Made to measure
Jim Watt says John Ruiz is the perfect foe for David Haye to prove he's a heavyweight who is here to stay.
By Jim Watt
Last Updated: 20/03/10 10:58am
This is a great fight for us here in Britain, for British boxing and more importantly, a great fight for David Haye.
I think it's fair to say that David still has to prove himself as a true heavyweight in world boxing and I am struggling to think of a better opponent to do it against than John Ruiz.
What David did to win the title in Germany was an absolute masterstroke. It was the perfect gameplan perfectly executed, he got that WBA belt, which was precisely the reason he went there.
There was no way he was ever going to get involved with a man of Nikolai Valuev's sheer size, but what I cannot wait to see on April 3, is David taking a heavyweight's punches, showing us just how he measures up now he's a heavyweight. I don't mean David standing their trading punches for the sake of it, just engaging a lot more - and Ruiz is a good man for that.
He might be getting on a little bit at 38, but he has proved to us that he is a good fighter and because of the style he has always had, it's not as if he is going to become an old man overnight. Look at his record and he has had some very good victories down the years.
The fact that he is not what you'd call popular is not necessarily down to what he's done or not done, it is more to do with his style. People and TV companies in particular, didn't like his mauling, brawling technique. It was not great box office, but it was effective.
Funnily enough, I do think that under a new trainer he has changed a little bit. We saw him on the Haye-Valuev undercard and although in Adnan Serin he was up against a guy who had probably lost a third of his fights and who he was expected to beat, there were one or two changes.
He looked a little more sprightly, a little livelier and he boxed behind the jab a bit more, kept his distance. The John Ruiz of old would have buried his head in your chest, tied you up and made you - and the fight - look bad.
But the bottom line is, Ruiz has not been disgraced by anyone and only stopped once, by David Tua in a first-round knockout - which can happen to anyone - and that was 13 years ago!
He has never been embarrassed at world level and don't forget he knows if he can pull of a shock in Manchester doors will open up for him once again and he will get a crack at one of the Klitschko brothers.
It's fair to say he has probably had more chances when it comes to world titles, but this must surely be his last chance to prove to TV and the watching world, that he is worth another crack.
That makes him a very dangerous opponent. Whether he does change his style, whether he reverts to type or keeps with this new approach, this is a proper, proven heavyweight with everything to gain and nothing to lose.
It makes him a genuine threat and the perfect opponent for us to gauge how David Haye is going to measure up with the big boys. If he can stop Ruiz it would be tremendous, it really would. It would prove that we are talking about a heavyweight who really can go on and dominate the division.
But first and foremost, I want to see him show he can take shots, give shots and handle a guy that has been in with the best down the years. That means trading every now and then and that means showing us that David Haye the heavyweight is the same, exciting fighter he was as a cruiserweight.
It's the perfect fight for him to make a real statement.