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22 years ago

John Ruiz vs Evander Holyfield III

John Ruiz vs Evander Holyfield 3

Date: 15th December 2001

Venue: Foxwoods Resort, Mashantucket, Connecticut

Title: WBA World Heavyweight Title

Promoter: Don King Productions


John Ruiz
( 37 - 4 - 0 )
Weight: 232 lbs

Evander Holyfield
( 37 - 5 - 1 )
Weight: 219 lbs

The third meeting between John Ruiz and Evander Holyfield, staged on December 15, 2001, at Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut, ended in a split decision draw, allowing Ruiz to retain the World Boxing Association (WBA) Heavyweight Title. The judges scored the bout 114-114, 112-116 in favor of Holyfield, and 115-113 for Ruiz, reflecting the match's highly competitive and contentious nature.

This bout was initially scheduled in Beijing, China, on August 4 but was postponed after Ruiz suffered a neck injury during training. The fight's anticipation built upon their previous encounters, with Holyfield winning their first match through a controversial decision and Ruiz claiming victory in the second meeting by unanimous decision, marking his ascension as the first Latino heavyweight champion.

The fight, aptly named "The Final Chapter," was expected to conclude their rivalry. Holyfield, at 39, aimed to demonstrate that he still possessed the skill and determination that made him a four-time heavyweight champion. On the other hand, Ruiz sought to cement his status as the legitimate champion by defending his title against the legendary Holyfield.

The bout was characterised by its physicality and strategic boxing, with neither fighter able to secure a knockdown. Holyfield appeared to control much of the action, particularly in the middle and later rounds, landing cleaner and more effective punches. He also broke Ruiz's nose in the opening round, adding to the intensity of the fight. Despite these efforts, the judges' scores reflected a closely matched contest, leading to a split decision draw.

The outcome sparked debate among fans and analysts, with some believing Holyfield had done enough to earn the victory. Nonetheless, Ruiz retained his title, and the fight's conclusion left questions unanswered, fuelling speculation about a potential fourth meeting that never materialised.

Ruiz planned to make a mandatory defence against Kirk Johnson, while Holyfield continued to pursue historic achievements within the heavyweight division. 

Despite the draw, both fighters maintained their status as top contenders in the heavyweight category, with Ruiz staying in the picture for significant bouts and Holyfield not ruling out future opportunities to add to his legendary career.

John Ruiz vs Evander Holyfield 3 on YouTube

John Ruiz vs Evander Holyfield 3

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