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In Defense of John "The Quietman" Ruiz

By Michael Amakor

Recently reinstated World Boxing Association WBA Heavyweight Champion John Ruiz just released an open letter to the President of the Gilbertyo Mendoza, in it he states

"It has come to my attention that, behind my back, James Toney and his people are attempting to have the WBA lift or modify the two-year sanction against him fighting for my title....his explanation about taking prescription drugs for an arm injury turning into a performance enhancing anabolic steroid is a lie."

The NYSAC has already rejected this false excuse. Ask yourself, why has he not appealed? The answer is obvious: Toney knows that if he does, the results of his blood tests would be open to the public, the extremely high levels of the illegal steroid he took would be revealed, and his "excuse" would be laughed at. Instead he hides behind this false story and is trying to have the WBA's two-year ban lifted in a similar way.

He has already brought shame upon himself and the sport of boxing by his illegal actions. The WBA would do the same to itself by not following its rules. Toney's failure to appeal is all the justification you need to reject any request he makes for relief from the sanctions the rules of the WBA demand, and all that the rest of the boxing world should need to realize that not only is Toney a cheat, he is a liar."

On my part, I have read with growing consternation the comments against the The Quiet Man by some respected boxing analysts and boxing fans after his open letter to the WBA about James Toney's steroids use. Because John Ruiz has a lot to be quiet about, with a loss in the first round to David Tua almost a decade ago or because he is not the devastating knockout Champion we want, does not mean he should not command our respect. Boxing fans and critics do indeed have short memories. You must pay homage to a fighter who has to his credit re-grouped after every disaster to surprise us with his dogged tenacity and perseverance.

A closer look at his resume shows respectable victories over now forgotten heavy hitters like Jimmy Thunder, Ray Anis, and former champions, Tony Tucker and Evander "The Real Deal" Holyfield. Ruiz has also captured the respected NABA, NABF and WBA titles along the way. He has also defended these titles at different stages of his career against the likes of Kirk Johnson, Fres Oquendo, Hasim Rahman, and Andrew Golota.

You certainly cannot denigrate any fighter who knocked down and went thirty six rounds with former Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the world, Evander "The Real Deal" Holyfield perceived by all to have been shot but who busted up Hasim Rahman and battled on through several 12 round losing decisions thereafter. You have to acknowledge that the Quietman is either that good or his opponents are so bad because none of them came up with the game plan to knock out the supposedly dubbed worst heavyweight in history. Give me a break.

You might say he lost to Roy Jones Jr - a blown up Middleweight, but you have to admit that Jones is an outstanding multi-dimensional athlete who was at the very height of his prime when he fought Ruiz, and while Jones decisioned Ruiz over twelve rounds, he certainly did not beat him up, and besides it was a pyrrhic victory because Jones lost his next three fights in shocking fashion no doubt from the extended delayed reaction effect from the punches received in his bout with the Quietman. You will then tell me he lost to another former middleweight James Toney, but then again, that loss doesn't count, due to the drug scandal that occurred afterwards.

Please remember that Toney simply out-pointed Ruiz in a style type fight, as we all know he has the mangoose posture which make him extremely difficult to hit effectively. Toney was also unable to stop Ruiz like he did Holyfield, we can only guess what might have happened to Toney if his title winning effort had been fought under different circumstances. My most profound apologies to James Toney, nevertheless, because he is a great fighter, and I will not even get involved in the debate about whether or not he knew he was taking steroids, but for the Ruiz fight, the victory was tainted by what turned up later after the drug test results came back. Ruiz is still the champion, and thats all that matters. Period

You might not like Ruiz's Roman greeco boxing style, fine. However, that being said, which really competitive Heavyweight fight does not have several clinches and grapples per round? At least, Ruiz has tried to be more crowd pleasing, as exemplified in his last most recent fight with James Toney, and besides, there have been worse heavyweight champions in recent memory, for example, like Bruce Seldon, who laid down without much of a fight against Mike Tyson. When you examine the long list of former champions like Oliver Mccall, Frank Bruno, Tony Tucker, to name a few. Ruiz comes out as a durable champion who has the determination and grit to extend his title reign down the stretch.

It takes great courage to step into the ring - let us remember that - this is the sweet science and Ruiz must be allowed to speak his mind whenever he pleases, because he has done so in the ring in the past, and he will do so again in the foreseeable future, even if you do not appreciate it.

Punch On