Robbed of his WBA title when he first fought Nikolai Valuev December 2005 at Berlin’s Max Schmeling Halle, The Boxing Standard’s favorite heavyweight, John Ruiz, had a rematch with the seven-foot Russian August 30 in the same building for the vacated WBA belt.
Perhaps Ruiz had little choice but to return to the scene of the crime at this point in his career, since he has been attacked for years by all the media “experts” who have been writing him off for over a decade now, and he is not considered to be a major drawing card on American TV. So when the sadly predictable verdict of this rematch was announced, originally a split decision win for Valuev which was later “changed” to a unanimous decision by the WBA officials claiming a clerical error in adding up the scorecards, the accomplices in this latest heist are those who have had John Ruiz effectively banished from American TV.
But fuck TV. Who needs it these days, anyway? This fight was broadcast in Germany on the ARD network, and streamed on various peer-to-peer sites for free around this world
, and any others which might be nervously watching how we handle our affairs on Earth.
I thus watched the fight under these imperfect but acceptable conditions, and scored at least seven of the 12 rounds for Ruiz. Plus, Valuev was deducted a point for shoving Ruiz to the canvas in the tenth round. Also, in the second round, Valuev was hurt by Ruiz and knocked to the ropes, which was the only thing holding his huge frame up. The referee did not rule it a knockdown, but the round still should have been scored 10-8 for Ruiz.
While the judges ruled against him, the German fans largely cheered Ruiz after the fight, showing that they are far fairer than those who ran this show. This was clearly visible and audible on the telecast, even to those of us who do not know German.
Now, perhaps just as predictably, John Ruiz’s team has issued a news release alleging corruption in this fight, and calling on the WBA to review the fight and declare it a no contest.
Somehow I think the WBA’s response to all this will be just as predictable.
Here is the Team Ruiz news release:
Deck stacked against “The Quietman”
Team Ruiz protests outcome vs. Valuev
LAS VEGAS (September 8, 2008) – Two-time World Boxing Association heavyweight champion John “The Quietman” Ruiz (43-8-1, 29 KOs), as well as his advisor/attorney Tony Cardinale and head trainer Manny Siaca, Sr., believe they faced sizable unfair disadvantages August 30 fighting Nikolai Valuev (49-1, 34 KOs) for the WBA heavyweight title in Berlin.
Valuev recaptured the WBA belt by way of a 12-round decision clouded in controversy.
Team Ruiz is demanding a full videotape of Valuev-Ruiz II to further review for evidence of alleged corrupt practices.
Points of contention include the following issues:
1. Judge Takeshi Shimakawa improperly kept a running score during the fight, which is prohibited by the WBA, as well as the only way he could have “corrected” his scorecard after the scores were announced (Shimakawa’s scoring changed from 114-113 in favor of Ruiz to 114-113 for Valuev.
2. Ruiz was not credited with a legitimate knockdown when he floored Valuev in the second round. Ruiz blasted Valuev with punches, knocking “The Giant” into the ropes, but the referee incorrectly ruled a slip when Valuev’s knee hit the canvas after he careened off of the ropes. Scoring that round would have been different, in Ruiz’ favor, if it was ruled a knockdown.
3. Judge Antonio Requena scored two rounds even, despite WBA instructions that there should be no even rounds scored in championship bouts. Ruiz would have been declared the winner if the two even rounds had been awarded to Ruiz in addition to the aforementioned second round scoring snafu being sorted out.
4. Most importantly, throughout the fight Valuev’s cornermen received judges’ scoring results as the rounds went on, something that happens regularly only in Germany, yet clearly constitutes major corruption in boxing.
In addition to demanding a full videotape of the fight for review, Team Ruiz plans to petition the WBA to rule the bout a no-contest and Valuev be stripped of the WBA title for a blatant violation of WBA rules. Team Ruiz will also seek sanctions against any officials involved in permitting these violations to happen, whether it’s enforced by the WBA or German Boxing Federation.
“The WBA needs to resolve this matter as quickly as possible,” Ruiz said. “Non-officials are not allowed to handle or read scorecards during the fight. Valuev should be stripped and a rematch ordered. It seems like everything possible has happened to me in boxing. Whether it was defending my title by disqualification (Kirk Johnson), my opponent testing positive for steroids (James Toney), or scores changed after a fight like this. It was chaotic after the fight. With all of the confusion going on, at one point while waiting to hear the results, I thought I was in Florida and the ‘hanging chads’ during the 2000 election.
“The WBA must investigate the judges and who was running the show, Sauerland. Everything was very weird at the end of the fight. The German people are wonderful and they’ve treated me very well each time I’ve fought there. They cheered loudly after the fight, but only when Valuev announced he was going to give me a rematch (He has since changed his tune and is talking about fighting an unnamed opponent in December.) They should hold Sauerland and the German Boxing Federation accountable. The great German boxing fans deserve much better. Things have to change in Germany, where everybody knows foreigners don’t have a chance of winning a close decision. I’m terribly disappointed with what went on over there. Boxing suffered another black eye.”
The Puerto Rican-American Ruiz is the first and only Latino heavyweight champion of the world. He has fought in 10 world championship fights and defeated 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 Jameel McCline during his 15-year pro career.
Labels: ARD, Berlin, boxing, Eddie Goldman, Internet TV, Internet video, John Ruiz, Max Schmeling Halle, Nikolai Valuev, peer-to-peer, streaming video, Tony Cardinale, WBA