BERLIN -- An angry John Ruiz wants a rematch after a
disputed loss to Nikolay Valuev cost him his WBA heavyweight title
In a decision booed by 10,000 at Berlin's Max-Schmeling-Halle,
the 7-foot Russian won 116-113 and 116-114 Saturday on the cards of
two judges, with another scoring it a 114-114 draw.
"Boxing is the only sport where you can get robbed without a
gun," Ruiz said before walking out of the press conference. "My
promoter, Don King, should do his job and get me a rematch."
King wouldn't say if he would line up the rematch. But he did
tout the tallest and heaviest (323 pounds) champion of all time,
calling him the "King Kong" of the division.
Valuev's aim, he said, was to win all the titles in the long
planned unification of the four belt holders.
"We certainly got to have a playoff to have one champion, like
when you saw Muhammad Ali walk through the door," King said.
Ali, once the undisputed champion, drew the biggest cheers of
the evening. Helped by two men, he walked up to the ring and kissed
his daughter Laila Ali. She stopped Sweden's Asa Sandell in the
fifth round in a non-title women's bout to improve her record to
22-0 with 19 knockouts.
Early on, Valuev stood stiff-legged for the first four rounds
and threw left jabs. Ruiz often slipped inside, hit him a couple of
times, then clinched. But Valuev began to move around in the middle
rounds, dodging Ruiz's blows, and punishing the American with his
jabs as well as landing the right.
That allowed the balding Russian to get back into the fight,
although Ruiz claimed three of the last four rounds on the cards of
the judges from Australia, Mexico and New Zealand.
The 32-year-old Russian didn't seem to share King's interest in
unifying the heavyweight division. Until two years ago -- when he
was discovered by German promoter Wilfried Sauerland -- he was
fighting across Russia for minuscule purses and struggling to keep
his head above water.
"I'm not thinking about being the first Russian champion, I'm
thinking of improving, so I can keep the title two or three
fights," Valuev said. "I've waited 12 years for this. This is the
best New Year's gift I could have."
Valuev was 85 pounds heavier than Ruiz and at least 10 inches
taller. One of the few pretty moments in the bout came when he
entertained the crowd with the "Ali Shuffle" in the ninth round.
The only telling blow came when the Russian wobbled Ruiz with 90
seconds left in the final round with a straight left to the chin.
The press conference after the fight was acrimonious with screaming
from both sides.
"You can't win a fight in Germany unless you knock the guy
out," said Ruiz manager Norman Stone. "I don't think he [Valuev]
has a future in America. I think John exploited his weaknesses all
Ruiz's record fell to 42-6 with one draw in his 11th title
fight, which includes wins against the likes of Evander Holyfield.
Valuev remained unbeaten at 43-0 with one no-decision.
Ruiz's camp said they will petition for the rematch with the
WBA, which it did successfully for a Holyfield fight.
Sauerland said he doesn't want a rematch if Stone is in Ruiz's
camp. He accused the manager, who had to be restrained by security
guards, of inciting the booing when he reacted angrily to the