Simon resurrects fight career |

Simon resurrects fight career

Steve Yingling

Some said that the handwriting was on the wall, but Simon Ruvalcaba didn’t want to see it.

Nearing his 30th birthday and winless in a ring since July of 2003, even some of Ruvalcaba’s family members were doubting whether he should continue his pro career.

“I think at least I got some people off my back,” said Ruvalcaba, reflecting on his first victory in nearly five years on Friday night in Las Vegas.

Ruvalcaba (4-9-2) earned a four-round split decision over Joe Calabria (1-1) in a at The Orleans Casino.

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“It has been way too long. I like the feeling of winning and I want to feel it again,” said the South Tahoe High graduate and former U.S. Army fighter.

A shoulder ailment and matchmaking problems limited Ruvalcaba’s opportunities since beating Roman Polak on July 7, 2003. And three technical knockout defeats in his previous four fights convinced some that Ruvalcaba should switch careers.

“(I heard) the referee of my last fight in Salinas said, ‘It’s a tough sport to give up, but you may want to tell him it’s time,'” Ruvalcaba recalled.

Ruvalcaba’s older brother, Art, told him that he might be better off writing. The younger Ruvalcaba has developed a niche as a boxing writer during the past several years.

But he left the writing to the Las Vegas scribes on Friday night.

Judges C.J. Ross and Jerry Roth scored the bout for Ruvalcaba 39-37 and 40-36, respectively. Lisa Giampa scored the junior middleweight fight for Calabria, 39-37.

Giampa’s scorecard was read first, making Ruvalcaba a bit uneasy.

“It was like uh-oh,” he said. “I did my job and landed effective punches, and that’s what wins a fight.”

Ruvalcaba credited fill-in cornerman Nonito Donaire Sr. for aiding his victory. Donaire Sr., whose son is the IBF flyweight champion, shortened Ruvalcaba’s left hook and adjusted his right jab while watching him shadow box before the bout.

Calabria, making his second pro fight, owns an amateur victory over current middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik, according to Ruvalcaba.

The victory has given Ruvalcaba hope and likely landed him another fight in Las Vegas on May 9.

“I’m real excited to get the win and having my name in lights the whole week in Las Vegas,” Ruvalcaba said. “It made me have the feeling of what my career could have been and should have and still could be.”

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