Saturday, August 30, 2008

Valuev-Ruiz II Prediction

By JE Grant

Nikolay Valuev, the hulking Russian heavyweight meets American John Ruiz in Berlin Saturday night in a bout that has had as little fan interest as any rematch for a heavyweight title perhaps ever.

It’s not as though Valuev, 48-1 (34 KOs), 318, or Ruiz, 43-7-1 (29 KOs), 239, are inferior fighters. Both have significant wins over highly ranked foes. Both are reliably durable heavyweights who can go the distance against strong opposition.

This matchup is troubling more for the fan unfriendly manner in which Ruiz, a stabber and grabber, approaches his craft. He’s willing to stink up the place by throwing a few combinations and then laying in on his opponent, fighting just enough to steal the round. 

(If you find this style satisfying just replay any fight that took place during the Beijing Olympics. International boxing officials reward slappers who get on their bikes after doing enough to capture a round).

This fight figures to be a repeat of the first. And there’s where the second half of the problem comes in. As Ruiz stabs and grabs, unfortunately, Valuev, despite his massive frame, does not punch hard enough to crack Ruiz’ shield. If he punched with the force of a David Tua (who knocked out Ruiz in one round) maybe he could end the crowd’s misery. 

Don’t count on it.

Valuev will push out a fairly effective jab with an occasional right that will keep Ruiz at bay most of the time. Ruiz with rush under a few of those long jabs and land a shot or two followed by a clinch. Over and over and over this cycle will repeat.  Valuez will land the most effective punches and at a higher volume. It won’t be enough to end the fight in one fell swoop but the judges will see it for the Russian giant.

Valuev by 12-round decision.

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