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David Haye vs. John Ruiz Fight Preview and Prediction

David Haye vs. John Ruiz Fight Preview and Prediction
When: Saturday, April 3, 2010
Where: M.E.N. Arena, Manchester, England
Weight Class: WBA Heavyweight Championship - 12 Rounds

By Scotty L of

David Haye, 23-1 (21 KOs), London, England, WBA Heavyweight Champion. Vs. John Ruiz, 44-8-1 (30 KOs), Chelsea, Massachusetts.

Fight Odds: David Haye (-600), John Ruiz (+400)
Over/Under: Over 9.5 (-115), Under 9.5 (-115)

Fight Preview: On Saturday, newly crowned WBA Heavyweight Champion David Haye defends his title against two-time former WBA titleholder John Ruiz. Haye, 29, looks to begin making noise in this division, while Ruiz, 38, looks to extract a little more glory out of his career. The brash Brit Haye has been touting himself as the savior of a dead division. The Klitschko brothers represent the top two spots in the division. Haye is number three, but looks to improve on that standing this year.

The problem with Haye that I think irritates some observers is the way he entered the heavyweight ranks. After a hard-punching and dominant reign at cruiserweight, Haye moved up in weight with the promise of ridding the boxing world of the dominant but dull Klitschko brothers. Haye beat faded former contender Monte Barrett before signing to fight legit Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko. An injury forced Haye to pull out of the fight. Then the exact same thing happened after he signed to fight Vitali—the other Klitschko brother.

Haye eventually signed to fight behemoth Nikolay Valuev, the weakest of the 3 heavyweight champions. Now while it was probably the better opponent for the new heavyweight hope, a pair of pullouts over the top two guys in the division left some observers questioning Haye’s assertion that he’s the second coming. Truth be told, Haye deserves a little slack. Haye should ideally build himself up against lesser likes, having fought at under 200 pounds during his career. It is a lot to ask for a guy new to the division to take on the best right away.

So Haye took on the 7-foot 320-pound Valuev in a fight that is noted for its lack of action. Haye possibly became the first man to lift a title while throwing an anemic 12 punches per round. The decision seemed in doubt and Haye looked like anything but the next great heavyweight. But how much stock should one be willing to put in such a fight? Valuev, with his otherworldly size, represents a challenge unlike any in the division. Merely getting your offense untracked against a colossal fighter like Valuev is difficult. In horseracing, handicappers often throw out a result if the conditions of the race made it so there is nothing to be gleamed from it. I think the Valuev fight falls into the same category for Haye. How much can we really read into a fight against a guy no one has ever looked good against?

So now Haye gets Ruiz, the longtime mainstay in the division, with over a decade at the world-class level. Ruiz has made the most of a career that seemed destined to go nowhere. For those who saw him lose to ill-fated cruiserweight Sergei Kobozev in 1993 or get blasted by David Tua in 19 seconds in 1996, his career has been shocking. No one forecasted this kind of success for him. Ruiz holds wins over Evander Holyfield, Kirk Johnson, Hasim Rahman, Fres Oquendo, and Jameel McCline—all quality heavyweights.

Ruiz has managed to put a nice career together while not excelling in any one area. He is where he is due to his toughness, grit, self-belief, and chin—all of which is wrapped up in a negative and spoiling style that is almost impossible to look good against. He might be getting a little long in the tooth, but is still effective employing his style.

I doubt Haye will look great in this fight. When fighting a style like Ruiz’ it’s better to just get the win and try to look great another day. Haye should be able to parlay his youth, freshness, athleticism, and prodigious power to control this fight with varying degrees of success. I expect Ruiz to make the most of what appears to be his last chance. He has a true fighter’s heart and I expect him to have a strong showing.

Scotty's Pick to Win: Haye will come out trying to look impressive in an effort to erase the negative image from his last fight. He will win the early rounds, but in doing so, will realize that Ruiz is not as easy to hit squarely as it appears. I look for Ruiz’ negative style to flower as the fight wears on, making Haye opt for a more clinical approach. Haye should be able to win the majority of rounds with Ruiz still there at the final bell. Lay the –600 on David Haye to win and take the “over” at –115.

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