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John Ruiz, Don King and the WBA's Heavyweight Mess

Former heavyweight titlist John Ruiz has a fight lined up with David Haye, and won't have to worry about the WBA crowning any interim titlists in the meantime.
Former heavyweight titlist John Ruiz has a fight lined up with David Haye, and won't have to worry about the WBA crowning any interim titlists in the meantime.
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

While Don King earlier sent out a press release claiming that an upcoming fight between Kali Meehan (a King fighter) and Ruslan Chagaev would be for the interim WBA heavyweight title, it now appears that that won't be happening. John Ruiz -- a fighter King claims he still promotes -- and his team have cleared up the confusion, or at least it appears that way.

Ruiz declared himself a free agent recently, and still says he's no longer promoted by King. He also says that King is trying to create a stink after failing to get an interim title fight for one of his guys (Meehan, it would appear), and also after failing to get Ruslan Chagaev dropped in the WBA ratings behind three of his fighters.

"It's shame that Don King's influence in the boxing industry has diminished so much that he has stooped to this level," Ruiz' manager/legal advisor Atty. Tony Cardinale said. "The fact is John Ruiz' contract expired, by its own terms, Oct. 9, 2009. Apparently, Don has lost his ability to read or count as well. Any claim that he has made about DKP still having John under contract is simply a case of King attempting to confuse the public and negatively affect John's opportunities to engage a new promoter. All of his recent actions, including distribution of a knowingly false press release regarding a so-called WBA sanctioned ‘Interim' title fight between Meehan and Chagaev, are an effort by Don King to damage the Haye-Ruiz fight, which he has nothing to do with."

And if there's any confusion left, WBA Executive Director Gilberto Jesus Mendoza sent this in an email to all parties involved in the upcoming David Haye-John Ruiz fight: "The Assembly General deferred discussions of amendments to the rules referring to Interim titles. This means the Meehan vs. Chagaev bout will not be sanctioned as an Interim championship."

Tony Cardinale added this: "This is the nature of the beast we have been dealing with for the past 10 years. In every title fight John has engaged in under the DKP banner, King actively rooted for and supported John's opponent, excluding only one fight (Ruiz vs. Kirk Johnson), in which he had no promotional interest in the opponent."

The Haye-Ruiz fight has been ordered to take place before May 30, 2010, and all indications are that it will be happening between March 13 and April 3.

Update (1:07am ET, 11/24): Golden Boy's Oscar de la Hoya, who works with David Haye, had this to say in a press release:

"We have complete confidence that the WBA will keep their word and not sanction an interim heavyweight world title bout. They have assured us that David will remain the ONLY WBA heavyweight world champion, a title which he looks forward to proudly defending for the first time in the early part of 2010."

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