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Arum wants Parker vs. Ruiz in January

Joseph Parker

By Scott Gilfoid: Top Rank promoter Bob Arum expects his fighter Andy Ruiz Jr. (29-0, 19 KOs) to be facing unbeaten Joseph Parker (21-0, 18 KOs) in January rather than December for the vacant World Boxing Organization heavyweight title. The WBO will need to strip current champion Tyson Fury of his title first, but this could be a mere formality at this point.

Arum is in negotiations with Parker’s promoter Dean Lonergan, and says they still have a distance to go in the money for the fight. However, Arum is confident the fight is going to take place. He wants it to take place in January rather than December, because Ruiz Jr. is trained by Abel Sanchez, the same trainer for unbeaten IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin.

There’s no way that Sanchez will be free to train Ruiz Jr. during December, because Golovkin has a fight on December 10th of that month against Daniel Jacobs.

It’s going to be a tough fight for the 27-year-old Ruiz Jr., because he’s not exactly the most mobile heavyweight in the world. Parker likes to move around the ring a little when he faces punchers. He’s not going to be a stationary fighter for the 250+ pound Ruiz Jr. on the night. Unless Ruiz Jr. can cut off the ring on Parker to trap him into a war, he could wind up getting picked apart all night long.

“It’s going to take place,” said Arum to Radiolive. “I’ve talked to Dean Lonergan, we’re a little apart on the money, but we’re going to close that gap and make a deal I’m sure. The WBO, everybody’s agreed, will assign completely neutral officials. Andy is quite happy with fighting in New Zealand, that’s not a problem. Little bit of a problem with the date. Dean wanted to do it in December. If Andy is going to be trained by Abel Sanchez, who trains the middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, “GGG,” December’s no good because Golovkin will be fighting on December 10, so we’d have to move the fight to January.”

Sanchez is a good trainer. I think he would have made the difference in last Saturday’s fight between Kiryl Relikh and WBA light welterweight champion Ricky Burns if he was the one working Relikh’s corner rather than Ricky Hatton. Sanchez would have had Relikh cutting off the ring on Burns from the 3rd round and brawling with him rather than waiting until the 11th round to take the fight to him.

We saw how effective Relikh was when he finally went all out and attacked Burns in a Golovkin-esque manner. Sanchez could bring that out in Relikh to turn him into the 140lb division’s version of Golovkin. I’m not so sure what Sanchez can do for Ruiz Jr. though. I mean, he’s not a miracle worker.

If Sanchez can burn off some of the weight that Ruiz Jr. carries around with him, and if he can increase his foot speed, then he could give Parker a lot of problems. However, I’m not so sure that Sanchez can improve Ruiz enough to beat a talent like Parker.

“But, I’ll be back in the States on Sunday night and I’ll be in my office. First thing on Monday I’ll get it all sorted out, I’ll talk to Dean, we’ll put it to bed and hopefully we’ll have an announcement shortly,” said Arum.

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