Team Ruiz Alleges Shady Practices In Berlin
Say what you will about his style of fighting, no one will deny that John Ruiz has been a willing warrior over the years, and hasn’t shied from taking on larger, more muscled, and more technically proficient foes. Over his career, Ruiz has spoken up when he’s been on the short end of the stick. Sometimes, fight fans say, he should’ve simply accepted the loss gracefully. But say what you will, the man is a fierce competitor who doesn’t accept loss easily.
The usually Quiet Man is speaking up again following his Aug. 30th loss to Nikolai Valuev; in this rematch, Ruiz (43-8-1) lost a decision (UD12). He now maintains that the scoring in the fight was flawed, and that some of the practices his team saw in Germany looked fishy, if not downright corrupt. Ruiz has in his corner the Boston-area attorney Tony Cardinale, who has a rep in that area as a fearless operator in his sphere. Cardinale has assembled a compelling list of potentially shady actions that taint the result of the Ruiz/Valuev rematch.
This release comes from Team Ruiz.
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.