Two-time WBA heavyweight champion John “The Quietman” Ruiz has one final chapter to live before his boxing career is finished: to capture another world title, defend his belt back home in Massachusetts, and fight for the first time in Puerto Rico.
The WBA Championship Committee recently declared No. 3 rated Ruiz, 43-8-1 (29 ), as its mandatory challenger for the winner of this year’s Nicolai Valuev vs. Ruslan Chagaev WBA title fight rematch.
Valuev is the reigning WBA heavyweight champion, while Chagaev is the WBA's “Champion in Recess.”
The ruling stems from a petition filed by Team Ruiz after last August’s WBA title fight, when John lost a 12-round split decision Valuev, in which, Team Ruiz claimed, based on a Russian TV footage, that Valuev’s corner knew the scoring during the bout and before the official announcement of the result, which is a substantial violation of the WBA rules considered an unfair advantage.
Also argued was that judge Takeshi Shimakawa improperly kept a running-score during the fight, explaining why he changed his final round scoring, five minutes after the fight had ended, from Ruiz to Valuev.
“I’m excited about the WBA making me the mandatory challenger and grateful to my manager, Tony Cardinale, and lawyer, attorney Judd Berstein, for fighting so hard on my behalf,” Ruiz said.
“It’s been a long road, starting on the streets of Chelsea, Massachussets, and fighting all over the world. My final chapter in boxing is coming and I hope it ends with another world title. I also want to show my appreciation to my fans in Massachusetts and Puerto Rico.
"I was raised in the Boston area and I’d like to fight there again, hopefully in a world title fight. My brothers, sister and some distant cousins live there. But I’ve never fought in Puerto Rico, where a lot of my family lives; my mother, uncles, aunts and a lot of first cousins. They’ve always supported me and I definitely would like to fight there before I retire.
“I only lived in Puerto Rico for a year, when I was five, but I do have some memories of San Grande, especially the stadium where my relatives played ball at, and later where I was honored before a capacity crowd after I won the world title for the first time.
"The 1 ½ hour ride from San Juan to San Grande took eight hours because of all the people on the streets showing their support for me. I want to give back to them and my fans in Massachusetts before I move on with the rest of my life.”
Ruiz lost controversial 12-round decisions in Germany to Valuev and Chagaev.
In a pair of WBA title fights with Valuev, Ruiz lost by majority decision in 2005 and last year in the aforementioned calamity, as well as by split decision to Chagaev in their 2006 WBA title eliminator.