On Saturday night in Phoenix, AZ, Andy Ruiz (23-0, 17 KOs) squared off against former heavyweight titlist, Siarhei Liakhovich (26-7, 16 KOs) at the Celebrity Theatre.
In what was supposed to be an easy victory for Ruiz, the bout became an uninspiring snoozer down the stretch.
The scores were 99-91, 98-92, and 96-94 all in favor of Andy Ruiz by unanimous decision. Tha Boxing Voice had it 96-94 for Liakhovich.
Entering the ring at a colossal 267 ¾ pounds, Ruiz fought thinking KO right off the bat, but felt the effects of being in poor physical condition by the fifth round. The unbeaten heavyweight nearly knocked out Liakhovich in the opening frames.
From that point forward, the fight became a fiesta of flailing arms, lazy jabs, and punches that barely landed, let alone may not even be considered a punch to begin with. Liakhovich took control, sort of, in the fifth round and proceeded to win the rest of the rounds.
It became evident that Ruiz was gassed by the fifth round, as his punches were no where close to the explosiveness that was displayed in the opening rounds.
This fight was supposed to be a transition for Ruiz from prospect to contender. Did he have a solid enough performance? From my perspective, if Ruiz wants to fight against a Klitschko or a Deontay Wilder, for example, he will have to take training more seriously this time around and lose the excess beef, albeit I believe Ruiz has the talent to make it far in the sport, but the choice is his. But, if he cannot beat a faded titlist like Liakhovich decisively, eyebrows have to be raised about whether he really wants to put in the extra effort to win a world championship.
Also on the fight card for Iron Boy 18, Oscar Valdez scored his sixth win of 2014 after beating Jean Sotelo into submission on Saturday night. After taking a beating, Valdez forced Sotelo to call it quits on his stool after the fourth round. Valdez’s future looks bright and if 2014 was a breakout year for the Nogales, Mexico star, 2015 will be a superior year.
In a lightweight bout, knockout artist Daniel Echeverria had to box his way around Noe Lopez Jr. Echeverria fought an intelligent, technical bout, albeit Lopez surprised him with a series of counter punches in a couple of the rounds, but was never able to build off the momentum, as Echeverria grinned and smiled throughout the bout. Echeverria improved to 15-0 with 13 knockouts.
Undefeated Top Rank prospect and Phoenix fan favorite Trevor McCumby went toe-to-toe with Milton Nunez. McCumby was cautious in the first couple of rounds, testing the waters with the experienced Nunez. Nunez tagged McCumby with counter punches, notably the counter uppercut effectively in the first couple of rounds. However, McCumby began to get hot in the third round, nailing Nunez with powerful body shots that could be heard from across the street of the Celebrity Theatre. After a pair of knockdowns, eventually Nunez had taken too much punishment and retired on his stool at the conclusion of the sixth round.
McCumby said after the bout that his shots to the head did not seem to phase Nunez in the first couple rounds, so he had to make an adjustment and see how his body could hold up. The adjustment paid off. McCumby improved to 18-0 with 14 knockouts.