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Here it is again...



By Stephen Tobey


In the last few years, many American boxing fans haven’t seen John Ruiz.

His last fight, a seventh-round stoppage of Adnan Serin on Nov. 7, was on a pay-per-view broadcast of David Haye’s victory over Nikolay Valuev.

His previous five fights were either in Germany, not on American television or on the non-televised undercards of HBO fights in Mexico and Chicago.

Ruiz believes that those who haven’t seen him fight since his 2005 bout with James Toney (originally a decision loss, changed to a no-contest when Toney failed a drug test) will see something different.


“They’ll see something new,” Ruiz said. “My trainers, Miguel Diaz and Richie Sandoval, have been working with me on the basics. At first, I was a boxer-puncher, then a brawler. I’m making myself get my feet set more. I’m not leaning in as much.”

Those fans will probably get to see the “new” Ruiz this spring. Ruiz recently signed a contract with Golden Boy Promotions after his contract with Don King expired in November. “Golden Boy called us,” he said. “I thought it would be better. I saw that they work well with Latino fighters. They’re a good match.”

Ruiz is likely to face Haye for the WBA title in April. “They keep talking about April 3,” Ruiz said. “We’re still waiting.”The fight is likely to be in Great Britain, Haye’s native country. Ruiz lost his WBA title to Valuev in a disputed majority decision and lost to Valuev in an attempt to regain the title via close split decision. Both fights were in Germany; as was a split decision loss to Ruslan Chagaev in a WBA title eliminator. The victory over Serin was also in Germany, but Ruiz feels better about fighting in Great Britain than Germany.

“I’ve fought in England many times,” said Ruiz, who grew up in Chelsea, Massachusetts and now lives in Las Vegas. “I’m 6-0 in England and [1-3] in Germany. In England, the fans will cheer for you if you fight well, even if you’re from somewhere else.”

Ruiz, 44-8-1 (30), didn’t see much of Haye’s fight against Valuev because he had to receive treatment for a cut, but he did catch the last few rounds.

“I saw him run,” Ruiz said. “I was very surprised he got the decision.”

What he hopes to do more often, now that Golden Boy is his promoter, is fight in the United States. “The two places I’d like to fight the most are Boston and Puerto Rico,” he said.

This week, Ruiz returned to the Boston area to visit relatives, take part in a Muscular Dystrophy Association fundraiser, do an open workout in South Boston and attend Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment and Sports’ fight card on Friday at the Roxy (a junior welterweight bout between Hank Lundy and Richard Abril is the main event).

After almost 18 years of professional boxing and two WBA heavyweight titles, the 38-year-old Ruiz feels like he’s starting to get more respect for what he’s done and that he’ll get even more should he win the title a third time.

“I feel like I’ve been blessed,” he said. “This is my second chance and people recognize me more.”



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