Leo Ruiz: ‘it’s time for me to step up’ against Raul Garcia tonight in Florida
Leo Ruiz has had August 23 circled on his calendar for the last couple of weeks.
That date will be his coming-out party. Not only will boxing fans get to know him, but Ruiz will try to send a message to the junior middleweight division.
Ruiz will face Raul Garcia in a 10-round bout Wednesday night at the Whitesands (also known as the ProBox TV) Events Center in Plant City, Florida (ProBox TV, 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT).
The bout between Ruiz and Garcia is a compelling clash of unbeaten junior middleweight prospects.
The 24-year-old Ruiz (12-0, 8 knockouts), who is originally from Zacatecas, Mexico and now resides in San Bernardino, California, last fought on April 15, knocking out Esau Herrera de la Cruz in the fifth round. In his previous fight on January 28, Ruiz defeated gatekeeper Cameron Krael by unanimous decision.
Ruiz received the call to face Garcia a few weeks ago. Ruiz is confident he can make the most of this opportunity.
“I was scheduled to fight this past Saturday (in his hometown of San Bernardino),” Ruiz told The Ring Sunday night. “I took this fight when it was presented to me. I was already in the gym training. I wasn’t working on anything in particular.
“It’s time for me to step up and I know I have a tough guy in front of me. This is the opportunity that can open doors for me. I want to make a name for myself in the sport and a win would do that on Wednesday.”
One advantage Ruiz has is that he is trained at the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy in nearby Riverside. Ruiz has sparred with the likes of former world unified junior welterweight titleholder Jose Ramirez and unbeaten junior welterweight Lindolfo Delgado.
Ruiz has sparred fighters with different styles, including former world middleweight title challenger Esquiva Falcao.
Having trainer Robert Garcia in his corner has been a positive, as Ruiz digests anything and everything Garcia instructs, especially improving his skill-set. Ruiz has seen the improvements in the gym and believes he can still become a better overall fighter.
“I’m always in the gym and I spar against different fighters,” said Ruiz. “I spar different styles. It has definitely helped out a lot.
“Robert finds the right words to motivate you and his instructions are straight-forward. He pushes you to work harder. He has helped me a lot and I’ve definitely improved as a fighter.”
A win would put Ruiz in a position to be one of the top prospects at 154 pounds. Garcia (13-0-1, 11 KOs), who resides in the Dominican Republic, stopped Angel Yomar Mateo Arias in his last bout on June 25. Garcia fought on a ShoBox card on April 7, fighting to a split-decision draw against Robert Terry.
Ruiz is confident he has the tools to make a statement at the expense of Garcia.
“A win would mean a lot to me. I’ve been under the radar for a while and it’s time for me to put my name out there.
“I haven’t had that much television time. I had one fight on ESPN (September 2020). I want people to see what I’m all about and what I’m capable of. I want people to see the real Leo Ruiz.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]