By Keith Idec
Hugo Ruiz couldn’t have been more active entering his fight against Gervonta Davis on Saturday night.
Ruiz (39-4, 33 KOs) will challenge Davis for his super featherweight title just three weeks after winning a 10-round featherweight fight on the Manny Pacquiao-Adrien Broner undercard January 19 in Las Vegas. In all, the Mexican contender has fought three times since Davis last boxed.
Baltimore’s Davis (20-0, 19 KOs) will fight for the first time since he stopped Argentina’s Jesus Cuellar (28-3, 21 KOs) in the third round April 21 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Ruiz replaced an injured Abner Mares on 10 days’ notice, yet he feels the heavily favored Davis is at a disadvantage, not him.
“Yes, definitely, I think that rust might show,” Ruiz said on a recent conference call. “I’ve been very active. I fought in August, November and just a couple of weeks ago. You lose a lot of rhythm when you don’t fight for a while, so that might definitely be an advantage that I have going into this fight.”
The 32-year-old Ruiz returned to the gym just three days after defeating Mexico’s Alberto Guevara (27-4, 12 KOs) by unanimous decision in an unremarkable 10-rounder 2½ weeks ago at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Guevara agreed to fight Ruiz barely on 24 hours’ notice because the Philippines’ Jhack Tepora (22-0, 17 KOs) was 5½ pounds overweight for what was supposed to be his 12-round, 126-pound title fight against Ruiz.
“I usually take a maximum five days off a week after a fight,” Ruiz said. “But with this fight with Guevara, there was really not that much physical abuse from my part. I didn’t receive that many hard hits. So, I started training right away.
“My promoter, Sampson [Lewkowicz], told me, ‘Hey, stay active. There might be something coming up the pipe,’ ” Ruiz said. “And that’s what happened. So, I’m glad that I started that Tuesday after the fight.”
Had Ruiz’s victory over Guevara been more grueling for him, the Glendora, California, resident might not have been able to accept this unforeseen opportunity. Since his win against Guevara amounted to not much more than a sparring session, Ruiz didn’t hesitate to face the 24-year-old Davis.
“If the fight would’ve been more physically draining,” Ruiz said, “if it would’ve been a toe-to-toe battle where I would’ve received a lot of punches and stuff, then maybe I would’ve not taken this fight. But I continued my training leading up to the fight with Guevara, and I just continued it because again, I felt physically well after the fight. There were no major damages.”
Davis-Ruiz is the main event of a “Showtime Championship Boxing” tripleheader, which will begin at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on Saturday from Dignity Health Sports Park (formerly StubHub Center).
Sharif Bogere (32-1, 20 KOs), a Las Vegas resident raised in Uganda, and the Dominican Republic’s Javier Fortuna (33-2-1, 23 KOs, 2 NC) will meet in a 10-round lightweight fight to start the show. San Antonio’s Mario Barrios (22-0, 14 KOs) and Mexico’s Richard Zamora (19-2, 12 KOs) are set to square off in a 10-round junior welterweight battle following the Bogere-Fortuna fight.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.