By Mitch Abramson
After he lost to Martin Wright earlier this year, Mike Ruiz, a welterweight from Hempstead, L.I., fought three tune-ups in the Dominican Republic against opponents who had a combined record of 5-100-1. Well, after Ruiz lost to Wright again two months ago in a rematch, his handlers aren’t taking the easy route as they did before. Ruiz will face the undefeated prospect Glen Tapia on the undercard of Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito Dec. 3 at Madison Square Garden in a junior middleweight six-round bout.
Although Ruiz has to fight above his weight class against the hard-hitting Tapia, it was a no-brainer to take the fight.
“I jumped at it,” said Moises Roman, Ruiz’s trainer and advisor. “It’s a good opportunity for Mikey. I think he has a chance. I honestly do. Mikey is going to be the most seasoned guy that this guy has faced. Mikey had over 300 amateur fights. Mikey got the Golden Gloves. They’re pretty compatible.”
To prepare for Tapia, who hails from Passaic, N.J., Ruiz (15-6, seven knockouts) has been training with Steven Martinez, the undefeated junior middleweight from the Bronx, who once fought Tapia in the amateurs. Ruiz will also join the training camp of Delvin Rodriguez on Nov. 13 in the Catskills, which also includes the come-backing Curtis Stevens, who hasn't fought since January of last year. Rodriguez is facing Pawel Wolak also on the Dec. 3 card at Madison Square Garden in a rematch of their summer brawl.
Roman hopes to use the platform of the Garden to launch Ruiz’s career if he can somehow get by Tapia, who is 11-0 with five knockouts. Among the goals is to get Ruiz hooked up with a manager and a promoter that night.
“He can create his own fan base with a win,” Roman said. “To be the best you have to beat the best. That’s why we took the fight.”