02.03.04 – By Tony Nobbs: Australia’s rampaging Hurricane, WBC number two Lt Heavyweight Paul Briggs headlines an all star cast at the Penrith Panthers Leagues Cub in West Sydney on Sunday afternoon when he faces Mexico’s WBC number eight Jesus ‘Chuy’ Ruiz. Eastside spoke to the twenty eight year old Briggs (21-1, 17 KO) at his Gold Cost home on Monday night and he was as personable as ever as he spoke of his strong desire to make 2004 the year he becomes world champion while acknowledging he has been warned not to overlook Ruiz, 30, who has 16 KO’s in his 18-3 slate. Briggs and Ruiz were tentatively set to meet on the Mayweather-Chavez u/c in San Francisco in November 2001. Paul, who was working out of Freddie Roach’s Wild Card gym ended up stopping California’s James Green in three. OPBF champion Briggs, who intends to base himself in the states after this weekends schedule twelve rounder flies to Sydney on Thursday. Ruiz, who has three stoppage victories on the trot, arrives today (Tuesday).Briggs was last in action scoring a five round stoppage of lanky Argentine Juan Zabala at the Panthers in October.
In knowing Briggs well since he resumed his boxing career under trainer Rod Waterhouse in 2000, one thing should be pointed out. This is not a cocky loud mouth. But a confident, real fighter type willing to back up his words. Every answer is deliberate. Here’s what he had to say.
Eastside: Paul, what do you know of Jesus Ruiz and what are you expecting?
Paul Briggs: We have been hearing reports from the states this guy is coming with a plan. He says I can’t handle pressure and he thinks I’m vunerable to body shots. That’s ok. They all have a plan though I’m rapt he is coming in with a winners attitude. I just think my speed and all round skill will be the difference. I’ve studied his record over and over and every time he has stepped up in competition it’s a different story. That’s something I picked up from my kick-boxing days. Some guys can’t take that leap. (Ruiz’ three losses were back to back in 2000-01 against Jorge Gonzales, Montell Griffin and Rodney Toney though he did stop the rated Glen Robinson in 2000).
ESB: How has your preparation been?
PB: Great. I’m feeling awesome, raring to go. I’m super fit for this fight. Fitter than when I beat Jorge Castro (last April). With Castro I was fit but this time I’m stronger and faster. My speed will be the difference. Because I’m punching faster my power is even better. People know I can punch but I can box as well, like I showed against Castro.
ESB: Who have you been sparring?
PB: I had some great sparring last week. I got some great work in with Danny Green until he injured his shoulder. We really went at it and it was just what I needed to get ready for this fight. At one stage we were in a corner smashing away and yelling ‘come on’ at each other. You could sell tickets to our spars. It really clicked my head into gear. I’m very lucky to have Danny here to spar. I also got good rounds with Lawrence (Tuasa) and Shannan (Taylor).
ESB: This is a terrific card.
PB: It’s going to be an awesome card. It will go forever. You have so many world rated Australian fighters being shown. It will be great for TV.
ESB: What is your opinion on RoyJones – AntonioTarver?
PB: I honestly don’t think it will happen. I don’t think with Tarver he has anything to prove. Because he hates Tarver I think it will hurt him more by not giving him the fight. It’ll be interesting to see (what happens). We know there is talk between him and Glencoffee Johnson. The plan for me is to fight Ruiz then get over there and fight Tarver on the Oscar Dela Hoya under-card in June. It all depends on what Jones decides to do. But right now, the only person on my radar is Jesus Ruiz.
ESB: You were WBC number one before Tarver lost the title to Jones…
PB: Yes. That is why this fight with Ruiz is so good. He is number eight and it’s showing that I want to fight. I want to get in a position where these guys have to fight me. You know, I really want to prove to the Yanks that I’m a threat. I don’t want to sit around. There is a lot of press in the States for this fight. A lot of people are looking at me to be the one who shuts Tarver up because he has such a big mouth. You know, with Tarver I saw something in the Jones fight. The fight was there for him to win but he didn’t go for it. I will make him fight. There are a lot of good fights to be made in the division with Johnson or Calzaghe. Even Trinidad is talking of moving up…I can’t wait to get to the states and start rockin’ n rollin’!
ESB: There are reports you have signed with Oscar Dela Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions. Ruiz is one of their fighters. Fill us in.
PB: We have not signed officially yet. We wanted to get something in concrete before this fight but they said, no, wait until after. Then Oscar sent out a press release which is a show of good faith. It’s all looking good but I have to beat Ruiz first. There’s a lot on the line in this fight.
ESB: Getting away from boxing for a bit. You said earlier you went to watch the Passions of Christ. Your thoughts?
PB: I went last night. It was awesome. Very real. A lot of people are saying it was violent but that is how it was. What I liked was it was so passionate. How He kept getting up. That is what I liked and what I appreciate. I will go and watch it again before the fight.
ESB: A final word?
PB: Yes. It doesn’t matter what Jesus Ruiz has done, how hard he has trained. Nothing is going to stop me from winning on Sunday. I feel I will definitely be champion this year-no matter who I fight and I’m looking forward to dominating the division.
The undercard for Sundays show, televised live on Main Event PPV and Sky Channel is:
Shannan Taylor (Aus) v Paulo Sanchez (Arg) 12rds
Lovemore Ndou (Aus) v Joel Perez (USA) 12rds
Sam Soliman (Aus) v Jorge Sclandari (Arg) 12rds
Brett Smith v Tosca Petridis (vacant Australian Cruiserweight belt) 10rds
Nedal Hussein (Aus) v Donny Suratin (Indo) 8rds
Yohannas Sherifaw (Aus) v Diego Alzugaray (Arg) 8rds
Paul Miller (Aus) v Peter Rudd (Aus) 6rds
Promoters: Glenn Wheatley and Tony Carradonna.
First fight: 12.30 pm NSW time.
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