Haye Retains His Title

By Francis Walker, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: April 4, 2010

NEW YORK (BASN) — WBA heavyweight champion David Haye successfully defended his title for the first time in front of more than 20,000 loyal supporters at the M.E.N. Arena in Manchester, England on Saturday.

Haye (24-1, 22 KOs) scored four devastating knockdowns en route to a ninth round TKO victory over former two-time WBA titlist John Ruiz (44-9-1, 30 KOs).

The first Englishman to win a heavyweight title since Lennox Lewis retired from boxing in 2003, Haye became the first Brit to defend the heavyweight title in England in 10 years.

Lewis was the last British fighter to defend a world heavyweight championship in England when he knocked out Frans Botha inside two rounds in July 2000.

The 29 year-old from London, England also became the first fighter to stop Ruiz since New Zealand’s David Tua. It took Tua just 15 seconds to easily dispatch Ruiz inside one round in March 1996.

To Ruiz’ credit, he went on to win two heavyweight championships.

In the last 14 years, Ruiz has fought Evander Holyfield three times, 7-foot-3, 320-pound Nikolai Valuev twice, former world champions Hasim Rahman, James Toney, and Roy Jones, Jr.

Ruiz, 38, from Chelsea, Massachusetts, has both won and lost his share of battles before, but never has he been handled the way Haye handled him on Saturday.

“I knew he was going to be tough,” said a very enthused Haye. “I knew once I landed my bombs I would hurt him. I didn’t anticipate getting hit that much.”

In the opening round, Haye floored an aggressive Ruiz with a right hand square in the face. A badly stunned and surprised Ruiz was at the mercy of Haye’s quicker hands and brute power.

While going for the stoppage, Haye and Ruiz became tangled over the top rope. An overly-excited Haye pounded Ruiz over the ropes with an overhand right to the back of his head that sent him sprawling onto the mat.

Haye was docked one point for the rabbit punch. “Fair enough,” Haye said of the point deduction. “It was a cheap shot by me. My adrenaline was pumping.”

Afterwards, Haye relaxed himself and boxed circles around Ruiz. Haye jabbed, jabbed, and jabbed Ruiz’ head with his muscular left hand. When Ruiz was aggressive, Haye applied even more pressure by landing throwing combinations that would drive Ruiz backwards against the ropes.

Ruiz tasted the canvas once more in round five after Haye dropped him top one knee with a left hook square on the head at the end of the round.

Credit to Ruiz. He did return to his feet. The former heavyweight champion jabbed and attempted to pressure Haye, but only to be knocked to the canvas one more time in round six.

Haye caught an aggressive Ruiz coming forward with a sharp left hook followed by three overhand rights to the head. The end came at 2:01 into the ninth round when the referee simply decided that Ruiz was doing enough to defend himself, he wasn’t fighting back as hard, and he was taking way too much punishment.

“I believe I am the most exciting heavyweight in the world,” Haye said. “Even against John Ruiz I’m exciting. Training went well. I felt sharp.”

Haye, who pulled out of a pair of bouts with Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko last year, won the WBA crown by traveling to Germany to outpoint the Russian giant Valuev after twelve rounds.

Ruiz lost two controversial 12-round decisions to Valuev in 2005 and 2008.