While Valuev-Haye is the big attraction in Germany on Saturday, longtime heavyweight contender and former titlist John Ruiz will be in action, and should he win as expected, is next in line to face the Valuev-Haye winner.
Ruiz does have a preference, he says, and as Teddy Atlas kept yammering on about last night from Camp Lejuene, it all comes down to "location, location, location."
"I’m 0-3 in Germany and 6-0 fighting in England," Ruiz joked, "so I guess I’d rather fight Haye."
Ruiz dropped two close and controversial decisions to Valuev in the past.
"The Quiet Man" (who ironically always has something to say) also offers a bit of hope to American pay-per-view buyers who probably groaned when they saw that he was the main co-feature on the card.
"I’m very happy that my fight is going to be on pay per view in North America. My fans and media there haven’t been able to watch my last few fights because they weren’t televised there. They think I still fight the same way, but I’m much more aggressive, and now they’ll be able to see how much I’ve improved. I’ve been working hard the past three months with my new head trainer, Miguel Diaz, and assistant Richie Sandoval. Somewhere along the line, I got away from the basics, and we’ve been working in that area. I had been leaning in and landing too close to my opponent, which resulted in a lot of clutching and grabbing. We’ve improved my style; I’m more aggressive now, moving more and getting hit less."
Having seen some of Ruiz's recent fights, I will join the small collective that will tell you that he's not joshin' about this. Ruiz has been much more aggressive lately and isn't quite the bore he was during his peak. He's also made about 95% valid points in his recent complaints about the WBA and other things in boxing that have really been grinding his gears. Say what you will about Ruiz, but he doesn't come into arguments without some real ammunition.
I am still not thrilled that I'll be seeing John Ruiz's tune-up fight for part of my $25 PPV bill, but I'm going to try to put aside the old biases and be open-minded.