The David Haye 23-1 (21) versus John Ruiz 44-8-1 (30) WBA heavyweight title bout is now signed and set for April 3rd at the M.E.N. Arena, Manchester, Lancashire, United Kingdom. This is the second time Ruiz and Haye have seen scheduled to fight. However, the first fight was canceled when Haye offered Ruiz money to step aside so he could challenge the defending WBA champ at the time, Nikolay Valuev.
The decision to pay off Ruiz and fight Valuev was a genius move for Haye from a business perspective and paid off nicely. Haye went on to win a majority decision (albeit controversial) over Valuev to gain the WBA title and set himself up for a showdown with either Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko if he can get by the tough and durable Ruiz on the first weekend of this coming April.
Although Haye is thought of as being an unproven commodity as a heavyweight the guy has shown to be an incredible manager and fully grasp the business of boxing. First, with nothing other than his bluster to make his case, Mr. Haye talked his way into a title fight with both of the Klitschko brothers, bouts in which he would've been perceived as an overwhelming underdog. Then he smartly talked his way out of both those bouts and negotiated a title fight with the one title holder, Nikolay Valuev, who he had the best chance to beat.
Lets make sure we're on the same page here. David Haye who only had one fight as a heavyweight, (a 5th round stoppage of Monte Barrett) finagles a fight with the two top heavyweights in the world, and then pulls out of both. In backing out of both Klitschko fights in order to fight Valuev, Haye understood that a unification title bout is worth much more than a standard championship-challenger fight. He now comes to the table with one more bargaining chip than he had the first time around.
Then Haye convinces Ruiz who was Valuev's mandatory challenger to accept his step aside money and waltzes into a title bout with Valuev, who just happened to be the beneficiary of a few gift decisions over Ruiz and Evander Holyfield in his previous two defenses so he could hold onto his title. By the time Haye was in front of Valuev, all he had to do was finish on his feet and the title would be passed along to him thus ending the terrible sideshow Valuev was seen as being.
At this time Haye versus either Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko is one of the more compelling fights that can be made in the heavyweight division. Haye is a Muhammad Ali wannabe when it comes to talking up and selling a fight. Add to that some see him as having a punchers' chance against either one of the K-brothers. And some even see him as being a fighter who could potentially shake up the heavyweight division. I'm not sure I endorse that fully but it's not unrealistic either.
That's why Haye should try to buy Ruiz off one more time, and Ruiz should be agreeable to it and let Haye fight Vitali Klitschko next or Wladimir if he defeats American Eddie Chambers this coming March 20th.
For Haye it makes sense to fight one of the Klitschko's next because John Ruiz is a very dangerous opponent for him and very capable of beating him and costing him the fight against either Klitschko. Not to mention he'll make nowhere as much money fighting Ruiz as he would Wlad or Vitali Klitschko. If he beats one of the Klitschkos and wins their title belts, he can make his first defense against Ruiz and then fight the other brother with all the heavyweight belts up for grabs. Which translates into two big paydays and perhaps three.
For the 38-year-old Ruiz, he should try to get paid twice for not having to fight Haye once for what wouldn't be an astronomical payday. In all likelihood Ruiz would have to knock Haye out in order to beat him. Based on Haye's sudden popularity explosion and Ruiz's more pleasing style as of late, John would have a tough time getting a close decision over Haye if in fact he earned it beyond a doubt.
If I were Ruiz, I'd hope that David Haye would make one more brilliant business decision for both of us and entice me to get out of the way of a potential Haye-Klitschko fight. Just offer me a decent buyout and a fight on the under-card prior to Klitschko-Haye, and I'll gladly comply. In doing this, David, if you're as good as you say you are - you'll be seeing me in your first defense. And if not, I'll be fighting either Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko for their title bouts. Either way it's a win-win for you and me and the fans.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV