Two-time World Boxing Association heavyweight champion John “The Quietman” Ruiz, 43-7-1 (29), has issued a challenge to his media critics regarding his style.
Over the years, Ruiz often has been criticized for his unpopular “clutch-and-grab” style, but in his last three fights with head trainer Manny Siaca, Sr. in his corner, “The Quietman” has returned to the aggressive fighter he was when he first won the heavyweight title in 2001.
The problem is Ruiz’ last four fights, including his first against Valuev, have not been televised in the United States, although that hasn’t prevented critics from continuing to unfairly bash him.
The WBA vacated the title due to an injury to Ruslan Chagaev, declared him “champion in recess” and ruled that the top two rated contenders had to fight for the title. Ruiz, rated No. 2 by the WBA, leaves August 22 for Germany once again to fight the 7-0, 320-pound giant who took his title belt 2 ½ years ago, No. 1 contender Nikolai Valuev, 48-1 (34), on August 30 in Berlin for the WBA title.
“It’s sad to say but right after my last fight against (Jameel) McCline,” Ruiz said, “a reporter asked me about me going back to holding my opponent. It’s easy for them to say that because they think that’s my style. There are two fighters in the ring and I wasn’t the one holding. Reporters are just used it, I guess, but I’m challenging them to a bet.
"They can watch my last fight against McCline, as well as my first against Valuev, and then we can make a bet about who will hold more, me or Valuev. It can be by the round, or the entire fight; so much money per hold (differential), or a flat rate. If I hold more, I’ll make a donation to the charity of the reporter’s choice; if Valuev holds more, the reporter has to make a donation to my charity.
"They can have as many reporters as they want betting for what ever amount they can choose. I’m giving them a chance to put their money where their mouths are. Then, finally, they will realize that I don’t fight like I used to; no more clutching and grabbing for me.”
Ruiz has been sparring with a pair of 7-footers the past two weeks in Las Vegas, where John lives and trains, to prepare to fight Valuev on the road in The Giant’s backyard. “It’s been a great camp,” Ruiz remarked. “We’ve been working hard to make sure that I stay focused. There’s a lot less stress with Manny than at my old training camps. My sparring partners are working out good.
“I hope I don’t have to knockdown Valuev every round to get a split decision,” Ruiz joked. “I have to stay inside and busy, like in our last fight, but this time I need to throw better combinations and give him different angles. We don’t want to let him just stand still and throw punches. I’m going to make him move. I’ll be taking the fight to him, but more around him, to see what he can do when he has to move.”
The Puerto Rican-American Ruiz, living in Las Vegas, is the first and only Latino heavyweight champion of the world. He has fought in 10 world championship fights, defeating three world heavyweight champions -- Evander Holyfield, Hasim Rahman and Tony Tucker – in addition to beating top contenders such as Andrew Golota, Fres Oquendo, Kirk Johnson and McCline during his 15-year pro career.