Parker beats Ruiz by decision for WBO heavyweight title
December 10, 2016
By CJ Russell
Joseph Parker is your new WBO heavyweight champion, the first ever from New Zealand.
The scores were 114-114 and 115-113 twice for Parker, which were representative of what happened. Ruiz won two or three of the first three rounds, and probably the 11th and 12th. He didn’t do a lot in the middle rounds, where Parker was able to keep him out of striking distance with his longer range.
Neither fighter dominated the other at any point in the fight, and neither ever appeared to hurt the other. The two were rarely willing to let their hands go. Ruiz was actually pretty successful when he was working hard to get inside because of his superior hand speed, but he didn’t do a lot of that in the middle rounds and that’s why he lost.
Ruiz can actually move well, but the fact that he had such a big reach disadvantage made him have to use a lot of energy to get inside on Parker. Through the middle rounds it didn’t appear that he had the stamina to do so. I think it would be kind of interesting to see what kind of success Ruiz would have if got in better shape, though he might not even be a heavyweight if he dropped all those extra pounds.
Parker used his jab and longer reach to control much of the fight. He had a hard time dealing with Ruiz’s hand speed at first, but he adjusted after the first couple rounds. I don’t know if he ever took a risk at any point, but I guess he didn’t have to. Parker is supposed to have good power, but Ruiz never felt it.
Overall it was a fairly lackluster fight. Both fighters showed ok boxing skills, but their unwillingness to take risks didn’t inspire much confidence that they would be able to compete against the top fighters in the division.