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As I See It, by Jimmy Vaccaro

4 March 2003

Feb. 28, 2003

It has only happened 15 times in the history of boxing where the little guy steps up to fight the big guy.

The ones that stick out the most are bob foster fighting Ali and Billy Conn taking on the Brown Bomber and most recently Michael Spinks taking on Larry Holmes over 17 years ago.

Every one of these fights have taken their place in boxing history but I would like to bet that this is the first and only time that the little guy opened up the favorite. A substantial one at that, now peaking with Jones at 2-1.

When the fight was in the planning stage I was hoping for a better price but the oddsmaker did an excellent job on the send out for this fight.

It is apparent where my cash went on this fight but one must recognize and note a job well done.

The fight will be intriguing for a few reasons. First off Jones, who is as sound a fighter as we have ever seen, has to make some sort of statement. His drawing power has been less than dramatic because he seems to be so much better than his weight class opponents plus he is not the most personable guy when it comes to promoting fights. Ever since the James Toney fight his onsite attendance and buys on pay per view have been underachieving at best.

Ruiz, who migrated to Boston, developed a small following and gathered attention with his Holyfield fights and brawling tactics especially shown in the Kirk Johnson bout, has garnered enough attention to put him in against a Roy Jones.

In an ironic strange bedfellow twist they need each other to pull this off. Jones is being dramatic in stepping way up in a weight class and Ruiz needing a Roy Jones because the bulk of his purse depends on the pay per view buys.

I would enjoy booking this fight as there could be a case made for each side and I think that both fighters will draw a lot of attention as we get closer to fight time.

Jones backers such as me will find it hard to fathom that Ruiz will not have any answers to someone who is light years ahead in the real technique of the "sweet science".

The Ruiz bettors will have a lot of ammo also. 33 pounds heavier at the weigh-in, a seven-inch reach advantage and he should be able to take all that Jones can hit him with.

I attended the first Spinks-Holmes fight at the Riviera Hotel in 1985. That was the fight that saw Holmes trying to win his 49th straight to match Marciano's unbeaten streak. I was running the old MGM at the time and had the fight Holmes -425 and kept more than I should have on the favorite as I gave the underdog not much of a chance.

Although the fight was close I did not like my chances when the fight went to the judges' scorecard.

Spinks went in at 200 pounds and fought an excellent fight and deserved to win the bout.

Remember Billy Conn had Joe Louis beat until his "machismo" got in the way late in the fight and Bob Foster actually cut Ali but fought a bad fight when he did not think that Ali was as powerful as he actually was.

Back to Saturday …

Can Ruiz chase effectively all night long without Jones piling up points as he sticks and moves, and conversely can Jones take a good shot, which I am sure he will have to sooner or later?

This in itself makes for uncertainty, which is another reason why the fight should draw good two-way action.

With the fight being here in Vegas, I would like to attend but Saturdays run so long with the buckets I will have to play it by ear.

But I will bet if I do not attend.

Don't feel as strong as I did last week laying 4-1 on Tyson but it simply came down to this.

Michael Spinks was a tremendous boxer and like Roy Jones a very intelligent fighter who's only mistake - albeit the cash- was to fight Mike Tyson. Larry Holmes who is a hall of fame fighter had obvious problems with Michael Spinks and please do not ever put Holmes and Ruiz in the same sentence when it comes to heavyweights.

So the little guy who was deemed the favorite by the oddsmakers will make the linemakers right in this one.

Jones is a play for me and you can make up your own mind in this intriguing fight.

Take care, Jimmy V.

Comments are welcome. Write to vaccarosports@lvcm.com.

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