Ruiz Loses WBA Heavyweight Title

By Francis Walker
Updated: December 19, 2005

NEW YORK — John Ruiz has lost the WBA heavyweight championship for the second time in 2005. Ruiz (41-6-1, 34 KOs) dropped a 12-round majority decision against undefeated, No. 1-ranked Nicolay Valuev (41-0, 34 KOs) on Saturday in Berlin, Germany. At 7′ 4,” 324 pounds, Valuev becomes the largest heavyweight champion in boxing history.

In April, Ruiz lost a unanimous decision and his WBA championship to James Toney. However, Toney failed a post-fight drug examination. Ruiz’ loss was changed to a no-contest and was awarded back his WBA title.

Ruiz was ahead on one of the three judges scorecards, but trailed by two rounds on each of the other two. Ruiz needed a knockdown or a 10-8 round to retain his title on a draw. Valuev won the final round on two scorecards, while the third judge scored the twelfth round 10-10.

The three judges scored the bout 116-113 and 116-114 for Valuev, and 114-114 even.

“I think this is ridiculous,” Ruiz said afterwards. “This is a sad moment. Not only does this destroy me but it doesn’t do any good for boxing.”

One thing is certain – Ruiz was nothing special as a fighter. He was unpopular with the media, boxing promoters, and American fight fans because of his ugly one-punch and clinch style. Also, Ruiz heavyweight title reign was anything but memorable.

Ruiz’ biggest accomplishment occurred on March 3, 2001. Ruiz made boxing history when he became the first Latino to win a heavyweight title. Ruiz won a majority decision against Evander Holyfield to win the WBA championship. Since then, Ruiz has continued to make history, but very disappointing.

There is a saying that a good big man will always defeat a great little man. That was not the case when Ruiz became the first heavyweight champion in more than 100 years to lose his title to a former middleweight contender. In March 2003, Roy Jones, Jr. defeated Ruiz to become the first former middleweight champion to capture a heavyweight crown since Bob Fitzsimmons.

Ruiz would become the first Latino to regain the heavyweight championship when he defeated Hasim Rahman in December 2003, but it was a dreadful encounter that featured plenty of clinching.

Although Ruiz would successfully defend the WBA title against Fres Oquendo in the first heavyweight title match between two Latino fighters at Madison Square Garden on April 17, 2004. But it was an unpleasant fight that had plenty of clinching and wrestling. Ruiz heavyweight championship defenses against Holyfield, Andrew Golota and Kirk Johnson, were also unpleasant.

Ruiz will petition the WBA to review his fight with Valuev with the intent of the organization ordering an immediate rematch.

Ali’s Daughter Wins Again

Laila Ali (22-0, 19 KOs), the daughter of the legendary Muhammad Ali, knocked out 6′ 2,” Aasa Sandell (3-2-1, 2KOs) in the fifth round of the undercard to Valuev-Ruiz’ heavyweight title bout. The fight ended at 1:51 of the fifth round when Sandell could not respond following a relentless barrage of punches from Ali.