or dislike him. Agree with him or disagree with him...This guy was a mover and a shaker. In my book, without him, John Ruiz would not be where he is today.

John Ruiz turned pro in 1992. On November 27, 1993, I saw John fight live in Cleveland. He won a rather boring six round decision over a journeyman, Carl "Not The Truth" Williams. If you would have told me then that Ruiz would one day beat Evander Holyfield and be a major player in the heavyweight division for nearly a decade, I would have laughed in your face. Hey, guess what? In 1994, he lost a twelve round decision to Danell Nicholson for the vacant IBO heavyweight title. After reeling off seven wins, he was then crushed in less then a round by the feared David Tua. At that point, could anyone honestly see Ruiz ever becoming a champion?

Ruiz hit the big time in 1998 when he halted former champion Tony "TNT" Tucker. On August 12, 2000, Ruiz was matched with Evander Holyfield for the vacant WBA title. John lost a highly debatable decision. It set up a return match that took place on March 3, 2001. On that night, John Ruiz was crowned "World Champion." In December, he drew with Evander to retain his crown. Without a doubt, three of the most boring fights I've ever witnessed!

Nevertheless, as champion, Ruiz did not have a bad run. He beat Kirk Johnson on a disqualification. This was a fight that most people saw John losing but I thought he was getting the better of Johnson up until the stoppage.

Then came his legit loss to a prime time Roy Jones Jr. Lucky for Ruiz, that Jones decided to go back to the light heavyweight division. Next, Ruiz "regains" his title with a well deserved points win over Hasim "The Rock" Rahman. This mat go down as John's best career win.

In 2004, Ruiz halted Fres Oquendo and edged Andrew Golota. In 2005, his loss on points to James Toney was changed to a "No Contest" because Toney may have violated the steroid use rules. Ruiz was again re-instated as WBA champion. Next came the loss to Valuev. Where does Ruiz go next remains to be seen. He has already expressed his desire for a return engagement.

I'm not quite sure when Norman Stone entered the career of John Ruiz. At least what I think I see is a manager who did what a manager is supposed to do. Make as much money for your fighter as you can with the minimal amount of risk. In my opinion "Stoney" did that. He did not make foolish matches for John against Lennox Lewis or Vitali Klitschko. He did not put him in a unification fight with IBF titleholder Chris Byrd, who probably would have boxed Ruiz silly.

I think "Stoney" helped an under rated, yet over achieving John Ruiz make a whole lotta of money. Give the man his due, he's earned it !

Article posted on 23.12.2005



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