The most interested spectator Saturday in Versicherung Arena for the WBA heavyweight title fight between defending Nikolai “The Russian Giant” Valuev and challenger David “The Haymaker” Haye will be former 2-time WBA title-holder John “The Quietman” Ruiz. Ruiz (43-8-1, 29 KOs), the WBA top contender, agreed with the promoters for Valuev and Haye to “step aside” as the WBA “Official Challenger.” By defeating ex-IBU champion Adnan “Aachen Assassin” Serin (19-10-1, 7 KOs) in Saturday’s 10-round co-feature on the “David vs. Goliath” Pay-Per-View event, he is guaranteed a title bout against the Valuev-Haye winner by the end of May, 2010.
Ruiz doesn’t necessarily care who wins the title fight between Valuev (50-1, 34 KOs), who “The Quietman” has dropped two close decisions to in Germany, and London-based Haye (22-1, 21 KOs). He will be watching Valuev-Haye closely, though, after his scheduled PPV-opening bout against Serin.
“I’m 0-3 in Germany and 6-0 fighting in England,” Ruiz joked, “so I guess I’d rather fight Haye. “I’m really looking forward to this fight. I know no fight is easy and that I have to get past this one to get the winner of Valuev-Haye. I know there’s another world title fight in the horizon for me, but I have to win this fight to get the next one.
“I’m very happy that my fight is going to be on pay per view in North America. My fans and media there haven’t been able to watch my last few fights because they weren’t televised there. They think I still fight the same way (clutch-and-grab), but I’m much more aggressive, and now they’ll be able to see how much I’ve improved. I’ve been working hard the past three months with my new head trainer, Miguel Diaz, and assistant (former WBA bantamweight) Richie Sandoval. Somewhere along the line, I got away from the basics, and we’ve been working in that area. I had been leaning in and landing too close to my opponent, which resulted in a lot of clutching and grabbing. We’ve improved my style; I’m more aggressive now, moving more and getting hit less.”
Additional undercard bouts and highlights will also air on PPV. Two other former world champions are on the card, heavyweight Sergei Liakhovich (23-3, 14 KOs) and cruiserweight Kelvin “Concrete” Davis (24-10-3, 17 KOs) vs. Jeremy “The Best” Bates (22-16-1, 18 KOs) and unbeaten IBF No. 10 rated Alexander Frankel, respectively. Undefeated WBC & WBA No. 3 rated cruiserweight Francisco “The Wizard” Palacios (18-0, 11 KOs) is also on the undercard versus DeLeon Tingsley (9-4-1, 5 KOs).
Valuev-Haye is promoted by Wilfried Sauerland’s Sauerland Event and its Managing Director, Christian Meyer, in association with Don King Productions. The “David vs. Goliath” show is being distributed in the United States and Canada by Integrated Sports for live viewing at 3 PM/ET – 12 PM/PT on both cable and satellite pay-per-view via iN Demand, DIRECTV, TVN, DISH Network, Viewer’s Choice, Shaw PPV and Bell TV for a suggested retail price of $24.95. A replay will be shown that same night at 9 PM/ET, 6 PM/PT.