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Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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    Wednesday, December 14, 2005

    The Best Heavyweight in the World Today Fights Saturday 


    He defeated the current WBC heavyweight champ Hasim Rahman, now receiving all sorts of accolades from so many affluent and opulent corners, by unanimous decision just two years ago, on Dec. 13, 2003.

    He beat Evander Holyfield, really twice in 2000 and 2001 followed by a controversial draw, when Holyfield was still real and was himself able to beat Rahman in his next fight on June 1, 2002 (when Rahman suffered that famous hematoma in his head).

    He beat the fouling Andrew Golota on Nov. 13, 2004, despite Golota being allowed to land numerous unpenalized illegal blows. We covered that fight in depth and later spoke with him along with his colorful and blunt manager, trainer, and friend, Norman "Stoney" Stone (click on the link to the audio to hear it for yourself).

    He knocked out Fres Oquendo on April 17, 2004, and forced Kirk Johnson essentially to foul out on July 27, 2002.

    Who is my number one heavyweight? By now you should have gotten over whatever unnecessary shock you may be in by realizing that my top man in the heavyweight division is the current WBA heavyweight champion, John “The Quietman” Ruiz.

    If you disagree, tell me who is better than him. IBF champ Chris Byrd is clearly fading while WBO champ Lamon Brewster still seems tentative in his major fights, such as with Wladimir Klitschko and Luan Krasniqi, even when he wins.

    Vitali Klitschko, now retired, was vastly overrated and avoided top opponents -- like Rahman -- after LOSING to an overweight Lennox Lewis, who then himself retired. Wladimir Klitschko? If Sam Peter learned how to box, he'd have had him for lunch, as Lamon Brewster eventually did.

    The only men to defeat Ruiz in the ring in recent years have been Roy Jones Jr. and James Toney. In their fight of March 1, 2003, won by Jones by a clear-cut unanimous decision, Ruiz employed the wrong strategy by trying to box with Jones. This bout also turned out to be the Jones's last top-notch performance, and, of course, he then returned to the light heavyweight division.

    On April 30, 2005, Ruiz lost a unanimous decision to a roided-up Toney, later changed to a no decision. We have discussed this already at length in Ruiz and Toney: The Next Chapter .

    So who is a superior heavyweight, who has a better record in actual fights in the division, and who better deserves to be ranked number one in what is admittedly a weight class thin on talent?

    So he fights ugly. Since when has pretty been part of boxing? Who is his promoter, Don King or Halle Berry? You want pretty? Read the blog of Trust Me, I'm A Blonde or watch Desperate Housewives (hey, nothing wrong with that as I do, too).

    The next performance of John Ruiz is this coming Saturday, Dec. 17, in Berlin, Germany, against the undefeated seven-foot Russian Nicolay Valuev. This fight will be shown live on German television, but not at all on American television and neither online, as far as we know.

    Part of this American blackout is due to the relentless attacks on Ruiz by many in the boxing media who somehow lose their bravado when it comes to writing about really important issues such as the struggle for a boxers' union.

    This is one fight I wish were available for viewing worldwide. Again boxing fails to serve a hungry market.

    One hopeful sign for a fairly officiated fight is that the referee will be veteran Stanley Christodoulou, who was the only judge who scored Lewis-Holyfield I correctly.

    Below in full is a press release put out Wednesday called "Travel Notes from the final press conference held today in Berlin for Ruiz vs. Valuev" by Don King Productions:

    John Ruiz to Defend WBA Heavyweight Crown Against ‘Giant Russian’ Valuev on Saturday in Berlin

    BERLIN--The final press conference prior to John “The Quietman” Ruiz’s defense of his World Boxing Association heavyweight championship against Nicolay “Giant Russian” Valuev, which will take place on Saturday at Max Schmeling Halle here in Berlin, was staged today before a full audience at the Maritim proArte Hotel.

    The fight will be shown on free German television on ARD channel 1 but will not be seen in America and is co-presented by Berlin-based Sauerland Event, promoter of Valuev, and Don King Productions, promoter of Ruiz.

    The assembled German media seemed interested and curious to be covering the build up to a rare occurrence: a world heavyweight championship being determined in Berlin.

    The press conference took place adjacent to the U.S. Embassy and a stone’s throw from the seat of government for Germany, the Reichstag and Bundeskanzleramt (the Reichstag is to Congress what the Bundeskanzleramt is to the White House….).

    Another 500 yards down the road is the site of the former Berlin wall.

    Today, a unified Berlin is a bustling, modern city of about 3.5 million people that is in the middle of its winter weather, which is almost always overcast and chilly.

    Santa Claus and his reindeer are ubiquitous in this capital city with posters throughout town announcing the return of the annual holiday Wienacht Circus featuring, you guessed it, Santa Claus and more reindeer.

    It will be staged on the former site of the castle of the Prussian Monarchy, where the German emperors lived beginning in 1871 with Wilhelm I. Frederic III took over in 1888 but he died after just 100 days. Wilhelm II then came to power until being exiled to Holland after World War I, ending the German monarchy and paving the way for the first German republic.

    The castle of Prussia no longer stands. It was bombed out during World War II and later completely removed by the communist East German government after they took over in 1949, thus making it a perfect site for the circus.

    Noteworthy in their holiday spirit, Berliners seem to have saved some of the old world flavor of the season as compared to what is seen in most malls of America during December. Shopping and eating at open-air clusters of temporary booths abound on various streets and corners throughout the heart of Berlin creating a festive holiday atmosphere.

    Many of these booths are operated by craftsmen who have traveled into the city from the surrounding countryside to sell items they have created themselves for sale.

    The undefeated, No. 1-challenger Valuev, who stands 7 feet and weighed in for his last fight against Larry Donald at an astonishing 324 ½ pounds, was asked by a reporter to explain how he obtained his “Beast from the East” nickname. He explained that was done by former management and that he now prefers the Giant Russian moniker, although.

    A better description may be provided visually when Valuev enters the ring. He doesn’t step through the ropes, he steps OVER them.

    Valuev says Ruiz’s star-studded world championship fight record including wins over Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield, Kirk Johnson, Hasim ‘The Rock” Rahman, Fres Oquendo, and Andrew Golota do not faze him.

    “I am not any more nervous for this fight because it is my first world championship match,” Valuev said. “I will try to keep Ruiz away from inside clinching to use my height and reach advantages to prevail.

    John Ruiz has been in Berlin for a week and was also polite when he spoke, noting this was the first time he has visited Germany.

    “I’m honored to be in Germany defending my title,” Ruiz said. “If a KO comes it comes. That just means I get to leave work early. I’m coming into this fight in great shape to go 12 rounds.

    “I’m not worried about his height or reach advantage. I trained to fight and will come to fight. My game plan is to take the fight to him, which will neutralize any height or reach advantage.”

    When asked if he fears the bout going the distance, Ruiz spoke plainly.

    “I know there have been questionable decisions [in Germany] but what can I do? I can only do my best.”

    One journalist asked Ruiz if it was true that he arrived in Berlin with 28 pieces of luggage, and if so, why?

    “We plan to bring pieces of the giant Russian back to the United States” he quipped. “We’re going to give them out as Christmas presents.”

    Ruiz’s manager Norman Stone, normally colorful, was uncharacteristically demure in addressing the Berlin media.

    “We respect Valuev,” Stone said. “He’s a big guy and a tough guy and anything can happen. That’s why preparation is so important. Johnny’s prepared. My guy’s ready and it’s going to be a great fight.”

    Links to this post:

    Comments:
    Ruiz fights dirty? All boxing is dirty. That is what makes it so fabulous. This was a really good read!!!

    No one has ever described my blog as pretty...skanky, dirty, whore-ish and slutty, YES. Pretty, no. But thanks anyway ;).
     
    I have to rate Toney ahead of Ruiz. There was no question of who beat whom when they fought, and the steroid issue is a red herring. John simply lost to a better fighter. As far as I can tell, Toney is the only heavyweight over the past three or four years with a legitmate claim of superiority over Ruiz.
     
    Thanks for the comments. Giving a good read is my business.

    First, I wouldn't say that Ruiz fights dirty, but his clinching and holding style often goes to the limit, and sometimes past, of the rules. But it also is quite effective for him, and I personally don't mind it because I appreciate what he is doing.

    As for Blonde's blog, I agree that it is "skanky, dirty, whore-ish and slutty," which is precisely why we like it and read it. The "pretty" remark was referring more to the people involved, including presumably the as yet publicly unseen Blonde (which, of course, is her right). It applies as well to "Desperate Housewives", where there has been murder, assault, kidnapping, and all sorts of other sordid, unpretty activities by its mainly pretty characters each week, all making it the number one TV show in America.

    As for Toney and Ruiz, ranking fighters is indeed to some degree a subjective business. We will never know just how much the steroids Toney took helped him heal and avoid injury both before and when he fought Ruiz, as well as withstand Johnny's jabs and power shots, and increase his own power. We also do not know what else Toney might have taken since the New York commission didn't release Toney's doping test on privacy grounds. We only have Toney's version of it on the public record, and, as said before, he declined to have a public hearing where more of what was in his system may have come out. So how Toney would have fared against Ruiz if he were clean, especially in the injury department, is still unknown. For instance, although Ruiz did not fire enough jabs and had trouble boxing Toney, he did crack him with some good shots which rattled Toney but did not drop him.

    Since Toney is banned by WBA rules from fighting for any of its titles for about another year and a half, it is unlikely that these two will ever fight again. So I certainly see your point about Ruiz's disappointing performance against Toney on April 30 having you rank Ruiz below Toney. I just don't agree with it, and wonder how we will see things after Ruiz fights Valuev and if Toney fights Rahman.
     
    Post a Comment

    3 Comments:

    Ruiz fights dirty? All boxing is dirty. That is what makes it so fabulous. This was a really good read!!!

    No one has ever described my blog as pretty...skanky, dirty, whore-ish and slutty, YES. Pretty, no. But thanks anyway ;).

    By Blogger Blonde, at 9:05 PM  

    I have to rate Toney ahead of Ruiz. There was no question of who beat whom when they fought, and the steroid issue is a red herring. John simply lost to a better fighter. As far as I can tell, Toney is the only heavyweight over the past three or four years with a legitmate claim of superiority over Ruiz.

    By Anonymous Charles Farrell, at 12:26 AM  

    Thanks for the comments. Giving a good read is my business.

    First, I wouldn't say that Ruiz fights dirty, but his clinching and holding style often goes to the limit, and sometimes past, of the rules. But it also is quite effective for him, and I personally don't mind it because I appreciate what he is doing.

    As for Blonde's blog, I agree that it is "skanky, dirty, whore-ish and slutty," which is precisely why we like it and read it. The "pretty" remark was referring more to the people involved, including presumably the as yet publicly unseen Blonde (which, of course, is her right). It applies as well to "Desperate Housewives", where there has been murder, assault, kidnapping, and all sorts of other sordid, unpretty activities by its mainly pretty characters each week, all making it the number one TV show in America.

    As for Toney and Ruiz, ranking fighters is indeed to some degree a subjective business. We will never know just how much the steroids Toney took helped him heal and avoid injury both before and when he fought Ruiz, as well as withstand Johnny's jabs and power shots, and increase his own power. We also do not know what else Toney might have taken since the New York commission didn't release Toney's doping test on privacy grounds. We only have Toney's version of it on the public record, and, as said before, he declined to have a public hearing where more of what was in his system may have come out. So how Toney would have fared against Ruiz if he were clean, especially in the injury department, is still unknown. For instance, although Ruiz did not fire enough jabs and had trouble boxing Toney, he did crack him with some good shots which rattled Toney but did not drop him.

    Since Toney is banned by WBA rules from fighting for any of its titles for about another year and a half, it is unlikely that these two will ever fight again. So I certainly see your point about Ruiz's disappointing performance against Toney on April 30 having you rank Ruiz below Toney. I just don't agree with it, and wonder how we will see things after Ruiz fights Valuev and if Toney fights Rahman.

    By Blogger Eddie Goldman, at 1:37 AM  

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