For right price Simon steps up caliber of competition |

For right price Simon steps up caliber of competition

Steve Yingling

Ruvalcaba declined to fight unbeaten middleweight James Kirkland last month at Caesars Tahoe. That personal decision led to some people questioning his heart.

“I was not ashamed to say that I wanted no part of Kirkland, but I thought about what a reporter from Ring Magazine told me when I declined to fight (prospect) Dominic Chavez: He told me that it’s a kind of fight that even if I lose, there’s no shame in saying that I lost to someone like that,” Ruvalcaba said. “On top of that, it doesn’t look good in a warrior sport if the warrior is refusing to battle.”

With all of those thoughts racing through Ruvalcaba’s head, it was almost ironic that “Guilty” Boxing Promotions came calling late last month. They were looking for a welterweight to step in on a day’s notice to face undefeated Nelson Estupinan of El Paso, Texas, in Las Vegas.

Ruvalcaba initially declined, but Guilty Boxing promoters continued to call him, raising the purse with each conversation.

Between phone calls, Ruvalcaba did some research on Estupinan and learned that he had knocked out two-time world champion Carlos “Bolillo” Gonzales in the second round but had struggled to earn a split decision over a winless fighter.

“My machismo started to take over,” Ruvalcaba said.

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Ruvalcaba decided to take the fight and was rewarded with the biggest purse of his career. As part of the deal, Ruvalcaba was guaranteed two additional bouts against opponents of his choice.

Naturally, no one gave Ruvalcaba chance of lasting the first round against Estupinan.

Ruvalcaba did and it wasn’t until 2 minutes, 12 seconds of the fifth round that Estupinan cornered the STHS grad and caught him with a wild left to the chin. Ruvalcaba fell to one knee and before he knew it, the referee stopped the bout.

“I was a little mad because he didn’t even count and I was going to get right back up,” Ruvalcaba said. “Later, when I saw the replay on TV monitors I understood why they stopped it. It looked very bad when he connected. My head whiplashed back and I fell straight down.”

Considering Ruvalcaba reinjured his right shoulder in the second round, he wasn’t too displeased with his performance.

“I got a nice response from the crowd of about 5,000 and I did do some damage (to Nelson),” Ruvalcaba said. “Estupinan is in the top 60 in the welterweight division, which is good considering how deep the division is right now. He had lumps on both eyes and his eyelids were pretty pink.”

Ruvalcaba (3-6-2) has served more than half of the Nevada Athletic Commission’s mandatory 30-day suspension after losing by a technical knockout. His plans are to fulfill his three-fight contract with Guilty Boxing on Oct. 28 and Nov. 19 at the Orleans and then fight closer to home on Nov. 19 in Reno.

Ruvalcaba has been working on strengthing his shoulder and will resume training Sept. 1.

When he re-enters the ring, Ruvalcaba plans to revert back to the southpaw style he used 10 years ago as an amateur.

“It’s got me interested and ready to learn once again in boxing. That should keep me focused in the gym,” Ruvalcaba said.