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We rarely touch on boxing here at Sports of Boston, but it wouldn’t be right if we didn’t comment on the retirement of John Ruiz, the pride of Chelsea, Mass. The 38-year-old Ruiz is calling it quits after an 18-year career, in which he finished with a record of 44-9-1 with 30 knockouts.
Nicknamed “The Quiet Man,” Ruiz became the first Latino Heavyweight Champion in boxing history when he defeated Evander Holyfield in a title rematch in 2001. In all, Ruiz defeated three World Champions during his career in Holyfield, Hasim Rahman, and Tony Tucker.
“I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished with two world titles, 12 championship fights, and being the first Latino heavyweight champion of the world,’’ Ruiz told the Globe. “I want to thank all of my fans for staying in my corner through a long, up-and-down ride.’’
He originally retired in 2005 after losing the WBA Title to James Toney, who later tested positive for performance enhancing drugs and was suspended for two years. As a result, Ruiz un-retired and retained his title. He later lost the title to Nikolai Valuev, in one of two losses to the 7-foot Russian.
In his last fight on April 4, Ruiz was challenged David Haye for the WBA Title. Ruiz was knocked down four times and the fight was stopped in the ninth round when his corner through in the towel. He was trying to become only the fourth heavyweight to win the World Title three times (Muhammad Ali, Lennox Lewis, and Evander Holyfield are the other three).
Ruiz plans on moving from Las Vegas home to Massachusetts to spend time with family and friends. He wants to open up a gym.