A BIG player during the exciting 1990s when the heavyweight division was enjoying one of its finest eras, Canada’s Donovan “Razor” Ruddock fought huge names yet never challenged for the world title.
Today, however, Ruddock, quite amazingly, is set to return to the ring with the hopes of putting this right. Now aged 51 yet looking years younger – the result, “Razor” says, of a strict vegan diet and of exercising every day – the big-hitting former contender is certain he can make it all the way back.
It remains to be seen if Ruddock’s youthful appearance can be matched by sharp reflexes and the ability to take a good punch, but the man with the 38-5-1(29) record is refusing to listen to any negativity aimed at his comeback.
Here Ruddock, who speaks as clearly today as he did during his ’90’s heyday, outlines his plans:
Q: So, will it be Raymond Olubowale on March 28th in Canada, as we read? Is the fight signed?
Razor Ruddock: “Yes that’s correct. Yes, it’s signed.”
Q: How much do you know about the 10-6-1(7) Olubowale?
R.R: “He’s a big guy. I’ve seen one of his fights on YouTube. I’m not worried about anything.”
Q: It’s an amazing comeback you are launching, at age 51. When did you first decide to return to the ring?
R.R: “Like I’ve told all the reporters, I don’t just want to fade away. I don’t just want to be like everybody else. This is why I’m doing it. I want to do wonderful things, not just wait to die (laughs). And I’m doing it to make history. Why would I do it for anything else?”
Q: You certainly look to be in great shape from the YouTube videos I’ve seen. In fact, you don’t really look a day older than back in the 1990s, when you were fighting Mike Tyson.
R.R: “Yeah, I look younger, right (laughs). It’s how you take care of yourself. Most people, they use their body as a garbage disposal, with all the fat they eat; they eat anything and everything. And fat carries all these diseases with it that are causing problems today. I’m a vegan and that’s very important. People don’t understand how important a healthy diet is. I wish I knew what I know now back when I was younger – even though I don’t like to say, ‘what if?’”
Q: Who trains you now?
R.R: “I train myself, and my wife helps me, along with a couple of guys from the gym. But I’ve trained myself my whole life. I’m in great shape now and I did that myself. My [previous] trainers, they’d only show up two weeks before the fight, after I’d done all the work. But roadwork is where you get the conditioning from, not from working in the gym. I’ve been doing roadwork for the last seven years.”
Q: And have you been sparring?
R.R: “Oh yes, I’ve been sparring quite a bit, with a couple of the guys in the gym.”
Q: You know what the critics and so-called experts will say/are saying about your return? How it cannot be done at age 51.
R.R: “There are no experts. They can’t say I cannot do it. Why? Because they haven’t done it. I’m taking this very seriously. I didn’t just say I’m coming back and then trained for six months before jumping into the ring. I’ve been training every single day for seven years. Who knows me and what I can and can’t do? Go talk to my doctor, he’ll tell you what kind of great shape I’m in. Boxing is only dangerous when you are being knocked out. But when you are the one who is doing the knocking out, you are fine. Look at my record, how many KO wins did I get?”
Q: What is your plan: to win the first fight then go for the Canadian title?
R.R: Yes, that’s the route I’m going to take. Then I want a shot at the world title. I will continue to train hard and my shot will eventually come. I’m giving myself five years. My belief is I will get stronger, faster, swifter. You know, in the western world, we give up too quickly and too easily on our older generation; whereas in the east, the older generation are the masters. People can’t judge me or tell me what to do. Look at the lady swimmer, Diana Nyad, she broke the record over a 103-mile distance (in 2013, Nyad became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida). She tried to do it a number of times when she was younger and couldn’t do it yet she did it at age 64!. So that tells you how you can be better and stronger when you are older. She inspired me. I saw what she did and that galvanized me. And Bernard Hopkins, too – I was thinking about him.”
Q: The fans still remember your great fights with Tyson and your chilling KO of Michael Dokes. Are those the fight people ask you about the most these days?
R.R: “Yeah, they like the Tyson fights, because he was the most notorious heavyweight at that time. Back then, during my first time around, I wasn’t as disciplined or as dedicated as I am now. I would have a fight, then go for a break, then get back in the gym for the next fight. Now, I train every day. This is my job and I don’t take any breaks. I watch my diet and don’t put anything unnecessary in my body. I’m keeping my body finely tuned for any and every given moment. I’m making myself a fighting machine.”
R.R: “Yes. I know it’s not as glorious as it once was, but the champions, I can’t take away their accomplishments. But I want to challenge them, so I can’t over think them. I was set to challenge [Vitali] Klitschko a few years back but they pulled out. But I will get my shot in time.”
Q: What are you expecting against Olubowale on the 28th, will you look for a quick KO?
R.R: “That’s what I do, that’s what I go in there for. I’ll be ready for anything. I will be able to react and adapt during the fight.”
Q: And if everything goes well as we hope it does, how soon do you plan to box again?
R.R: “Three months. I haven’t got time to waste, I’m older now (laughs). I’m very, very serious and I’m going to shock a lot of people.”