John Ruiz vs. Evander Holyfield (3rd meeting)

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2001-12-15 : John Ruiz 232 lbs drew with Evander Holyfield 219 lbs by SD in round 12 of 12

Evander Holyfield and John Ruiz fought to a draw in tonight's World Boxing Association heavyweight championship fight at Foxwoods Resort Casino, an outcome that Holyfield said was an injustice. As a result, Ruiz retained his title, although Holyfield dictated the action and appeared to land far more and cleaner punches.

This was the third Holyfield-Ruiz fight in 16 months, with Holyfield winning the first by a controversial decision and Ruiz winning their last fight by decision on March 3, knocking down Holyfield in the 11th round. The curiosity surrounding this fight concerned Holyfield -- whether a 39-year-old fighter would look his age, or whether he could cheat time and show enough flashes of his former brilliance to win.

Holyfield (37-5-2) was not brilliant, but he appeared to be good enough to beat Ruiz (37-4-1) in a fight that Holyfield controlled from the middle rounds to the end. There were no knockdowns, but Holyfield, a four-time champion, was the aggressor and landed many more clean shots.

He also broke Ruiz's nose in the first round. Ruiz believed it was a result of an elbow from Holyfield.

"Of course I think I won the fight," said Holyfield, who added that he would not retire. "I will not quit."

The 10th round was the best of the fight, with Holyfield and Ruiz exchanging punches in the middle of the ring for about 30 seconds, but Holyfield landed the cleaner blows. Holyfield appeared to hurt Ruiz in that round, and though Ruiz never shied from the action, he never mounted a sustained attack.

Knowing he needed a huge 12th round, Ruiz did little, and his nose began to bleed profusely in the round. But when the decision was announced, Julie Lederman scored the bout for Holyfield, 116-112, Donald O'Neill scored the bout for Ruiz, 115-113, and Tommy Kaczmarek scored the fight, 114-114. (New York Times December 16, 2001)


- Ruiz retains the title by way of a draw in a lackluster fight filled with numerous clinches.
- See also: Holyfield vs. Ruiz I.
- See also: Holyfield vs. Ruiz II.

Preceded by:
Holyfield vs. Ruiz II
WBA Heavyweight Title Fight
# 75
Succeeded by:
Ruiz vs. Johnson