By Jake Donovan
With 33 of his 39 career wins coming by way of knockout, Hugo Ruiz is confident of boasting at least a puncher’s chance every time he steps into the ring.
That very mindset will apply to the biggest challenge of the year, as he moves up to the 130-pound division to face unbeaten titlist Gervonta Davis this weekend.
“I’m very hungry for this fight,” Ruiz (39-4, 33KOs) insists in his first fight at the weight after having just moved up to featherweight for his last start less than a month ago.
The 32-year old from Los Mochis, Mexico enters Saturday’s Showtime-televised main event—live from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on the heels of a 10-round decision win in over late replacement Alberto Guevara on January 19 in Las Vegas.
Ruiz took the bout as means to keep alive his scheduled fight date, as original opponent Jhack Tepora showed up more than five pounds heavy for their intended interim featherweight title fight. Having originally trained for the Filipino southpaw, Ruiz instead settled for a distance win over Guevara and moving onto the next opportunity.
A phone call just over a week later proved his decision wise to immediately return to the gym, as he was able to resume his preparation for a southpaw opponent in Davis, who is also renowned for explosive knockout finishes.
Most view Ruiz as a heavy underdog heading into the bout, not just for accepting the late assignment but also given the natural weight disparity as he’s not too far removed from his days as a super bantamweight. Having maintained the replenished weight he added from his January bout, the former titlist remains confident his power will follow him up the scale.
“I will be focused on knocking out (Davis) from the opening bell,” promises Ruiz, whose lone title win came in a 1st round stoppage (albeit aided by an ankle injury) of countryman Julio Ceja in their Feb. ’16 rematch. “It is how I’ve fought my entire career and am not going to change my style for this fight.
“I’m looking forward to once again becoming a world champion. I feel very strong at this weight and have no doubt that I will win the 130-pound championship this Saturday.”