Evander Holyfield vs. John Ruiz (2nd meeting)

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2001-03-03 : John Ruiz 227 lbs beat Evander Holyfield 217 lbs by UD in round 12 of 12

Ruiz Batters Holyfield To Take W.B.A. Title
By Tom Spousta, the New York Times, March 4, 2001

LAS VEGAS, March 3— The challenger John Ruiz upset Evander Holyfield and the status quo in the heavyweight division tonight with a relentless 12-round barrage that finally sent the 38-year-old champion to the canvas and perhaps retirement.

Ruiz (37-4, 27 knockouts) floored Holyfield with a right uppercut early in the 11th round and scored a unanimous decision to become the first Latino heavyweight champion. Ruiz won the World Boxing Association title and now goes to the front of the line as a contender to Lennox Lewis, who holds the World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation crowns. Ruiz, 29, could also face a fight with Mike Tyson this year.

The judges saw Ruiz as a clear-cut winner, with Stanley Christodoulou scoring it 116-110; Chuck Giampa, 115-111; and Patricia Jarman-Manning, 114-111.

Holyfield (37-5-1) tumbled into the ropes in the 11th round.

Midway through the previous round, Holyfield landed what was ruled a low blow and Ruiz crumpled to the canvas. He remained there several minutes while Referee Joe Cortez deducted a point from Holyfield.

It gave Ruiz a reprieve and swung the momentum in his favor. Before the low blow, Holyfield had finally sustained an attack in the ninth round with several left hooks and jabs that kept Ruiz off balance. Holyfield also began firing punches into Ruiz's body, leading to the 10th-round controversy.

With blood oozing from his nose and a cut above his left eye, Ruiz had staggered Holyfield with two right hands midway through the sixth round. Holyfield survived, but trailed in the fight and needed to rally while avoiding Ruiz's devastating right hand.

Holyfield responded, winning the seventh round with a solid left-jab, right-hook combination.

Although Ruiz seemed to win the fourth round with a strong right hand and a crisp uppercut, Holyfield benefited from a cut that appeared above Ruiz's left eye, apparently from a head butt. Ruiz's camp had protested following the first fight with Holyfield last Aug. 12 about head butts and strongly suggested such tactics might happen again.

"You robbed us, Joe! You robbed us!" Ruiz's manager, Norman Stone, fearing the worst, shouted at Cortez.

Ruiz also walked away from the fourth round with a bloody nose. Holyfield, meanwhile, absorbed several clean shots but never looked hurt.

Through three rounds, Ruiz's strategy of outmuscling Holyfield seemed to work. But late in the third round, Holyfield ended a flurry along the ropes by landing a combination that backed up Ruiz, who continued to search for a right-handed knockout punch.

Ruiz came out strong, landing two right hands that gave him a slight edge in the first round. Both fighters were cautious, though, reflecting their similar styles of waiting for an opponent to make a wrong move and counter-punching quickly.

"Keep punching, Johnny, keep punching!" Stone shouted from his fighter's corner.

Ruiz followed instructions perfectly and was the aggressor in the second round, moving Holyfield around the ring at will. Ruiz had found a way to score, particularly with his jab. Still, Holyfield was effective enough to start a knot of swelling under Ruiz's right eye.

Holyfield earned $5 million, Ruiz $1.5 million.

"I do not think it will come to a decision this time," Ruiz had predicted before the fight. "It will be a great battle. Holyfield will come out strong, but I know with my quickness I can take him." [1]


Preceded by:
Holyfield vs. Ruiz I
WBA Heavyweight Title Fight
# 74
Succeeded by:
Ruiz vs. Holyfield III