Former World Champion Competes In L.A. Marathon

By Francis Walker
Updated: March 7, 2007

NEW YORK — Boxers are very frequently judged by the media for what they did or didn’t do inside the squared-circle. It’s very rare that a fighter receives any credit for something wonderful outside the ring.

On Sunday, March 4, former IBF lightweight champion and recent California Boxing Hall of Fame inductee Rafael Ruelas competed in the 2007 Los Angeles Marathon in the state of California .

Ruelas’ participation in the marathon was viewed as one of the toughest challenges he’s ever endured both physically and mentally.

“I’ve been training with my younger brother, Francisco Javier Ruelas,” the older 35-year-old said before the race. “We have been running 10-12 miles up the hills and through the trials of Woodland Hills to Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu .”

Rafael finished the L.A. Marathon’s 26.2 mile course with an overall time of 04:01:02 (4 hours, 1 minute, 2 seconds). Rafael’s chip time was 03:53:50. Rafael finished in 1,101th place in the Men’s race and 1,289 overall.

His 29-year-old brother Javier completed the race in 04:36:41 (chip time: 04:43:33) and was 3,326th overall.

“My hope is to be able to successfully run this year and come back next year and start running to raise money for charitable causes every year that I am able,” Ruelas added.

Ruelas Boxing Career Remembered

Rafael Ruelas was recognized as a boxing icon in his native Mexico . He began his professional career in January of 1989 with an unanimous 4-round decision against Marcos Covarubias.

Ruelas had very good technical boxing skills and was considered to be hard puncher for a super bantamweight. Ruelas would eventually move up in weight to 135 pounds to defeat Freddie Pendleton for the IBF lightweight title in April of 1994.

Ruelas’ reign would only last one year, as a rising star, Oscar De La Hoya stopped him in two rounds in May of 1995 to unify the IBF/WBO 135 pound championships.

Ruelas finished his career knocking out 8 of his last 12 opponents before retiring in August of 1999.

Ruelas ended his professional career with a remarkable of 53 victories, 42 by knockout, and only 4 losses.