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Boxing Update: Meet The “New” John Ruiz

Former two-time world heavyweight champion John “The Quietman” Ruiz used to be the Rodney Dangerfield of boxing as well as one of its most avoided fighters. Now, though, the new Ruiz has gained respect in many circles, particularly after his impressive win against 4-time world title challenger Jameel McCline, yet, John remains the opponent champions and top contenders alike least want to fight.

Top American contender Ruiz and European challenger Alexander Dimitrenko are the only heavyweights rated among the top six in the World Boxing Association, World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation. Rated No. 2 and No. 3 by the WBA and WBC, respectively, and No. 6 by the IBF but, unlike Dimitrenko, Ruiz is also ranked in the top 10 by The Ring magazine.

“After so many years of not being respected,” Ruiz said, “it’s exciting to know and feel that I’m finally being recognized as one of the top heavyweights in the world. I’m glad. It’s been a long time coming. I’m ready to clean-up the heavyweight division and I’m willing to fight any of the reigning champs or other top contenders.

“I can’t wait for my next fight. I’m so much more confident fighting this time around, throwing more punches and combinations, just being more aggressive in the ring. I’m motivated more today than I ever was in the past. I changed my whole team and it’s really made a big difference, especially having Manny Siaca, Sr. as head trainer. I’ve learned so much from Manny. We’ve been working hard and it’s paying off.”

Ruiz, 43-7-1 (29), has fought himself back into position for another world title shot, coming off an impressive 12-round decision on March 8 in a near shutout performance via scores of 119-109, 118-110 and 117-111 against McCline, who is his previous fight had three times floored Samuel Peter, returning to the vintage days when “The Quietman” first won a world title with a 12-round decision against legendary Evander Holyfield in 2001.

The Puerto Rican-American Ruiz 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.

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