The proposed November 7 fight between WBA heavyweight titlist Nikolai Valuev and David Haye is in jeopardy and could be called off thanks to WBA mandatory challenger John Ruiz:
David Haye's world heavyweight title challenge against 7ft 2in Russian Nikolai Valuev on Nov 7 could be cancelled, according to Boris Dimitrov, the fighter's manager.
American John Ruiz has claimed that he is the mandatory challenger to the World Boxing Association title and not Haye.
"The fight could be off because of Ruiz," said Dimitrov. "Ruiz is writing complaints to the WBA. He has good lawyers. Ruiz is the official challenger for the WBA title. Initially we had planned the bout with him.
"But as Nikolai had already fought this fighter and won [twice against him], his promoters [Sauerland] decided to look for another opponent.
"Now they must ask Ruiz to wait for his title bout challenge against Valuev. But if he doesn't, the November bout with Haye could be cancelled."
The World Boxing Association are expected to rule on the matter in the coming week.
This is not surprising, nor is it unjust, to be honest. I've said this before, I'll say it again: I don't care how you feel about John Ruiz, his fights, his ridiculously ill-fitting "Quiet Man" nickname, or anything else. When he complains, he's generally right about something.
In this case, Ruiz has his point. He is the mandatory challenger. If we're going to pretend these bogus sanctioning body rankings mean anything -- and the sanctioning bodies love to use 'em when they benefit their cause and ignore 'em when they don't -- then Valuev should be rematching Ruiz.
Despite the fact that Valuev-Ruiz was already a crappy fight that happened, there's another wrinkle: Ruiz was, by many accounts, robbed of a win against Valuev. I'm one that thinks Ruiz beat him.
And honestly, if I'm supposed to feel bad for David Haye, who pulled out of TWO fights against the Klitschko brothers already this year, I'm sorry, but I'm not sold. Ruiz probably deserves the shot more than Haye does from the standpoint of having earned it. Haye deserves it because it'll bring more money. And also because the belts are so meaningless -- especially this hunk of tin and pleather -- that I don't really care who's fighting for which one anymore.
You can hate this all you want to, but acting like Ruiz is in the wrong is erroneous. He's completely in the right here. Ruiz has to know he's close to the end of his contending days, and I'm sure he doesn't want to wait around for a shot he's been told he earned. Besides, he already knows he can beat Valuev.