Michael Ruiz Jr. fights his opponent and the judges
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Michael Ruiz Jr. fights his opponent and the judges
By John J. Raspanti, Doghouse Boxing (Oct 13, 2014)

Michael Ruiz Jr.
Michael Ruiz Jr.
He's not well known, even in his chosen profession.

His professional boxing record (9-4-2, 3 KOs) appears, at least on the surface, to be mediocre.

But looks can be deceiving.

Michael Ruiz Jr. began his career with a bang.

He won his first eight bouts in succession. In 2010, super middleweight champion Andre Ward's promoter, the late Dan Goossen, signed the then 21-year-old Ruiz Jr. to an exclusive promotional contract.

"I’ve seen Michael fight and I like his style," Goossen told www.15rounds.com. "He’s a promising young fighter willing to fight his way to the top with an aggressive, entertaining style."

Ruiz Jr., born in Fresno, CA. had been boxing professionally for four years when Goossen Promotions signed him. His amateur career had been a short, but successful one.

He suffered his first loss against Jonathon Arrellano on Sept. 23, 2011, at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, Calif..

"That was a tough fight," Ruiz told this writer on the phone a few weeks ago. “It was back and forth, very competitive. I felt like I was hitting him a lot."

Ruiz Jr. had moved up a division to take on Arrellano.

"I think it was just the weight difference," Ruiz Jr. said. "I hit him with some good shots, but he's just a little bigger. That's just how it was."

Ruiz Jr. next faced hard-hitting Matthew Villanueva, and was stopped in round seven.

Two fights, two tough losses.

Back in the 1940s, after Hall of Famers Archie Moore, Ezzard Charles, and Jersey Joe Walcott were knocked out, they recovered to move on with their careers.

Ruiz Jr. bounced back to win his next bout, but he was having trouble getting fights at his most comfortable weight, which maxes out at 115 pounds.

To stay in the game, he had to travel to his opponent’s hometown to fight. The disadvantage of meeting another man in his backyard is obvious—especially in boxing where a “fair-shake,” at least most of time, doesn’t exist.

After the loss to Villanueva in 2012, Ruiz Jr. and his father, Michael Ruiz Sr. realized they needed to make some changes. What they needed was someone who understood the pro game.

What they got was former super bantamweight champion Israel Vasquez.

"Israel was running the gym and was told to come and check me out, “said Ruiz Jr. “He was taking a break from his career at the time. I met Israel at his gym. He had hit the bag.

“He liked me. I was so happy when he agreed to train me. He has taught me so many things.”

His first camp with his new trainer was an eye-opener.

“After my second loss, I had to go back to the drawing board,” Ruiz Jr. said. “I realized that I wasn't training properly. I was doing everything basically wrong.”

Ruiz Jr. soon defeated Shawn Nicol. Months later, he faced prospect Khabir Suleymanov in San Diego.

“I threw a lot of punches that night,” Ruiz Jr. said. “They were powerful shots, but they weren't devastating punches. Everyone was telling me that when I fight at this level, that I need to show them how hard I can hit. When I fought Suleymanov, I hit him with a lot of power.

“I was hurting him.," he said. "I thought I won. Half his fans had left; they knew I won that fight. Israel picked me up and told me that I fought like a champion. When the decision was announced in his (Suleymanov’s) favor, all I could do was shake my head.”

Www.Fightnews.com ringside reporter Felipe Leon posted this article on the fight.

Russian Khabir Suleymanov (15-3, 6KOs) of Los Angeles by way of Chelyabinsk, Russia, was awarded an unpopular ten round unanimous decision and thus the NABA bantamweight title against Fresno, CA’s Michael Ruiz Jr (9-3-1, 3KOs).

At the end, judges Alejandro Rochin and Tony Crebs had it an inexplicably wide 98-92 and 97-93 respectively while Sergio Caiz scored it 96-94 all for Suleymanov. Fightnews had it the same,
96-94, but for Ruiz Jr.

“Everyone has a different way of looking at fights,” said Ruiz Jr. diplomatically. “I've dealt with it, and I know I can’t let it get to me. I have a pretty good idea what’s going on. They never want to give me a rematch.”

Regrouping, Ruiz Jr. next traveled to Redwood City to face once-beaten Bruno Escalante for the vacant IBA super flyweight title.
The two fighters knew each other well--having split two amateur matches.

The bout was exciting, with each boxer giving as much as they received.

“They said he's gonna come in and he's gonna move,” said Ruiz Jr. “I took it to him in the first two rounds. I danced around him. I out-boxed him clearly. I was just landing shots.”

The ringside judges had a different take on the outcome, giving Escalante the win by a majority decision.

“It could've have gone either way because we were going at it,” added Ruiz. “But I clearly thought I won.”

This writer, stationed at ringside, had Ruiz Jr. winning the fight by two points. Vasquez was so disgusted by the decision he left the ring abruptly without comment.

It is difficult to fathom a fighter's disappointment when he gives it his all only to be on the short end of a dubious decision. This problem is a common one in boxing. It’s amazing a fighter like Ruiz Jr. doesn’t quit, but, for him, that option isn’t in the cards.

So what’s he do?

He gets on the road and fights, but with a different goal.

“I feel like I have to knock out my opponents’,” said Ruiz Jr. “No more decisions.”

Last May he was back in the ring against Jonathon Gonzales. The fight was held in Buffalo, NY. Gonzales was born in the Bronx. Ruiz Jr. was expected to lose. The bout was a showcase for Gonzales.

But Ruiz Jr. saw an opportunity.

“I clearly dominated Gonzales from the third round on,” Ruiz Jr. said. ”I dropped him in the seventh round, but they called it a slip. I won the last four rounds.”

Once again, Ruiz Jr. was disappointed as the fight was declared a draw.

An unnamed source told this writer that judges can sometimes be influenced by promoters cheering for their fighters since they are not shy about verbally supporting their clients.

In this case, Gonzales was the star of the show.

Through it all, Ruiz Jr. keeps on grinding.

“I know it’s a long journey,” he said. “But it’s worth it.”

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