In the face of a far more superior opponent, the eight rounds Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista went against Mexico’s Heriberto Cuate Ruiz may be the most prized eight rounds of his boxing career. It was Bautista’s baptism under fire.
Forget about the loss he suffered to Ponce De Leon. De Leon knocked him Bautista early in the first round with big, explosive power shots (where’s the education in that?). Bautista’s first defeat was no initiation to the tragic side of the sport, he was simply overwhelmed. It was a shootout and Bautista was slow to the draw.
Although the match against Ruiz added another loss to Bautista’s very impressive record (26-2, 19 KOs), he might have fetched for himself valuable lessons from the said bout.
Ruiz (40-7-2, 23 KOs) may not be a hard hitter like De Leon but he did gave the Bohol native the fight that no doubt Bautista will remember – a chance to go toe-to-toe against someone who can take his shots and still give him a cruel beating.
There were moments when Bautista cleanly hit Ruiz with his bombs, but the Mexican was simply durable. There are no other words that can describe the Mexican’s resilience to the devastating punches Bautista is known to conjure. Durable.
Perhaps that’s what Bautista needs to improve himself for further challenges that lay ahead of him – a durable and more polished boxer who can take his punches and still bring in the goods almost effortlessly, as evidenced by the bright crimson paint and bumps Bautista had on his face.
One cannot say the same with the fight Bautista had with De Leon. Both being power punchers, that match was simply a matter of who can deliver the sleeper first. Unfortunately, De Leon pulled the trigger quicker and dealt with Bautista with a flurry of straights to the chin.
With Ruiz, Bautista found himself inside a ring with a quality opponent from whom he can learn from. One needs to set aside the Philippines-Mexico boxing rivalry to understand the beauty Bautista’s loss. Ruiz took Bautista to school. Ruiz was someone Bautista can’t knock down, much more knock out. For the first time in his life, Bautista was bullied by a better fighter.
More than a tough hombre, Ruiz also exposed Bautista to a lot of things and immersed him in the things that would hopefully open the young Filipino to other aspects of boxing. With quick lateral movements and effective counter punching, Ruiz was able to lord over the Filipino pugilist.
It will definitely take a while before Bautista could have another shot against the big guys. No doubt he will learn from his mistakes and lapses. Whether he becomes a better boxer or not, better being more intelligent and polished than before, after the beating he got from Ruiz, remains a multiple choice only Bautista can encircle.
But for the moment, the whole truth of the matter is last November 22, 2008, Ruiz took Bautista to school.
This article appeared in the Frustrated Sports Analyst blog.
Photo credits: insidesports.ph