Promoter Don King claims he has a valid contract to promote heavyweight boxer John Ruiz, and Ruiz’s claims that he is a promotional free agent are false. “John Ruiz is my fighter,” King said. “I have a valid promotional agreement that designates me as his promoter. I do not understand why he and his manager are representing that he is a free agent when that is clearly not the case.” Ruiz (44-8-1, 30 KOs) is a two time World Boxing Association heavyweight champion and is currently the WBA No. 1-ranked contender and mandatory challenger to new champion David Haye.
King has represented Ruiz since 1998. From 1998 through 2007, Ruiz fought 15 consecutive matches under the WBA banner, becoming a two-time WBA heavyweight champion. He has fought in a total of 11 WBA heavyweight championship matches under King’s representation.
King said he felt the winds of change blowing when Ruiz’s longtime manager Norman “Stoney” Stone, who had managed Ruiz since he was a Boston-area amateur, was ousted in 2005 by the lawyer Stone had brought in to represent Ruiz, Tony Cardinale.
“When they double-crossed Stoney, I knew something had gone wrong, and it wouldn’t be long until I’d be standing in Stoney’s shoes,” King said of the Ruiz camp.
Contacted to comment, Stone was not bashful in his assessment. “I brought Tony into the Ruiz camp and look what they did to me,” Stone said. “It comes as no surprise what Tony is trying to do to Don now.
“Don stands right next to me as the two people who did the most to further the career of John Ruiz. Without Don King there is no John Ruiz becoming heavyweight champion of the world.”
On November 17, Team Ruiz issued a statement that Ruiz is a promotional free agent for the first time this century as he looks ahead to his 12th world title fight, mandated by the WBA, next year against new champion David “Hayemaker” Haye.
“It feels great to be free,” Ruiz said, “especially with another world title shot coming next year. I’m looking for a promoter who will stand behind me and have full confidence in me.”