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"Night of Heavyweights" Features Boxing Champions Past and Present


World Boxing Association heavyweight champion John Ruiz of Puerto Rico and International Boxing Federation champion Chris Byrd of the United States defend their titles Saturday night in New York City. The so-called "Night of the Heavyweights" also features former champions Hasim Rahman and Evander Holyfield of the United States.

World Boxing Association heavyweight champion John Ruiz will face Polish challenger Andrew Golota. Ruiz won the title by beating Hasim Rahman. Rahman also fights Kali Meehan of Australia on Saturday.

Golota has earned a reputation for dirty fighting - including the knickname "the Foul Pole" for hitting opponents below the belt and being disqualified in bouts he appeared to be winning. Golota fought Chris Byrd to a draw in April.

Byrd will defend his International Boxing Federation crown against Jameel McCline. McCline was the heaviest fighter at the weigh-in Thursday, tipping the scales at 121 kilograms. Byrd was listed as 25 kilos lighter than his opponent. Byrd won the IBF belt two years ago against Evander Holyfield.

Now 42, Holyfield tries to get back into heavyweight contention as he takes on Larry Donald in an undercard bout. Holyfield says that he is physically well, and is capable of regaining the heavyweight title.

"The point is, what can you do at that age?" he asked. "I take care of myself well, and I should not be penalized because other people hadn't been able to do the same thing at my age. Because maybe they did not pay the price that I paid."

Since promoter Don King represents Byrd, Ruiz, Rahman, and Holyfield, it is not likely that the flabouyant King would risk losing a champion by pitting them against one another.

One man who is a likely target is Ukraine's Vitaly Klitschko, the World Boxing Council champion. Klitschko defends his title next month in Las Vegas against Britain's Danny Wiliams, who beat former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson earlier this year.
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