Remembering Donovan “Razor” Ruddock At His “Smashing” Best

By James Slater - 11/09/2023 - Comments

It’s still almost incomprehensible, even when writing the words down to again report that the “fight” is actually, for real taking place this Saturday night, but we are indeed just a couple of days away from seeing James Toney face Donovan “Razor” Ruddock in the ring in Kingston, Jamaica. The exhibition bout, one that is being billed as a “competitive fight,” whatever that means, will see 55 year old Toney go against the 59 year old Ruddock.

Despite the negative attitude many have had over the fight, the event has been successful in drumming up quite a bit of publicity. People know the fight is happening, put it that way (you can view, if you wish, on FITE, for $29.99).

Remembering Donovan “Razor” Ruddock At His “Smashing” Best

Ruddock hopes the event will raise a good bundle of cash for his former school. Toney’s motivation for taking part is less clear, but we can only suggest that “Lights Out” simply doesn’t know what else to do with his life but fight on (or try to do so). Toney, the baddest middleweight on the planet in 1991, this when Ruddock was one of the most lethally powerful heavyweight punchers in the world, is a born fighter, after all.

We know plenty about Toney’s magnificent ring displays and victories, but it’s probably fair to say we know a bit less about the peak Ruddock. Of course Razor was a big name in the 1990s, and fans are certainly aware of his big fights with Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis. But for the purposes of a nostalgia trip – one that won’t cost you a dime – here’s a look back at some of Ruddock’s most memorable fights.

KO4 Michael Dokes.

The night Razor unveiled his “Smash,” this his hybrid left hook/left uppercut of a bomb. The unfortunate Dokes took the lethal blow flush and at full-force, being wiped out in chilling fashion in New York in April of 1990. Ruddock had arrived.

KO7 Bonecrusher Smith.

On the way up the ladder, a young and still raw Ruddock had an exciting tussle with former WBA heavyweight champ Smith in July of 1989. Dropped in the second round, Razor got back up and he whacked Bonecrusher out in the seventh round in Fayetteville. Interestingly, Smith was trained by the great Joe Frazier for this fight.

TKO by 7 Mike Tyson. L12 Mike Tyson.

The two fights that made Ruddock one of the biggest, most popular names in the heavyweight division at the time. Thoroughly immune to Tyson’s intimidation tactics, Ruddock went right at Tyson in March of 1991. The two traded some heavy blows, but then Tyson, focusing a lot on Razor’s body, took charge. Ruddock, showing an anvil chin, came back to rock Tyson in a memorable round six. Then, in the next session, referee Richard Steele saw to it that there just had to be a rematch, this as he dived in, his back to Ruddock at the time, and stopped the fight as Tyson was on the attack and Razor was on the ropes.

It was hugely controversial, as was the near-riot in the ring that followed the blown call. The return came just three months later, also in Vegas. This time, despite being knocked down multiple times, Razor – who had suffered a broken jaw in the first fight – battled all the way to the final bell. Tyson won a wide decision but Ruddock had firmly won the respect of the former champ. But how much had the two wars taken out of Ruddock?

KO by 2 Lennox Lewis.

Razor was no match for the still up-and-coming Lewis. Fighting ‘for the right,’ in an elimination bout, Lewis and Ruddock met in London on Halloween night of 1992. Lewis shocked the world by wiping his former amateur rival out in just two sizzling rounds. It turned out, not wanting to take anything from Lewis’ brilliant showing, that the two Tyson wars had indeed taken their toll on Ruddock.

TKO by 6 Tommy Morrison.

Yet another fight Razor lost, but not before giving his opponent hell while at the same time giving the fans a truly memorable slugfest. Colliding in Kansas City in June of 1995, Morrison and Ruddock went at it hot and hard, the heat never cooling. Swapping knockdowns, heavy exchanges and pain, Morrison and Ruddock gave us too many highlight moment to recall! Once again, though he was stopped, on his feet in the sixth round, Ruddock had shown astonishing recuperative powers and immense fighting heart.

The Morrison war was Razor’s last big fight and it was his last great fight. Who knows what Ruddock will be able to give the fans that tune in on Saturday. In his short prime years, however, Ruddock, 40-6(30) was one of the most fun to watch heavyweights on the scene. And it’s a certainty that James Toney would not have messed with the prime Razor Ruddock!