Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
John Ruiz, (born January 4, 1972), is a native of Isabela, Puerto Rico, who is currently recognized by the World Boxing Association as its world heavyweight champion. His career record in the ring is 41-5-1, with 28 knockouts.
Despite holding the WBA heavyweight title twice during his career to date, Ruiz has never been widely acclaimed as a legitimate champion, as in each case his ascendency to the title has been accredited to different circumstances.
First Reign as WBA Champion
After widely recognized champion Lennox Lewis defeated Evander Holyfield in late 1999, the WBA ordered Lewis to defend his title against Ruiz. Lewis deemed Ruiz, at the time the organization's #1 ranked contender, as unworthy of challenging for the title.
Ruiz and his management team sued, claiming that he was entitled to a chance at the title based on WBA rules. A judge agreed, but rather than face Ruiz in a bout that was not viewed as commercially worthwhile, Lewis instead fought Michael Grant, who many considered a more worthy challenger. Upon learning this, the judge declared that upon his entry of the ring against Grant on April 29, 2000, Lewis would vacate his WBA title.
Ruiz then would meet former champion Holyfield, losing a 12-round split decision, with Holyfield then becoming the first man in boxing history to win the world Heavyweight title four times. Based on the closeness of the fight, the WBA ordered an immediate rematch between the two, which was held on March 3, 2001 and won by Ruiz, giving him the WBA title, and Ruiz made history, becoming the first Hispanic world Heavyweight champion.
Ruiz defended the title twice, with a draw in a third match with Holyfield , and a 10-round disqualification win vs. Canada's Kirk Johnson. On March 1 of 2003, Ruiz's first reign as champion ended. He lost a lop-sided 12-round unanimous decision to Light Heavyweight champion Roy Jones Jr. at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, NV.
In defeating Ruiz, Jones joined Michael Spinks and Michael Moorer as the only boxers to win the world Light Heavyweight title and add the world Heavyweight title later on. He was also only the second former Middleweight champion to win the Heavyweight title (the first being Bob Fitzsimmons who beat "Gentlemen" Jim Corbett on March 17, 1897 in Carson City, NV to win the Heavyweight championship).
Second Reign as WBA Champion
Roy Jones Jr., the reigning WBA champion , failed to meet an organization-imposed deadline to face Vitali Klitschko, the WBA's #1 ranked contender. As per its rules, the organization called for a bout between Klitschko and #2 ranked Hasim Rahman for the WBA's "interim" title. The "interim" titleholder would subsequently be Jones' mandatory opponent.
Vitali Klitschko refused to negotiate the match against Rahman, citing that he had no interest in an "interim" title. The WBA then turned to David Tua, who was the #3 ranked contender. While David Tua initially agreed to fight Rahman, he later pulled out of the bout as well. Ruiz, who had lost to Tua by knockout in 19 seconds in 1996 but at #5 was the highest ranked fighter who was willing to face Rahman for the "interim" title, then accepted to fight Rahman, the former WBC and IBF world champion who had won and lost his titles to Lewis by knockout.
On December 13, 2003, Ruiz defeated Rahman by 12-round decision, earning him the first-ever WBA "interim" Heavyweight title. On February 20, 2004, Roy Jones Jr. advised the WBA that he would return to the Light Heavyweight division, relinquishing the heavyweight title. The WBA then elevated Ruiz from his "interim" status, declaring his victory over Rahman to be sufficient for the WBA world championship.
In his first defense as champion for the second time, Ruiz retained his title with an eleventh-round knockout over Fres Oquendo at Madison Square Garden on April 17 of 2004. This fight was historic in that it was the first time two Hispanics faced each other for a world Heavyweight title.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details