(Punchy creep. And on the left, John Ruiz)
The Boston Globe’s Ron Borges, no stranger to fisticuffs himself, on Saturday night’s WBA Heavyweight title bout between John Ruiz and Nikolay “Head The Size Of A Volkswagon” Valuez.
Nearly 10,000 lustily booed Nikolay Valuev after he became the first Russian in boxing history to win the heavyweight championship, albeit the old-fashioned way. He had it stolen from John Ruiz.
The 7-foot-2-inch Valuev was aided and abetted by judges Derek Milham of Australia and Hector Hernandez of Mexico, who scored the bout 116-114 and 116-113 respectively, for Valuev. Francisco Martinez of New Zealand saw it a 114-114 draw, while the Globe’s card had Ruiz winning easily, 116-112. Valuev held, elbowed, pressed down on the back of Ruiz’s head, and was warned repeatedly for elbowing by referee Stanley Christodoulou but never penalized.
After the decision was announced, Ruiz seemed stunned, then left the ring but his volatile manager, Norman Stone, returned to the ring and snatched the World Boxing Association belt off Valuev’s shoulder in the middle of the ring. The new champion did as much to defend it from Stone as he had in trying to take it from Ruiz, which was nothing. Stone then walked to the edge of the ring, holding the belt aloft as the crowd cheered him wildly before Hagen Sevecke, one of Valuev’s cornermen, rushed over and sucker-punched Stone, landing the cleanest punch of the night.
Stone wheeled back and the two went at it until a security guard grabbed Stone from behind and held him as Stone clutched the belt. As he did, Sevecke stepped toward Stone with fist cocked again only to be confronted by 6-6 heavyweight contender Jameel McCline, who had come out of the crowd to defend Stone. That ended that dispute, but a larger one raged on in Ruiz’s locker room, where the suddenly former champion told German television he would let the people of Germany make his case for him.
”They booed their own champion,” said Ruiz (41-6-1, 28 KOs). ”That tells you a lot. Everyone told me not to come here because American fighters get screwed all the time. That’s how he got a title shot. They screwed Larry Donald in October and gave him a decision everyone booed. Then they brought me over here and did it again.”