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23 years ago

Evander Holyfield vs John Ruiz

Evander Holyfield vs John Ruiz

Date: 12th August 2000

Venue: Paris Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada

Title: vacant WBA World Heavyweight Title

Promoter: Don King Productions

Tv: Showtime

Evander Holyfield
( 36 - 4 - 1 )
Weight: 221 lbs

John Ruiz
( 36 - 3 - 0 )
Weight: 224 lbs

The first meeting between Evander Holyfield and John Ruiz, billed as "Justice," marked a significant chapter in boxing history. On August 12, 2000, at Paris Las Vegas in Nevada, Holyfield achieved a feat unparalleled even by Muhammad Ali, winning the heavyweight championship for the fourth time, but not without controversy.

Holyfield was awarded a unanimous decision victory over Ruiz, with the judges scoring the fight 114-113, 114-113, and 116-112 in his favour. This victory allowed Holyfield to claim the vacant World Boxing Association (WBA) Heavyweight Title, a crown previously held by Lennox Lewis before being stripped due to a contractual dispute.

Ruiz, a 4-1 underdog from Chelsea, Massachusetts, entered the fight as the WBA's number one contender, aiming to become the first Latino heavyweight champion. Despite his status as an underdog, Ruiz was aggressive throughout the match, effectively utilising his jab and maintaining composure even when pressured by Holyfield. The contentious fight came in the 10th round when Holyfield knocked down Ruiz, a move that Ruiz contested, claiming he was hit while in a compromised position against the ropes.

Some, including Ruiz himself, sceptically viewed the decision, feeling that he had controlled the fight and deserved the victory. Boxing fans and analysts disputed the result, with some ringside observers and Showtime commentators describing the judges' decision as questionable.

Holyfield, at 37, demonstrated his enduring skill and resilience in the ring, even as some debated the legitimacy of his victory. He expressed willingness to grant Ruiz a rematch, acknowledging the contentious nature of their fight. Despite the loss, Ruiz proved his grit and determination, dispelling doubts about his defeat to David Tua in 1996 by showing significant improvement and competitiveness against one of the division's best.

This bout set the stage for encounters between Holyfield and Ruiz. Due to Holyfield's controversial victory, an immediate rematch was ordered for early 2001.

Evander Holyfield vs John Ruiz on YouTube

Evander Holyfield vs John Ruiz

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