Klitschko vs. Rahman, Ruiz Toney Done Deals!

By Francis Walker
Updated: March 20, 2005

NEW YORK, NY.—World heavyweight championship fights involving Vitali Klitschko and John Ruiz are finally completed. In June, Klitschko will defend the WBC heavyweight title against for champion and current WBC No. 1-ranked contender, Hasim Rahman. Although Ruiz will defend the WBA heavyweight title against mandatory challenger James Toney, no date has been announced. The winners of these two fights will participate in a world heavyweight championship unification tournament promoted by Don King.

Rahman would be the toughest test for Klitschko since he won the WBC title last April. While Klitschko has had only once defense and had two fights in 2004, Rahman fought 5 times last year winning four by knockout.

Klitschko-Rahman was originally supposed to occur on April 30, but Klitschko injured his leg in training camp. Ruiz-Toney could take place on the vacant April 30 date, pending approval from HBO and a site willing to host the fight.

Ruiz, the first and only Latino to have ever won a heavyweight championship, is the man that Roy Jones, Jr. beat two years ago to become the first middleweight in over 100 years since Bob Fitsimmons to capture a heavyweight title.

Toney, a former middleweight champion and Jones rival at 160 pounds, could become the second middleweight champion in approximately two years to have defeated Ruiz for a heavyweight title.

Toney has only fought once during the past 16 months as a result of injuries. Considering Ruiz have hard-fought victories against Rahman, Evander Holyfield, Kirk Johnson, Fres Oquendo, and Andrew Golota, a title loss to Toney would be a shame.

King, who has Rahman, Ruiz, along with IBF heavyweight champion Chris Byrd and WBO heavyweight champion Lamon Brewster under contract, is looking to reenergize excitement in the heavyweight division by creating one universally recognized world heavyweight champion. When Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, and Lennox Lewis held the title of “undisputed,” everyone had to go through only one champion to fight for the title, not three or four.

Riddick Bowe Comeback: Former undisputed world heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe is on the comeback trail at age 37. How serious is fighter’s comeback if they weigh a career-high 273 pounds? That same question was asked when George Foreman was well over 275 when he began his comeback in 1990 following a 10-year absence. Foreman went on to knockout Michael Moorer in the tenth-round to become the oldest fighter to win the heavyweight title in Nov. 1994.

Bowe, 1-0 since knocking out Marcus Rhode since he return in September, is famous for his dramatic 36-round, 3-fight trilogy with Holyfield along with two disqualification victories against Golota. During a career plagued by controversy and weight problems, Bowe never fought Mike Tyson or Lennox Lewis.

Today, Bowe plans to have three fights in the next month and hopes to eventually once day become a legitimate top-10 contender. Bowe has not had a competitive fight in more than eight years.