Ruvalcaba’s pro debut doesn’t go as planned |

Ruvalcaba’s pro debut doesn’t go as planned

Steve Yingling

Simon Ruvalcaba’s professional boxing debut Friday in Vallejo, Calif., was full of surprises.

Just before his four-round lightweight bout with Justo Almazan, the 23-year-old Ruvalcaba learned that his opponent was entering his 20th fight, not the ninth as thought when he took the bout.

In addition, trainer Juan Torres also discovered that Ruvalcaba wasn’t as qualified for his first fight as he thought.

So Almazan’s majority decision shouldn’t have floored many observers. One judge scored the bout a 38-38 draw while the other two favored Almazan 39-37.

“It was embarrassing more than anything else, a lack of performance,” Ruvalcaba said. “I want to feel everything of what I’m feeling now because I don’t want to feel this way again.”

When the match was made earlier this month Ruvalcaba and Torres weren’t told of Almazan’s fights in Mexico. Almazan (4-15-1) had lost most of those, but it’s unorthodox for a rookie to be matched with a veteran of so many bouts in his pro debut.

“I think Simon got overwhelmed,” Torres said. “As soon as he was told his opponent’s record, I saw his face. His face and fight plan went to hell. With so much amateur experience, he shouldn’t have had a problem with him.

“I never would have thrown him in there if I thought he was going to be beat up, especially making his pro debut. The way Simon was sparring and training, he was more than ready to take on somebody of that caliber.”

Ruvalcaba controlled the first round, but his inactivity during the latter rounds swayed the judges the other way.

“I know, Simon knows and everybody knows that isn’t all Simon has to offer,” Torres said. “If he’s going to win any fights, he’s going to have to be very active.”

Failure to put together combinations frustrated Ruvalcaba.

“In the ring I don’t think he beat me,” he said. “It’s nothing that he did; it’s what I didn’t do to win this fight.

“He didn’t have any power. I didn’t capitalize when I made him miss.”

As Ruvalcaba expected, Almazan tried to use his experience to unravel Ruvalcaba’s fight plan.

“I have three of four marks on my face and none of them are from punches. They were from his head and shoulders,” Ruvalcaba said. “I shouldn’t have fallen for his tricks. I should have retaliated.

“If he tries to do that in my hometown, I’m going to fight back, and he better take it like a man like I did.”

The two will tangle again July 6 at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe on the undercard of the Efren Hinojosa-Ivan Robinson fight. Ruvalcaba can’t wait for the rematch.

“I’m not looking for excuses. I’m looking for redemption,” Ruvalcaba said. “He is somebody I should have beaten, and I will beat. I hope the community doesn’t give up on me.”

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