Ruiz parts ways with the WBA Heavyweight Title and the Sport in loss against Toney
By Ric Solivan (May 2, 2005) 
Photo © Marty Rosengarten/
John ‘The Quiet Man’ Ruiz loses WBA heavyweight title to James Toney, announces retirement from boxing

John ‘The Quiet Man’ Ruiz got some of the respect he had long sought to get tonight in his WBA title defense against James ‘Lights Out’ Toney. Yes, you heard right, Ruiz got some respect for once. The MSG crowd was seldom heard expressing their displeasure over his style, his clinching was limited and he put on a generally entertaining performance. However, his valiant effort while solid and commendable was not enough to overcome the quickness and guile of James Toney, Ruiz instead walked out of the ring for the last time according to trainer/manager Norman Stone, the victim of a unanimous decision loss.

The 241lbs. Ruiz fought an obese 233lbs. Toney from the outside for the duration of the bout, hoping to use his size and reach advantage, against the visibly smaller man and it worked in certain spots. However, the distance left the now former champion wide open for the quick hands of the challenger, who scored on cue with a looping right every time Ruiz missed or hesitated.

The champion did well enough to win the majority of the early rounds, as he used his jab well and landed in succession to the body of Toney. Going into the fifth Ruiz was actually ahead three rounds in my opinion and had thrown the most punches of the two, managing to land a respectable portion.

However Toney, a notoriously slow starter, now warmed up to the task, stepped up his game and quickly had the Quiet Man under control with solid bodywork and right hands that seemingly hurt the former champion.

It was downhill for Ruiz from there, Toney was now battering the champion’s body and a massive spot of red was visible on the left side of Ruiz ribcage. However, the Quitman would not let up and continued to stalk his foe, albeit with little benefit for his effort.

The points gap widened when in the seventh round, when Toney landed the best punches of the fight, a right hand-left hook combination that with help from Toney’s left foot put Ruiz down. Obviously a bad call from referee Steve Smoger, but nonetheless Ruiz endured the obviously dubious call and the proceeding eight count.

Ruiz had better success in the following two rounds, but this appeared to be largely due to Toney taking off the rounds in preparation of the closing minutes, where Ruiz had previously pulled off close victories.

Starting in the tenth it was all Toney as he landed the cleaner punches, rocking Johnny and securing all three of these final rounds on the judges’ scorecards.

At the end of the night the scores of double 116-111 cards and a lone 115-112 heralded the arrival of a new WBA champion in James ‘Lights Out’ Toney, while Ruiz somberly made his way towards the locker room, where soon after he decide to call it quits.

“He’s a tough guy to fight.  He moves around a lot.  I connected a lot.  I finished stronger and I won this fight,” expressed a very disappointed Ruiz in his locker room; shortly thereafter in the press conference he would send manager Norman Stone to make the announcement of his retirement the gathered media.

A jubilant James Toney had a few choice words for his fellow champions and the man he had just beaten for the title, “Yes I knew I would see this day.  I only had five weeks to prepare for this fight.  If I had more, I would have knocked him out. I am the WBA champion and soon to be undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.”

Regarding Ruiz, the very vocal Toney expressed little respect. “John is an average fighter. I was hoping to jab and grab, then give him an uppercut and give him a case of whiplash.  He wasn’t in that good of shape and I wasn’t in my best shape. I did just what I said I would do.  Get rid of him from the heavyweight division.  Don King will throw him in the trashcan where he belongs.  He gave me the opportunity and I did what I had to do.”

Finally, after the adrenaline had settled, James offered a more toned down take of the events. “I only had four and a half weeks to prepare for this fight.  I do what I do.  I didn’t expect much from John because he is an average fighter.  John Ruiz is stupid.  He can’t change his style.  He only knows how to fight one way.  I take my hat off to him for giving me the opportunity.  I want Klitschko.  I will fight anyone anywhere at anytime.  I don’t duck anyone.”

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