Edel Ruiz wins lackluster decision over Victor Santiago on Telemundo
By Victor Garcia (October 25, 2004) 
The main event of a fight card held at the Sports and Entertainment Dome of the Miccosukee Resort & Gaming casino in Miami, Florida and televised by Spanish language network Telemundo produced a convincing yet lackluster decision victory for Edel 'El Cuate' Ruiz of Los Mochis, Mexico over ring rusty Victor 'Cholito' Santiago of Santa Isabel, Puerto Rico. The bout was presented as a Mexico versus Puerto Rico featherweight championship clash.

On paper the match-up appeared to be a mismatch of sorts. Ruiz walked into the ring having lost seven of his last ten fights but with the WBO Latino featherweight title, while Santiago came in having lost twice in 20 ring appearances. Although Santiago had not fought in over a year, he was still favored to win.

The first and second rounds functioned as an extended feeling out period. Neither man was able to land a significant blow. Both were tentatively jabbing and posing. Still, it was Ruiz who pressed forward as Santiago circled the ring.

The real action began in the third, as the fighters, urged on by their corners, came out busier. From the more frequent exchanges it became increasingly clear that the Puerto Rican was suffering from a case of ring rust. His timing was off, and he was unable to establish his rhythm and range. Near the end of the stanza—immediately after the ten second warning sounded—the combatants each planted their feet and tried to punctuate the round by closing strong. For the first time in the fight the crowd cheered as the fighters went toe-to-toe for the concluding seconds.

Unfortunately, what followed was more of the same. Ruiz continued to be the aggressor against a cautious and retreating Santiago. There were few meaningful exchanges with just as many clinches. Nonetheless, the Mexican had found a home for his straight right hand in the fourth and fifth.

The sixth round started out deceptively. Much to the spectators’ approval, the two boxers met center ring and traded power shots in the opening seconds before returning to the fight’s familiar pattern. The action slowed enough for the referee to admonish both Ruiz and Santiago for not fighting. For the remainder of the stanza the third man in the ring could be heard periodically yelling, “Let’s box!”

Between the ninth and tenth episodes, Santiago’s corner desperately tried to urge their man on, telling him he needed a knockout to win. Unfortunately, this did little to change the scheme of the bout. Ruiz came out for the tenth as the aggressor, landing straight punches, while Santiago utilized his defense more than his offense. To his credit, the Puerto Rican was able to land beautifully timed right hands that sent the Mexican stumbling backward near the end of the round.

Oddly enough, the final round was Santiago’s best. A charging Ruiz was punished with hard counters. The man from Puerto Rico boxed brilliantly, landing potshots as he picked Ruiz apart. It became evident that Santiago was better skilled than his opponent. The long layoff seems to have had a serious effect on the young prospect. An undaunted Ruiz pushed forward, despite being hit repeatedly. Near the end, both fighters were visibly tired and breathing through their mouths. Fittingly, the match ended with the combatants in a clinch. Scattered boos could be heard from the audience in attendance.

Not surprisingly the scores were 116-112, 117-111, and 116-111 in favor of Edel Ruiz. A dejected Victor Santiago, who was previously stopped by WBO featherweight champion Scott Harrison, suffers only his third loss and falls to 17-3-1 (13), while the now reigning WBO Latino and WBC CABOFE featherweight titlist Edel Ruiz improves to 24-12-3 (13).

Supporting the main event on television was a six round lightweight match-up between Lenin Arroyo of San Jose, Costa Rica and Jose Roman of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico. Both men now live and fight out of Florida. The bout was a rematch of a contest that occurred earlier this year, which Arroyo had won.

With few rounds to waste, the two competitors did without a feeling out period and mixed it up immediately. Arroyo seemed to be landing the cleaner, harder shots. This allowed him the opportunity to establish himself as the aggressor. A high volume punch output from the Costa Rican kept Roman on the defensive and allowed him very little opportunity to mount an attack. Nevertheless, the brave Puerto Rican was undaunted by Arroyo’s smothering style. Roman fired back as often and as riotously as he could.

The third and fourth produced the action the audience was looking for. A wild swinging Arroyo attacked his opponent against the ropes regularly. Although he had thrown technically sound straight punches in the first round, Roman responded to his foe’s aggression with wide and looping shots of his own. By the fifth episode, ringside observers were standing and applauding as the two warriors, who had decided to throw caution to the wind, were putting on a brawl of a show. After each exchange, however, it was Roman who came out having tasted more leather.

The sixth and final round was punctuated by the haymakers being thrown and landed by Arroyo. A game Roman covered up to weather the storm before opening up with wild hooks that seemed to have little effect on the rugged Costa Rican. As the bell marking the end of the fight sounded, the crowd saluted the two combatants with a rousing ovation.

The judges’ scores reflected the proper outcome. Lenin Arroyo won a unanimous decision with marks of 60-54 twice and 59-55 once. The loss leaves the valiant Jose Roman with a 4-5-2 (2) record, and the win betters the improving Lenin Arroyo to 11-3-1 (2).
© Copyright / All Rights reserved: Doghouse Boxing 1998-2004