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Page last updated at 14:47 GMT, Friday, 2 April 2010 15:47 UK

David Haye says beating John Ruiz would 'start legacy'

DAVID HAYE V JOHN RUIZ
Venue: MEN Arena, Manchester Date: Saturday 3 April Start: Approx. 2200 BST Coverage: Sky Sports Box Office, full fight commentary on BBC Radio 5 live, text commentary on BBC Sport website

'Faster and sharper' Haye ready for Ruiz

By Ben Dirs
BBC Sport in Manchester

David Haye says victory over John Ruiz in Manchester on Saturday will be the first step in "creating a legacy" as one of the great heavyweights.

Haye's first defence since beating Nikolay Valuev to win the WBA title in November takes place at the MEN Arena.

Haye weighed in at 222lb (15st 12lbs), a career-heaviest by five pounds, while Ruiz came in at 231lb (16st 7lbs).

"My ambition is to go down in history as a great boxer, to do that you've got to have great performances," said Haye.

"The whole thing now is about creating a legacy, doing what Lennox Lewis did, going out there and beating the best possible guys before getting out on top. That's my plan," the Londoner added.

"There's a few guys out there holding belts I want and I want to take their titles off of them and be remembered as a great heavyweight."

BEN DIRS' BLOG

Haye, who has lost once in 24 fights, claimed a portion of the heavyweight crown with a points win over Russia's Valuev in Nuremberg last November.

But the former undisputed cruiserweight king, who weighed four points lighter for the Valuev bout, said becoming champion had not dulled his focus and that he was more determined than ever.

"I've got that extra swagger from becoming the heavyweight champion, having that belt around my waist," he said.

"But every time I go to the gym I go in as champion and I want to prove myself and do things better than I did before.

"Adam [Booth, his trainer] is very happy with the volume of punches, the quality of punches, everything seems to have clicked nicely."

The 38-year-old Ruiz is bidding to join Muhammad Ali, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis and Vitali Klitschko as a three-time world heavyweight champion.

"To be included alongside names like Ali and Holyfield would be a dream come true," American Ruiz said.

"I'll give it everything I can, let's see how the chips fall."

HAYE v RUIZ: TALE OF THE TAPE
David Haye (left) and John Ruiz
6ft 3ins --- HEIGHT ---6ft 2ins
15st 12lbs - WEIGHT 16st 7lbs
81ins ----- REACH ----- 78ins
19ins ----- NECK ------ 18ins
44ins ----- CHEST ----- 44ins
17ins ----- BICEPS ---- 15.5 ins
11ins ----- FIST ------ 12ins
34ins ----- WAIST ---- 35ins
23 (21 KOs) WINS - 44 (30 KOs)
1 (1 KO) --- LOSSES -- 8 (1 KO)
0 ------ DRAWS ------ 1

Ruiz says he has refined his usual smothering style in the build-up to the fight and will use his boxing skills more against Haye.

"You are definitely going to see something more of the old-style Ruiz where I used to box and punch, not like recently when I was leaning in too much and came into the hold situation," Ruiz said.

However, Haye doubts Ruiz will change too much and expects "a hard, gruelling night".

"John Ruiz is a come-forward fighter, he's not going to stand off and try to box me, he'd be nuts to do that," said Haye.

"I'm expecting him to get in close, rough me up, try to get me in a dogfight because he feels he's been there before and I haven't.

"I'm expecting he'll try to walk through my punches, but it's one thing in theory to do that - when I'm blasting away at his head, he'll have a rude awakening."

And Haye has promised this will make for an explosive evening. "I'm going to do something dramatic and people will be shocked," he said.

Haye has only fought as a heavyweight on three previous occasions but is confident he has the necessary experience to deal with Ruiz, who is a two-time heavyweight world champion.

"I was the unified cruiserweight world champion, I'm now a heavyweight world champion," added Haye, who has lost just one of his 24 pro fights.

"I'm confident the experience I've got, even if it is half the experience he's got, is good enough to negate his tactics and game plan.

606: DEBATE
Pedro147

"It's often my opponent's plan to take me into the later rounds but the amount of damage that has accumulated on them means they don't hear the final bell."

About his right hand, which he broke in the victory over Valuev, Haye said: "By the time he's realised I'm using the right hand he'll be unconscious.

"I'm punching harder than ever and this fight will be an indication of that."

Ruiz, who lost on points to Valuev in 2005 and 2008, believes Haye was fortunate to sway the judges when he won the title in Germany.

"I was surprised he got a decision out there [Germany]," he told BBC Sport.

"I tried three times to get a decision out in Germany but luck was with him, and I bless him and congratulate him, and this time he knows that he will have a fight on his hands come Saturday.

"He did what he needed to do. He got the win and, if I knew that was the kind of style you needed to use, I would have done the same kind of style."

Ruiz, with 44 wins (30 KOs), eight losses and one draw in a 54-fight career, claims his opponent is a relative unknown amongst the American boxing public.

"He is still in the beginning stages," said Ruiz, who last fought in November, beating Adnan Serin inside seven rounds.

"His name is spreading around but he still has to face someone who has been in the heavyweight division and that is me.

"When people ask me who I'm fighting and I tell them they still don't know who he is. But sometimes I like to be not known and maybe he feels the same way."



see also
Haye v Ruiz photos
02 Apr 10 |  Boxing
Haye wary over awkward Ruiz style
18 Mar 10 |  Boxing
Haye to face Ruiz in Manchester
26 Jan 10 |  Boxing
Haye plots dual London showdowns
09 Nov 09 |  Boxing
British fans inspired win - Haye
08 Nov 09 |  Boxing
Ten to Tackle - Haye special
10 Nov 09 |  Fun and Games
The making of Haye
09 Nov 09 |  Boxing
Haye & Klitschko target showdown
08 Nov 09 |  Boxing
Haye shocks Valuev to take title
07 Nov 09 |  Boxing
Haye v Valuev photos
08 Nov 09 |  Boxing


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