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Jones takes easy win over Ruiz

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LAS VEGAS, March 2 (UPI) -- Roy Jones Jr., giving up more than 30 pounds, dominated John Ruiz for virtually the entire fight Saturday night and easily captured the WBA heavyweight title.

Already regarded as one of the greatest fighters of his era, Jones reached legendary status by becoming the first former middleweight in more than a century to capture the heavyweight championship.

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"I don't really feel I am a heavyweight, I just wanted to do that to make history," Jones said. "I did this one time, that's what the fans wanted to see. I wasn't going to change my style (for this fight). I got through it. I was Roy Jones."

In the biggest fight of his career, Jones put on a masterful performance, winning nearly every round and earning the nod on all three judges' scorecards.

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Judge Duane Ford had the fight 117-111, Jerry Roth scored it 116-112 and Stanley Christodoulou had Jones ahead, 118-110.

Jones improved to 48-1, while Ruiz fell to 38-5-1.

"Everybody said I was going to run," Jones said. "I knew I wasn't going to run. I'm not going to change my style for anybody. I was in total control the whole fight. Until Roy Jones loses, I'm not changing."

"I just couldn't get off my punch," Ruiz said. "Every time I tried to go in, he was holding me. I was getting in there and then the referee wanted to jump in, so I never got the chances to punch out."

Ruiz added that referee Jay Nady was a hindrance.

"He came into the dressing room before the fight and said there would be no hitting and holding on the break," Ruiz said. "But Jones did. I would give Roy Jones more credit if I was given the same advantages he was."

Jones, 34, joined Bob Fitzsimmons as the only middleweight champions to capture a heavyweight title. Fitzsimmons stopped "Gentleman" Jim Corbett in 1897.

Jones has won 13 straight fights since his only loss, a controversial disqualification against Montell Griffin in March 1997. Jones avenged that decision by knocking out Griffin three months later and has not been tested since.

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He became the first light-heavyweight champion to capture the heavyweight title since Michael Spinks won a decision against Larry Holmes in September 1985.

Just the seventh man to win titles in four weight classes, Jones also is the first to earn middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight titles.

Adding to Jones' mystique was the ease with which the 5-9 champion dispatched the 6-2 Ruiz. Jones won every round from the second to the seventh on all three scorecards and had Ruiz rocked near the end of the fourth.

His game plan was ineffective and he never found a way to slow his opponent. Known for his ability to draw opponents into physical bouts, Ruiz never slowed Jones nor got him to engage in prolonged exchanges.

Ruiz appeared to realize he was losing the fight in the eighth but had no answers for Jones, who began to sense that his lead was all but insurmountable and that Ruiz did not have the commitment to hurt him.

With victory all but assured, Jones turned to his jab and superior conditioning. Using exceptional movement, he slipped punches and picked his spots for offense.

In the post-fight news conference, he admitted he might consider a bout against Chris Byrd, the International Boxing Federation champion.

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"If the money was beautiful," he said.

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