With the heavyweight division scattered, there are several fighters trying to take top honors. Most of the media has chosen Vitali Klitschko (Boxingtalk #1) as the top guy, while others have Chris Byrd (Boxingtalk #2) on top of their lists. Several fans and writers are bypassing the current champions and looking for a prospect to step up to the plate. Fighters such as Calvin Brock, Samuel Peter and Joe Mesi have stamped their way into being recognized as the top young contenders. However this weekend one man has a chance to surpass them all.
When you think of a fighter that is on top of his division you often look for a fighter who has defeated top ten contenders, past rulers of the division, and has had longevity while doing it. This fighter’s only losses in the last nine years have come to all-time greats Evander Holyfield and Roy Jones. In the last year four years this champion has defeated the previous mentioned Evander Holyfield (and knocked him down, ), Kirk Johnson (Boxingtalk 17), Andrew Golota (Boxingtalk #4), Fres Oquendo (Boxingtalk #7) and Hasim Rahman (Boxingtalk #5) you would this guy should be rated as the top guy in the Heavyweight division. Despite these accomplishments and his bests efforts to be a media "Good Guy" John Ruiz still lacks the respect he deserves. His style isn't pretty watch; in fact it is pretty boring. This Saturday "The Quietman" has his opportunity to make some major noise in the sport in his fight with James Toney (Boxingtalk #6).
The task will not be simple as James Toney is a future first ballot hall of fame entrant. In his two heavyweight fights Toney has looked very sharp knocking out Evander Holyfield and schooling Rydell Booker. Adding to that, Toney has not lost since he lost a majority decision eight years ago. Once considered the pound for pound best fighter in the world, Toney has a great defense, chin and power. Despite all of Toney's attributes, he is right for Ruiz to look good against. Toney fights in spurts taking time off in the ring walking around or lying on the ropes. Toney also hasn't taken a real heavyweight punch as Rydell Booker was a blown up cruiserweight, and Evander has faded so much in his career after the first round he wasn't in the fight against Toney. Toney has had his share of injuries in the last year as well having surgery on his biceps and ankle. One final reason why Ruiz can look good against Toney is that Toney weighed in at a career high 233.
Even with Toney being a good fighter for Ruiz to look good against, he can't just win this fight. If Ruiz wins by fighting his grappling style of boxing, he will have blown the opportunity. In Jawny's previous fights he has shown improved power by hurting Hasim Rahman several times in their fight, knocking out Fres Oquendo and putting together good combinations against Golota. Ruiz has to fight the whole fight aggressively and box smart with his sharp jab. This is the only way he can silence his critics and gain the recognition he has been seeking his whole career.
This is Jawny's chance to shine. Fighting on an HBO, Main Event at Madison Square Garden, a Ruiz victory will give him wins over four top ten heavyweights and two first ballot hall of fame entrants. With a win he can get one this he has been calling for the last few months, a unification bout most likely with Chris Byrd. With his record and longevity, beating the self proclaimed "Best Damn Heavyweight Period" convincingly will help legitimize Jawny's claim to being "The King of the Heavyweights."