Chat with John Ruiz
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, former two-time boxing heavyweight champion John Ruiz stops by to chat about the sport, as well as celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.
Ruiz, a Massachusetts native, became the first Latino heavyweight champion in 2001 when he defeated Evander Holyfield in a 12-round decision. He made two title defenses before losing the belt to Roy Jones Jr. in 2003.
Ruiz retained his belt later in 2003 when he defeated Hasim Rahman for the interim belt, when Jones moved back down to light heavyweight. Ruiz went on to make three title defenses. He finished his career 44-9-1 with 30 KOs.
Send your questions now and join Ruiz Thursday at 3 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (2:52 PM)
Former heavyweight boxing champion John Ruiz will be here at the top of the hour to take your questions!
Buzzmaster (2:55 PM)
John is here!
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who was your favorite Boxer as a Kid?
John Ruiz (2:56 PM)
I never watched boxing when I was a kid. I was very young. I was going to boxing all of the time. I was watching cartoons. I was trying to escape the mind from the boxing and watch cartoon.
What did it mean for you to be the first Latino heavyweight champion?
John Ruiz (2:57 PM)
It was an honor. It was an honor for myself. Not just to win it but to face a legend in Holyfield for the title. And I look at it and think how is it possible that there wasn't a Latino champion before then? There are so many of them now. It's something that I can never put into words, that feeling.
Sam (St. Louis)
So....how does a kid from Massachusetts become heavyweight champion of the world?
John Ruiz (2:58 PM)
Definitely a lot of hard work. I started when I was 7. From there on, I ran at 5 in the morning. My stepdad had me doing 8 miles. That was crazy. Going to school. To the gym. Doing my homework. It was a routine that was nonstop until 12 when I started doing more sports. Dedication. Sometimes people say I didn't have the greatest talent, but what I had, I managed to work with it.
When did you start thinking about becoming a pro fighter?
John Ruiz (2:59 PM)
That really came into mind when I had a family at a young age. I had to support the family. I always loved sports. I also thought I did well in boxing. At that point, I realized that I could make a living off of boxing. I didn't realize how hard it was going to be to make a living out of boxing. There were times when I was just wondering what was my next move. Thank goodness everything turned out well for myself.
What are you up to these days? Still in boxing?
John Ruiz (3:01 PM)
Yes I am. I opened up a gym in Medford, Mass. I am trying to give back what I got through my career. That's basically the experience of seeing other states. It was a great experience. I also want to give that to the kids that come to the gym. Sooner or later, I want to start a foundation where we have enough money to get them out of the city they're in and put them into another city or state to see how things are on the other side of the world, so to speak. And to help build their self-esteem.
John Ruiz (3:02 PM)
The grand opening for the gym is this Saturday. Everyone is invited. Check out the John "Quietman" Ruiz Facebook page for more information.
John Ruiz (3:02 PM)
The gym is a multi-fighting gym. Boxing and MMA.
What was your most memorable fight?
John Ruiz (3:03 PM)
Of course it has to be when I won the title the first time against Holyfield. Fighting against a guy who, myself growing up, watching him fight in wars against Bowe. Being in front of him and fighting him, it was nervewracking and an honor. To have things come out the way they did, I couldn't have written it any better. That was a day I can never put into words. It was a feeling that I get chills just thinking about it.
who would win if Klitschkos fight between them?
John Ruiz (3:04 PM)
I've seen them fight so many guys out there. I'm not sure. At the same time, their opponents didn't show up to fight or they beat them before they enter the ring. They say the younger one is better. They have better techniques. That's what boxing is all about. You don't know who's better. You fight.
What do you think of the current make up of the heavyweight division?
John Ruiz (3:07 PM)
They're still looking for someone to standout. Even though the Klitschko's have all the belts, they're still not someone everyone thinks about. The top guys that they fight, they're already downhill or they're coming in to get paid. It seems like the guys end up quitting during the fight. For the division itself, it needs someone to glorify it more. It's been going downhill for a while. The lighter weights are getting bigger fights and the money now. Mayweather. Pacquiao. It seems like what's going on right now with the lighter weights used to be the heavyweights. The fights need to come back to the States. It seems like every big heavyweight shot is overseas.
John H (Augusta GA)
Hi John. I've never seen you fight but have heard of you alot. Most say your performances have been similiar to the Klitschkos in the past. Not a compliment, they usually say you were boring to watch. How would you respond to that?
John Ruiz (3:09 PM)
Of course, every person has their style of fighting. At the same time it's a reflection of their trainers. It's not to say I wasn't being trained right in those fights. I take full responsibility for what happened. Not every time you can put on a great show. It depends on the opponent, if he's willing to fight also. I always kept moving forward. That was my main thing, not matter what people say. I kept hearing things when I started boxing saying that I wouldn't make it. They said I didn't have the talent to make it and fight the big names out there. Each step I took, I proved someone wrong. That was my philosophy. Take each step and prove people wrong that you do belong here.
John Ruiz (3:09 PM)
That I earned it all.
Why do you think there are so many latinos at the lower fighting weights but not at the heavyweights?
John Ruiz (3:11 PM)
When I go to a Latin country, I feel like the Jolly Green Giant. I'm a big guy. But at the same time, I don't feel that tall. I'm only 6-2. Most of the big guys in those countries, do other things. American football is big. They tend to get into that now. There are a ton of sports out there right now that people like to get into. Baseball, soccer. Boxing is still big. But if I can swing at a ball or kick a ball rather than taking a punch, I'll take the other ones.
Who are in your opinion the best p4p at the moment??
John Ruiz (3:13 PM)
Right now it's got to be Pacquiao. He's proven himself. He's beating everyone who's come up to the plate. Now it's time to prove who's better than him and Mayweather. Pacquiao is ready for the fight and Mayweather has not signed on. But for the best fighter out there, hands down it has to be Pacquiao, until someone proves him wrong. Sooner or later someone will prove him wrong, but no one has done that yet.
Rich (Syracuse NY)
Hi John, I myself thought you were all heart, after the Tua fight, the way you came back and had the success you did says alot, congratulations on great career
John Ruiz (3:15 PM)
You have to have heart to be in this sport. After a while it starts to drag you down because of all of the stuff behind the scenes that people don't see. If you manage to pick yourself up and keep moving on and keep fighting and doing your best, that's all I can do. People say that I was knocked down by Tua, but I look at it as a lessoned learned. The first round, people say is to basically check one another out and see what everyone has. No, you're there to fight. That's where I went wrong. I took that first round to check things out and I got caught. For myself to get back up and keep moving forward and taking those other big fights, it makes me feel proud of myself that I managed to do that when other people went the other way and got depressed about the situation and dwelled on it. I managed to push past it and succeed. It's not that you get knocked down, it's what you do afterwards that will count.
John Ruiz (3:16 PM)
Thank you to all of my fans. Thank you for your support. If anyone has free time in Massachusetts on Saturday, we'll have the grand opening for my gym. Hope to see you there. Thank you.