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Holyfield-Ruiz Fight Canceled

June 1, 2000

LAS VEGAS (AP) _ Evander Holyfield’s June 10 fight with John Ruiz for the vacant WBA heavyweight title was called off Wednesday after Holyfield was injured in training.

Holyfield had been scheduled to fight Ruiz at Caesars Palace for the piece of the title taken from Lennox Lewis by a judge for not defending it against the top-ranked contender.

Marc Ratner, executive director of the Nevada Athletic Commission, said he was told Wednesday afternoon that Holyfield was injured while training in Houston and that the card was canceled.

A spokesman for promoter Don King said he believed Holyfield injured a rib, but that specifics would be discussed at a news conference Thursday in Las Vegas with King, Holyfield and Holyfield’s doctor.

Spokesman Greg Fritz said it was possible a new date could be announced for the fight at that time.

Caesars Palace spokeswoman Debbie Munch said the hotel had begun refunding tickets bought for the bout.

Holyfield’s manager, Jim Thomas, was not immediately available for comment.

But Norman Stone, the manager for Ruiz, said his fighter was bitterly disappointed about the postponement. Stone said several hundred Ruiz supporters had bought nonrefundable plane tickets to fly from the Boston area to Las Vegas for the fight.

``You can’t say he’s faking because he’s never pulled out of a fight before that I know of,″ Stone said of Holyfield.

Holyfield was to have tried for a fourth time as heavyweight champion in a bout that had attracted little interest because of the way the title was declared vacant.

Lewis holds the other two major portions of the title, and beat Holyfield last November when they met for the undisputed title.

But when he decided to defend against Michael Grant instead of the top-ranked Ruiz, a judge ruled that Lewis was contractually obligated to fight Ruiz or be stripped of the WBA version of the title.

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