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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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    Monday, December 19, 2005

    Ruiz-Valuev Controversy Still Boils: WRITE WBA TO DEMAND IMMEDIATE REMATCH! 

    The controversy over Saturday's disputed majority decision victory by Nicolay Valuev over John Ruiz in Berlin to capture the WBA heavyweight title is spilling over into the international media.

    Veteran British boxing writer John Rawling on the Guardian Unlimited web site, the online presence of the Guardian newspaper in the UK, called Valuev's win "a hotly disputed majority decision" and repeated other reports that "many of the 10,000-strong sell-out crowd at the Max Schmelling Halle jeered the verdict and John Ruiz claimed he had been robbed, saying it had been 'a sad day for the sport'."

    Ron Borges of The Boston Globe, who, according to Don King Productions' publicist Alan Hopper, was the only American journalist covering the Ruiz-Valuev fight live from Berlin, has written a follow-up story to his earlier report. This one is called "Ruiz left wondering if King's really in his corner".

    In this new piece, Borges reports, "Before dawn, King had received a call from rival promoter Bob Arum, who now handles King's former fighter and reigning World Boxing Council champion Hasim Rahman, about the possibility of a unification fight with Valuev, according to King. There also was talk of a showdown between Valuev and former World Boxing Organization champion Wladimir Klitschko, who made his name fighting in Germany and remains a huge sporting celebrity there but who never has wanted anything to do with Ruiz."

    There have been numerous examples of sanctioning bodies ordering or at least allowing immediate rematches following other "hotly disputed" decisions. The infamous draw in the first Lennox Lewis-Evander Holyfield heavyweight title unification fight led to an immediate rematch. Other controversial decisions in title fights which have seen immediate rematches in recent years include Hopkins-Taylor, Corrales-Castillo, and Wright-Mosley. So the precedent is there.

    Ruiz-Valuev was decided by a majority decision. One judge had it even at 114-114, while the other two judges scored it 116-114 and 116-113, both for Valuev. And almost all the 10,000 German judges in the stands scored it for Ruiz.

    Whether or not you like John Ruiz's style of fighting, he is a good man. In an era of Rafael Palmeiro, BALCO, and James Toney, Ruiz is one of the few top fighters who have gone on record publicly advocating random steroid testing.

    Plain and simple, John Ruiz deserves an immediate rematch with Nicolay Valuev. The promoters may think that more money might be made in the short run by matching up Valuev with someone else, like Hasim Rahman, Wladimir Klitschko, or whomever.

    But, as Ruiz said in his locker room after the fight, “I think this [decision] is ridiculous,” He continued, “This is a sad moment. Not only does this destroy me but it doesn’t do any good for boxing. It’s up to the people of Germany and around the world who saw this fight on TV to decide what they thought of this decision.”

    We are thus urging everyone to contact the WBA telling them that they must order an immediate rematch between Valuev and Ruiz. Put it in your own words, but here is their contact information, taken from their web site:

    CONTACT ADDRESSES WBA CENTRAL OFFICE

    Centro Comercial Ciudad Turmero, Local 21, Piso 2, Calle Petión
    c/c Urdaneta -
    Turmero 2115, Estado Aragua -Venezuela - P.O. BOX 377 - Maracay 2101-Estado Aragua -Venezuela -
    Phone: (0244) 663.15.84 / 663.33.47 -
    Fax: (0244) 663.31.77
    wbaven@wbaonline.com

    GILBERTO JESUS MENDOZA
    Executive Director:
    58 (414) 4922866
    58 (412) 3462898
    gjmendoza@wbaonline.com

    Executive Director
    Gilberto Mendoza, Jr.
    director@wbaonline.com

    In the meantime, remember that while John Ruiz may earn his living as a boxer, he is a human being just like any of us. After he was defeated by James Toney on April 30 at Madison Square Garden, and before Toney's positive doping test was known thus nullifying that decision, Ruiz announced his retirement from boxing. It was, of course, a short-lived retirement, even by boxing standards, but he was just disgusted with the way so many in the boxing establishment had been treating him.

    So while we wait for the normally slow-moving WBA to sort all this out, you can read a piece I wrote just after Ruiz had announced his retirement , as well as listen to an audio interview I did with his manager and trainer Norman "Stoney" Stone.

    And while you do all this, make sure to contact the WBA and demand that they do the right thing.

    Update: We also received this message from our old Boxingranks.com colleague Ian Spencer, known in Internet circles as Conan the Cribber, who saw the fight on television in Germany:

    Well I scored it 116:113 for Ruiz. I had three clear rounds for each and the rest were a mixed bag. Ruiz got no favours on the cards in the last two rounds, which I gave to him.

    Overall the fight was OK, but lacked all tension. Neither boxer was in trouble the whole fight. Valuev just kept throwing his jab the whole night, which landed often enough to win some rounds. Valuev landed about two rights the whole fight, one of which was in the twelfth. Ruiz was not hurt. Ruiz on the other hand would sometimes box, sometimes not. He landed about 2 jabs the whole night, but occasionally some good punches. If he tried, then he won the round. But Ruiz was absent a lot of the time and Valuev picked up the points.

    Overall I'd say anything two points advantage either way was justified. The crowd by the way booed their lungs out at the decision. It just didn't stop. That probably motivated Stoney to steal the belt back. A member of the Valuev team landed a nice right on Stoney and then all the security wrapped them all up.

    There was precious little holding by the way. Ruiz was smart and boxed from the outside. Only at the end did he bury himself in like a tick.

    Real tough to pick. Valuev did land a lot of jabs. On the other hand, it's scored via rounds. And Ruiz won more of them on my scorecard. I gave one round even, and one of the judges gave the same round even (the 9th).

    Ruiz landed some nice shots on Valuev, who just blinked them off. Should've back the over.

    cheers

    conan

    p.s. Laila Ali won by a 5th round KO. She was lucky her opponent tired as she was getting a boxing lesson. The stoppage was good as the Swede was stunned and helpless and didn't know how to defend herself. The crowd didn't like it, they wanted to see more, but it was only a matter of time before the tiring Swede ran out of gas and got tagged.

    p.p.s the elbow stuff is a crock of shyte. Valuev never threw an elbow, nor was he warned for it. He used his foreman to push Ruiz off him, that's all.

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