Boxing: john ruiz

John Ruiz, Dana Rosenblatt at Aviator

March, 24, 2012
New England was in da house in Brooklyn, N.Y., with former pugs John Ruiz, the ex-heavyweight champ from Methuen, Mass., and "Dangerous" Dana Rosenblatt from Malden, Mass., in the arena at the Aviator Complex on Saturday. Ruiz was there because his advisor, Tony Cardinale, reps Sergei Liakhovich, while Rosenblatt is pals with the guy who helps Nagy Aguilera with his strength and conditioning. Both fighters told me they are done, done, done -- no more fighting for them.

Floyd Mayweather-Andre Ward is a pipe dream

January, 31, 2012
I posted a "What if?" piece late Monday night, talking about a Floyd Mayweather-Andre Ward match. I thought it was pretty self evident that I didn't think this fight would ever actually happen, but a bunch of readers reached out out to me and poked me with the dummy stick.

That's never gonna happen, fool!

Why not book Pacquaio-Klitschko?


I got a bunch of that...

Friends, I thought it was self evident, based on my phrasing and more importantly, based on Floyd Mayweather's track record as an ultra-savvy self-manager, that he would not be hopping from welterweight to super middleweight to fight Ward. I guess it was not as self evident as I thought, so let me be more explicit.

This is a pipe dream.

I urge you to take in the fumes, let them marinate, let yourself drift away to an alternate universe, where Floyd Mayweather, a supreme talent in this era, and in the mix of discussion when you bring up best boxers of alltime, searches high and low for the most rigorous challenges.

By and large, most folks seem to think the six footer Ward would be way too strong for Floyd, too large for the 5-8 MoneyMan, but I'm of the belief that Floyd's talent would speak more loudly than most think on the night in Neveruary when Mayweather and Ward face off.

My secondary aim in posting the column was to send a smoke signal to Floyd, a l'il nudge, in order to convince him to change his ways, get him to be less of a manager, and more of a throwback fighter in terms of searching out the stiffest challenges, for the record.

Quick, digressive note, on the issue of civility: I love our nation's embrace of free speech. But I'd appreciate if you do choose to engage me on Twitter, especially, please indulge me and adhere to a practice I seek to employ: please don't write anything you aren't willing to say to my face. Of course, you can outright call me a moron if that's a burning desire, but I'd like to keep the conversation just that, a conversation, and not waste energy on negativity or name-calling.

I went on a radio show last Friday, and being a sports radio virgin, basically, I was stunned by the ignorant rants coming from two callers. They used vile language, and spoke to me like I'd just kidnapped their cat and microwaved it. They did so behind a wall of safety, the anonymous zone of their mommy's basement, or wherever, so they felt especially muscular. (For the record, I spent two years working in a locked psych ward after college, and I found myself hunting for a full syringe of Thorazine for both these maniacs, who seem in dire need of anger management treatment at the very least.) These are trying times for many, and I realize there will be instances of transference, where people are directing ire at collateral targets. I'm guessing some things aren't going right in both those guys' lives if they feel the need to unload with such ire to someone they've never met, so hopefully things will improve and they'll feel less anger moving forward...But I'd appreciate if you feel like blowing off some steam for whatever reason at me, you keep it civil.

Cue the barrage of insults, lol...

Here is the Monday night column, re-posted.

Floyd Mayweather is the best in the business today. He is a singular talent, a star shinier than any other when it comes to doing business in the squared circle.
Now, he’ll tell you that he is the best in the business for the ages, the most talented person to ever lace on a pair. I won’t go that far; I don’t think he’s pursued all foes with reckless abandon, I don’t believe that he has searched far and wide for persons who can challenge him, so as to send a clear and potent message that as far as practitioners of the sweet science go, none is better.

It is with that in mind that I ponder Mayweather’s legacy, and how he will stack up when the historians are mulling the question of an all-time top 20, or top 10, or top 5, or No. 1 in ten, twenty, fifty years from now.

If Floyd wants to be regarded as the best and the brightest, bar none, it would be helpful if his accomplishments compare and contrast favorably with the man regarded by a lion’s share of experts as the second best boxer for the ages, Henry Armstrong. “Hammerin’ Hank” did his thing as a pro from 1931-1945, and finished his Hall of Fame career with a final mark of 150-21-10, with 101 KOs. He still holds the distinction of being the only fighter to hold titles in three separate weight classes—featherweight (126), lightweight (135), welterweight (147)-- and that during a time when there were only eight weight classes in total.

In October of 1937, weighing 124 pounds, Armstrong beat Pete Sarron to claim the world featherweight crown. In May of 1938, Armstrong challenged and beat welterweight champ Barney Ross. The winner weighed 133 pounds, to 142 for Ross. Armstrong gave up 9 pounds, and still scored a UD15 win at Madison Square Garden. But Armstrong wasn’t done. He knew Lou Ambers was holding the welterweight crown, so in his very next bout, in August of the same year, he met Ambers at MSG. Armstrong was 134, and Ambers a half pound heavier. At the end of the night, Armstrong had his hand raised, a winner by split decision.

To boil this down, Armstrong hunted high and low for challenges. He looked left, right, up and down for people to beat, to prove his mettle. One solid example of a modern-day warrior doing the same comes to mind, when Roy Jones jumped from light heavyweight to heavyweight to take on John Ruiz. Jones was 174 3/4 when he beat Clinton Woods in September of 2002, and weighed 193 when he fought and beat Ruiz, then the WBA champion, in Las Vegas, via UD12. Ruiz was 226 pounds at the weigh-in, so he enjoyed roughly a 33 pound edge on fight night.

I happen to think Mayweather stacks up quite nicely among the all-time greats. His genes contain matter that make him a superior fighter, DNA that the rest of the world doesn’t have. His defensive adeptness may not be equaled, and while he doesn’t possess the sort of power to score highlight-reel one-punch KOs, he does have enough pop to bother anybody on a given night. So, what if Mayweather, for his next fight, truly put his money where his mouth is, and challenged 168 pound champion Andre Ward to a scrap?

OK, OK, I’m hearing ya..Mayweather has never weighed more than 150 pounds at the weigh in, while Ward campaigns 18 pounds more than that. That’s a huge weight differential. But recall that Jones, who was then regarded as the pound-for-pound ace, and certainly in the conversation when pertaining to active fighters who might one day be regarded as all-time top tenners, or better, gave up 33 pounds to Ruiz.

Relax, relax, I hear ya, again. John Ruiz is John Ruiz. Point taken, all due respect to Jawny. Andre Ward might well be the second-best boxer in the world today. His ring generalship is in the neighborhood of Mayweathers,’ and he too possesses some genes that the rest of the planet doesn’t. He’s a pugilist, as is Mayweather, and Ruiz was a boxer, one who accomplished more on grit and stubbornness than he had any right to.
But if you want to be seen as THE best and the brightest, better than the Sugars, better than Ali, shouldn’t you seek out challenges that others might dismiss as bridges too far? Shouldn’t you have a Knievelesque drive to jump more buses, waaay more buses, than the hoi polloi thinks possible?


Ring 8 holiday gala report

December, 19, 2011
Every now and again, especially after I've watched two guys whale away at each other, and I ponder the loss of brain cells and potential long-term damage, I need to be reminded about the best elements of boxing. I got some of that on Sunday afternoon, at the annual Ring 8 holiday gala, which unfolded at Russo's on the Bay in Howard Beach, Queens.

Ring 8 is an organization which honors boxing old-timers, focusing on guys who did their thing decades ago, of whom time may have passed by, but still deserve to be remembered and lauded. Ring 8 also exists to give some of these guys a financial hand-up when needed. And as I was reminded Sunday, the organization does a swell job at getting the word out that boxing can be an absolute lifeline to a directionless kid whose career and life options are likely limited to jail or death. Kids who have an iffy home life are often seduced by the street, embraced by other dead enders who haven't been properly nourished by solid role models, and indulge in antisocial and/or illegal acts.

Roy Jones, who fought on Dec. 10, winning a UD10 over Max Alexander. He will turn 43 in January, and lost three straight before beating journeyman Alexander. But he reminded the attendees that he loves the sport, and will do it as long as possible, because he isn't "afraid to get knocked down.

"Boxing taught me more about life than anything," said the future Hall of Famer. "Every little kid needs to know about boxing, especially little boys." He was given the Fighter of the Decade Award. Wiseguys cracked that no one is sure what decade that is.

Trainer-manager-TV analyst Manny Steward gave Ring 8 a shoutout, calling it "maybe the best organization in boxing" as he received his Trainer of the Decade award.

Teddy Atlas, present to give Marcus Browne the Amateur Boxer of the Year award, told the crowd how important it is for aimless kids to receive direction and boosts in self esteem that boxing can give. "It's an opportunity to not just win the Golden Gloves but to become better people," he said. Brown, a 20 year-old light heavy from Staten Island, won at the Olympic Trials and can secure a berth at the 2012 Games if he enjoys success at the US Nationals in March.

John Ruiz, who just wrote a book for kids ("Hook and Jab"), and opened a gym in Massachusetts, looked fit and trim. But the ex heavyweight champ, who was honored as the First Hispanic Heavyweight Champion, told me that he is done. He turns 40 on January 4.

Attorney Keith Sullivan won Member of the Year, and received a loving testimonial from pal Jack Hirsch, the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Hirsch said Sullivan, who does a huge amount of pro bono work, is almost single-handedly helping the reputation of lawyers in the region. Sullivan helps Ring 8, and the Atlas Foundation, and doesn't get a dime for his expertise. He told me he is happy that Ring 8 membership has seen a huge spike in recent years and that the organization is thriving.

David Diamante acted as emcee, and was congratulated by partygoers when it was announced that he beat out hundreds of contenders to win the spot as voice of the Nets, who will play in the still-being-built Barclays Center. Diamante, who emcees Lou DiBella's shows, owns a cigar lounge in Fort Greene, so his vibe will be a good fit for the team. "It's a blessing," he told me. "I was the last man standing."

Also present at the bash: NYSAC commission chair Melvina Lathan, Tommy Gallagher, his guy Gabriel Bracero, another kid saved by boxing, promoter Rich Komissar, Ring 8 president Bob Duffy, Tomasz Adamek, Delvin Rodriguez, Vinny Maddalone, and Vito Antuofermo.