The Los Angeles-based boxing company Golden Boy Promotions is learning quickly how to cover its bases in signing perennial heavyweight contender John “The Quiet Man” Ruiz to a contract.
With the signing of Ruiz, the number one WBA contender, it gives them full rights to promote the Puerto Rican heavyweights fight against current WBA titleholder David “Hayemaker” Haye that will take place in probably April. Only the site has not been determined but it looks like Las Vegas.
Whoever wins that fight will still be a Golden Boy fighter.
“I’m all done with Don King,” said Ruiz by telephone from the Golden Boy offices in downtown Los Angeles. “I’m mostly fighting with Golden Boy Promotions and it’s a great moment for me and my team.”
In the past Golden Boy would sign a world champion to a contract only to have that fighter lose in his first or second challenge. Think of Kassim Ouma, Marco Antonio Barrera, and you get the picture. Now GBP is beginning to do things like Top Rank who have its fighters defend against other Top Rank fighters. Think Manny Pacquiao versus Miguel Cotto or Steve Luevano against Juan Manuel Lopez. It’s better to keep the belt in the family. That’s the Bob Arum way. And that’s why Shane Mosley wasn’t offered the fight with Pacman.
GBP has learned its lesson and will have British heavyweight sensation Haye defend the WBA title against the number one contender Ruiz. No matter who wins, the title remains with a Golden Boy fighter.
The other lesson GBP now needs to learn is how to develop young talent. There are numerous ways to do it including keeping an eye on young pro prospects or amateur boxers. That’s where they lack the personnel and the ability to spot it. You need a virtual scouting system and someone with the ability to pinpoint a champion at a glance or two.
The rival company has about a dozen guys who have the ability to look at a young phenom and convince the boss to sign him up. GBP only has three people it can truly count on to scout. They’re still badly in need of scouts all over the country and in Mexico. They also need people in Asia.
Not everyone can scout. Even if a former world champion decided to become a scout it wouldn’t necessarily mean that fighter is capable of evaluating potential talent. Just like in Major League Baseball scouts are usually guys who have been in the game decades and can spot the good ones because of their experience. A great prospect is not just the quickest or fastest. There are more factors than athleticism.
Look at Ruiz for instance. He’s not really an athlete like Haye or other more agile and quick-footed fighters. But he has the knowledge, guts and will to stand in against much bigger fighters like he did against Nicolai Valuev. Yes, he lost, but many felt he did enough to win. Sometimes the winner is not always the winner.
Haye beat Valuev.
“The only fight I managed to watch (of Haye) was with Valuev. He showed a lot of movement and threw a couple of punches. I was surprised he got the decision. I could never get the decision,” said Ruiz of the fight between Valuev and Haye. “It’s always a good plan when you win and a bad plan when you lose.”
Ruiz is back in the game with Golden Boy. He’s familiar with Oscar De La Hoya from back in the day when both were amateurs.
“It’s been a while since the amateurs, 19 years ago that I last saw him. He’s done a lot in his career as a fighter and a promoter,” said Ruiz who is a two-time heavyweight world titleholder and the first Latino to hold the title. “It’s perfect. I know him and spent some time talking with him and I’m happy to go in this venture together. I trust them.”
De La Hoya was also present at the signing.
"John Ruiz is a very skilled and talented heavyweight and we are very excited to add him to our elite stable of fighters," said De la Hoya, president of Golden Boy Promotions. "He has proven time and time again that he has what it takes to battle with the top guys in the division and will continue to do so in 2010 and beyond."
This spring, a heavyweight world champion will emerge and that fighter will be fighting for Golden Boy.