Esta página no está disponible en español.


John Ruiz Has Mike Tyson On His Radar

By Gabrielle Paese

August 16, 2002
Copyright © 2002 PUERTO RICO HERALD. All Rights Reserved.

Boxing's heaviest irony: Why is a washed-up, worn-out Mike Tyson still worth more in the ring than all the other heavyweights combined?

Norman Stone, manager of WBA heavyweight champion John Ruiz has no idea, but he's less interested in contemplating why than he is in getting a piece of Tyson's pie.

Despite his most recent loss to Lennox Lewis, Tyson may still have plenty more dates in the ring.

According to Team Ruiz, Tyson's lawyers are a phone call away from crossing the T's and dotting the I's on a November fight versus Ruiz, who successfully defended his title against No. 1 ranked Kirk Johnson two weeks ago in Las Vegas.

"The fight negotiations are in their final, final stages," said Ruiz's lawyer, Tony Cardenale, during a press conference Wednesday in San Juan. "We're looking at a venue on the east coast, either in Boston or in New Jersey."

Cardenale said it's unlikely that the state of New Jersey would give Tyson a boxing license, and that's fine with the Ruiz camp, which would prefer to have the fight in Ruiz's hometown of Boston.

While the deal may be "final, final" in Cardenale's mind, there's still the Don King factor to consider.

King is Ruiz's promoter and was Tyson's as well -- until Tyson hit King with a $100 million lawsuit.

Still, Ruiz's lawyer is confident the details can be worked out and a Ruiz-Tyson fight can go on.

"Why do we want Mike Tyson?" said Ruiz's manager, Norman "Stoney" Stone in answer to reporters' questions Wednesday. "It's because of Johnny Cash and Eddie Money. It's my job to get Johnny the easiest fight for the most money. Now I'm not going to say anybody's easy, but [Lennox] Lewis held the whole fight against Tyson, he pushed him down. We're not gonna do that, we're just gonna knock him out."

According to Stone, Tyson and Lewis each made $37 million from that fight. Ruiz's lawyer said the WBA heavyweight champ stands to make between $10 and $12 million for a fight against Tyson.

"He wants to fight us," said Cardenale. "The only way Mike Tyson can get another fight with Lewis is if he has a belt. And he thinks he can beat Johnny to get that belt. But we believe we can beat Tyson."

Ruiz said his first goal was to get a match against Lewis and try to unify the heavyweight title.

"Lennox Lewis doesn't want to fight me," said Ruiz (38-4-1, 27 KO).

"He only offered us $2.5 million for a fight with him so I guess that tells you he really doesn't want the fight," said Stone. "There's no reason for Lewis and Tyson to make $37 million apiece and this kid [Ruiz] to make $1 or $2 million."

Cardenale said the possible fight venues include the Fleet Center in Boston or the Meadowlands either Nov. 9 or Dec. 7.

Regarding Johnson's appeal, both Stone and Cardenale said the WBA will probably can it. Ruiz was declared the fight's winner after Referee Joe Cortes disqualified Johnson for low blows.

"They [Johnson's camp] never protested before the fight when Joe Cortes was named as the referee and they had seven people in there. When he was picked they said he was a good ref and he'd do a good job," said Cardenale. "Now they're saying it's because he's of Puerto Rican descent and John is of Puerto Rican descent. Their appeal is blatant racism."

Cardenale said he hopes to have the deal with Tyson squared away before the week's end.

"Don [King] is with us," said Stone. "I just hope he settles his differences with Mike so he can fight us."

Stone said Ruiz's options are limited.

"Holyfield, who wants to see Holyfield vs. Ruiz again? The Klitschkos, well there's no money in them and even if there was they're going to take you to Germany where you're going to get robbed," said Stone, implying that the officiating would be biased.

Ruiz came to Puerto Rico last week to spend some time with his family until the end of the month.

"I would have loved to face [International Boxing Federation-World Boxing Council champion] Lennox Lewis, but he's avoiding me. I want to be undisputed champion. Hopefully, after the Tyson fight, Lewis will agree to fight me."

Ruiz said he's considering the possibility of preparing for a fight versus Tyson in Puerto Rico. Ruiz spent a month training in Salinas at the Olympic Training Center for his bout against Johnson.

"Don [King] is with us," said Stone. "I just hope he settles his differences with Mike so he can fight us."

Santos near fighting weight for WBO 154-pound title defense Saturday

After an unexpected detour to London just three days prior to the fight, Daniel Santos finally got an afternoon training session completed in Cardiff, Wales, en route to his Saturday night fight versus Mehrdud "Takaloo" Takaloobighashi (19-2, 15kos) at Cardiff's open air castle.

Santos spent Wednesday morning in London, and not exactly visiting the queen. The British Boxing Commission refused to clear Santos to fight on Saturday because he was lacking the obligatory MRI test, so Santos set off to London to have the test done.

"They didn't tell us he needed it or we would have done it in San Juan with all the other routine tests," said Alejandro de la Torre, Santos' trainer. "But we ran for an hour in London this morning and then went and had the test done. After that we drove back here. It's about a 2 1/2 hour drive. Then we had a training session from about 5 to 7:30 p.m."

De la Torre said Santos (25-2-1) would not have any trouble making weight for the fight.

"He had a good dinner tonight and we had him in the gym just so he could sweat a little bit and loosen up," said De la Torre. "He went eight rounds today."

De la Torre said he was cheered by the news that a Puerto Rican referee, Gino Rodriguez, had been selected for the fight.

"Takaloo is well known here and well liked because he beat undefeated Anthony Farnell in a first round knockout," said De la Torre in reference to the KO victory last July over another British boxer.

Takaloo, 26, has won his last 14 fights and recently defended his World Boxing Union title in April by beating English veteran Gary Logan in a 10-rounder.

De la Torre said any doubts regarding Miguel Jimenez's medical clearance to fight have been cleared up.

"He got the OK to fight so that's good news for us because Joe Calzaghe heads the card," said De la Torre of Calzaghe's rival, who lives in Los Angeles and is of Puerto Rican descent.

Calzaghe is the WBO super middleweight champion and a native of Cardiff, Wales. Although concerts have been held in this castle, it is the first time a boxing card will take place in the open-air venue, according to promoter Frank Warren.

This is Santos' first title defense since he won the belt by knocking out Mexico's Yory Boy Campas this past March.

While Takaloo is the WBO's No. 2 challenger, Santos still has pending a fight with No. 1 Wayne Alexander, who bowed out of his scheduled defense due to a hand injury.

After this fight versus Takaloo, Santos only has Alexander on his schedule to meet his contractual obligations with promoter Warren.

Gabrielle Paese is the Assistant Sports Editor at the San Juan Star. She is the 2000 recipient of the Overseas Press Club's Rafael Pont Flores Award for excellence in sports reporting. Comments or suggestions? Contact Gabrielle at

Her Column, Puerto Rico Sports Beat, appears weekly in the Puerto Rico Herald.

Self-Determination Legislation | Puerto Rico Herald Home
Newsstand | Puerto Rico | U.S. Government | Archives
Search | Mailing List | Contact Us | Feedback