Phony heavyweight title fight Saturday in Vegas

They're calling it a world heavyweight championship fight but it isn't!

When Evander Holyfield and John Ruiz fight for the WBA version of the title Saturday night in Las Vegas one of them will claim to be the "new" heavyweight champion, but we all know Lennox Lewis holds that honor. And until Lewis is beaten in the ring for the crown, he is the undisputed champion of the world ... Period!

Remember when Holyfield and Lewis fought twice, both times were for the unified title - which means they fought for the IBF, WBC and WBA titles. When Lewis won the second fight after the screwy draw call in the first fight, he left the ring the undisputed champ and wearing all three title belts.

Then the fun started. The WBA said if Lewis didn't make his first defense against Ruiz, the WBA's No. 1 ranked contender, they would strip Lewis of the title he had just won. What a bunch of crap!

Lewis instead chose to make his first defense against the IBF No. 1 contender Michael Grant, which was a more legitimate fight than the Ruiz one would have been, and the WBA stripped the title from Lewis so that's how it became vacant.

I want to note that had Lewis defended against Ruiz instead of Grant, the IBF and maybe even the WBC, would have stripped Lewis of their title so Lewis was in a no-win situation.

By the way, promoter Don "Only in America" King promotes both Holyfield and Ruiz and if you know the inside of the business of boxing, you know this was bound to happen and you also know that King would come out smelling like a rose when all is said and done.

-- As for the fight itself, it really is an elimination fight for both fighters but not to chose the next contender against Lewis but to eliminate the loser. If Ruiz loses he's history; and if Holyfield loses, his career as a top flight fighter is over.

I'm not so sure that even if Holyfield wins he has much of a career left. I doubt he'll fight Lewis for the title(s) again because both their previous fights were boring non-action fights. The public won't pay to see them go at it for a third time so his career is winding down, and at age 37, Holyfield might have one more big payday left but I doubt it.

The fight will be aired by Showtime Saturday at 10 p.m. The odds vary greatly. Right here in Carson City, I've seen Holyfield listed as high as a 9-2 favorite and as low as a 3-1 favorite so, depending on who you like, shop around and get the best price possible on your guy. I've seen 8 rounds as the over/under at the few sports books that post a rounds line.

My guy is Holyfield for this fight. He'll take out Ruiz and take him out early. Official prediction is Holyfield and the under ... See you at the cashier's window!

-- BITE ME - Sticking with heavyweights, former champ Mike Tyson is close to signing to fight Andrew Golota in November, after Tyson disposes of former cruiserweight bum David Izon in September in another non-competitive Tyson fight.

Both Tyson and Golota have bitten past opponents in fights - Tyson bit Holyfield's ear as we all know and Golota bit the shoulder of an opponent (I can't remember who) in a USA TV fight. Both also foul a lot in fights and between the two of them they've committed every foul possible in boxing.

This should be a foul-filled fight if they "get it on" as planned. They're talking of the fight taking place in Hong Kong. Good, just so long as it's not in Nevada, or even this country. Both fighters are a joke and it's a coin-flip as to which is the bigger one.

-- The Peppermill in Reno has a rare Sunday morning professional fight card that starts at 11 a.m.

The main event has Jorge Lacierva defending his minor IBA bantamweight title against David Vasquez. Also scheduled to fight on the six-bout card is Yerington's Jesse Brinkley.

Tickets for the card start at $25 for general admission. The main event and several prelim bouts will be televised live on Univision worldwide so you can watch the action at home if you can't make it to the card.

-- There was an interesting first weekend of fights for August, and it began with the Friday night fights on ESPN2.

The main event, from the Hard Rock Cafe and Casino in Las Vegas had Hasim Rahman taking on veteran Frankie Swindell in a scheduled 10-round heavyweight fight.

Rahman (33-2, 27 KOs) won every round over Swindell (37-20-3, 19 KOs) until Frankie refused to answer the bell for round 8 and that was that! Also, Roberto Duran's daughter, Irichelle, lost her pro debut by decision to Geraldine Iglesia on the undercard.

The main event this week on ESPN2 has Vivian Harris (16-1, 13 KOs) fighting Ivan Robinson (29-4, 11 KOs) on a card that begins at 6 p.m.

-- Saturday's action began on HBO and had Eric Morel (27-0, 16 KOs) defending his flyweight (112-pound limit) title against Sompichal Kratingdeangym (19-1, 16 KOs) who is from Thailand. Morel dominated and won an easy 12-round decision to keep the title as he gave the Thai fighter a lesson in boxing.

HBO also showed the Bones Adams fight against Andres Fernandez that was a give-and-take type of fight. Bones gave a little more, however, and stopped Fernandez in round six to get the win.

-- On Showtime Saturday night Sacramento's Juan Lazcano got a gift decision win over Jesse James Leija in their 10-round lightweight (135-limit) fight. Leija (40-5-2, 16 KOs) clearly won the fight but the judges gave Lazcano (24-2-1, 17 KOs) the decision.

The main event on that telecast saw Zab Judah get knocked down in the first round of his fight against Terronn Millett before Judah (24-0, 17 KOs) took Millett (22-2-1, 17 KOs) out in round four. Millett went down three times in the fight.

-- Sunday on Fox a big upset took place when Cliff Couser (20-6-2, 8 KOs) knocked Jorge Luis Gonzalez (31-6, 27 KOs) out at the 2:50 mark of round three of their heavyweight fight. Gonzalez was down four times in the abbreviated fight. Fox will rebroadcast the card this Saturday at 8 p.m.

Also on the telecast, two undefeated fighters met when Mark Suarez (17-0,6 KOs) fought Alex Trujillo (17-0, 14 KOs) for the NABF junior welterweight (140-limit) title. Trujillo won by decision to capture the crown.

Incidentally, Suarez was 8-0 when he fought and beat Carson City pro Miguel Angel Ruiz in April of 1999. That snapped the 13-fight win streak Ruiz was riding at the time.

Alan Rogers is the Nevada Appeal boxing writer.


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