Caesars delivers Ruvalcaba’s wish |

Caesars delivers Ruvalcaba’s wish

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

Since Simon Ruvalcaba began his pro boxing career in 2001, two things have been missing: a sensitive matchmaker and a home fight at Caesars Tahoe.

Ruvalcaba will have both when he fights on the April 12 card at Caesars Tahoe in Stateline.

Through the efforts of Bryan Davis, events coordinator at Caesars, the 24-year-old Ruvalcaba is matched against Dwayne Pope of Reno. Ruvalcaba wasn’t listed on the card when it was announced earlier in the month but Davis encouraged Cedric Kushner Promotions to include the popular local fighter.

Both welterweights are winless and have endured a pro fight career that has been littered with mismatches.

“Our pro careers have been almost the same where we’ve fought the hometown guy and the up-and-coming guys,” Ruvalcaba said.

The hometown theme will be working against Pope (0-4) this time as Ruvalcaba (0-4-2) grew up in South Lake Tahoe, graduating from South Tahoe High before enlisting in the Army.

Recommended Stories For You

“The fans are loving it that I’m going to fight here,” said Ruvalcaba, who recently was told by one local supporter that he had purchased 20 fight tickets. “This will be dream come true to fight at Caesars All those times I came here to watch a fight and now to have the opportunity to perform here is going to be a special moment for me.”

Ruvalcaba’s two previous appearances in Caesars’ historic ring — Muhammad Ali defeated Bob Foster in it more than a quarter of a century ago — were sparring sessions. On his 18th birthday in 1996, Ruvalcaba sparred with Julia Cesar Chavez before Chavez fought Oscar De La Hoya. He also sparred Pernell Whitaker before “Sweet Pea” lost to Carlos Bojorquez in the final fight of a sensational career.

Ruvalcaba also has something to prove since his unimpressive career start has prompted some friends to suggest retirement.

“People within the boxing circles it’s their opinion that they would like me to step away from the sport. My heart is in this. I still have the talent and the guys working with me believe I do, too,” said Ruvalcaba, who is being trained by Bob Lee in Virginia City.

Pope has absorbed a lot of punishment in his brief career. Three of his four fights have ended in knockout, including one that sent him to the hospital.

“He’s a bull, so I’m going to have to be a matador in this fight,” Ruvalcaba said. “He takes punches and that’s his problem.

Headlining the Everlast Heavyweight Explosion card are undefeated heavyweight Dominick Guinn (20-0, 15 KOs) of Hot Springs, Ark., and Charles Hatcher (14-3, 10 KOs) of Columbus, Ohio.

Undefeated welterweight sensation Anthony “The Messenger” Thompson of Philadelphia makes his semi-main event debut on the nationally and internationally televised card.

Thompson, who has a record of 10-0 with seven knockouts, will fight Brad “Bad to the Bone” Jensen of Estes Park, Colo. Jensen has a record of 12-7-1 with five knockouts.

Thompson compiled a 78-7 amateur record and his list of amateur accomplishments includes U.S. championships in 2000 and 2001 and 200 National Golden Gloves winner. USA Boxing selected Thompson as Athlete of the Year in 2001.

The seven-bout card starts at 7 p.m. in the Circus Maximus Showroom, with doors opening at 6 p.m.

Tickets prices are $15, $25, $35 and $50 and all seats reserved. They can be purchased at the Caesars’ Activities Center from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Fight fans may also order tickets by calling (775) 586-2044 or (800) 648-3353 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.