By T.K. Stewart
There was a press conference in Manchester, England Tuesday to announce the April 3 heavyweight title bout between WBA titlist David Haye and former two-time belt holder Johnny Ruiz.
At most pre-fight press conferences, both fighters show up, go through the motions for the media and tell everyone why it is they will be victorious. Haye and Ruiz will meet at the Manchester Evening News Arena and today it was expected that both fighters would make their case and get the promotion for the fight off to a rousing start.
But Johnny Ruiz decided not to show up.
“We paid for his first class tickets over here, a great hotel and tried to accommodate him as best as possible,” Haye said at the press conference. “But he didn't get on the flight. I don't know what his reason is.”
When contacted at his hometown of Las Vegas this afternoon, Ruiz was vague as to the reason or reasons behind his absence.
“It was too far a trip to make,” said Ruiz to BoxingScene.com. “Right now, I’m focused on training. This fight is important to me, important to my career. All I can say is that I’m sorry for not being there and I apologize.”
Ruiz, who turned 38 earlier this month, is no stranger to heavyweight title fights, nor is he a stranger to fighting overseas. A 54 fight veteran, Ruiz has fought six times in England and four times in Germany. He has engaged in 10 world title fights over the past decade.
“I heard some of what David Haye said today,” claimed Ruiz who recently signed a contract with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions. “I’m glad he’s doing all the talking. That’s what he does. It’s doesn’t bother me. He just uses that to motivate himself because he knows that when he fights me he’s going to have his hands full. So, let him talk is what I say.”
Ruiz’ claim that he decided to skip the press conference because he needed to focus on training sounded like a hollow excuse. The bout is still 9 ½ weeks away and he last fought in November at a very trim and well-conditioned 227 pounds.
When asked if he had decided upon a plan of attack versus Haye, Ruiz (44-8-1, 30 KOs) said he had.
“The biggest strength I see in him is his movement. I want to slow him down, bring the fight to him and stay on top of him. I want to make him fight my fight.”
The odds for the bout have not yet been posted, but the 29-year-old Haye, a former cruiserweight world champion who has a record of 23-1, 21 KOs who will also be fighting in his home country, is expected to open as a heavy favorite.