If John Ruiz, Yuri Foreman And Cory Spinks All Walked Into A Bar…

…after not boring the hell out of us in each of their last fights, who would we make fun of?

Those three form a kind of holy trinity (that’s clearly not a rabbi joke, Yuri) of boring boxing. At least, historically. But heavyweight Ruiz wasn’t boring in his most recent appearance, and he’s on a bit of a campaign to let people know he’s “changed.” Same for junior middleweights Foreman and Spinks — not boring in their latest offerings.

Yet they all three get quips thrown their way for being boring, still. Ruiz is still the man who throws one punch, then hugs, per the cuddling he’s doing in the picture at right. Foreman and Spinks are still the feather-fisted boxers who would rather run than hit.

Observe William Dettloff’s latest from this week (and I’m not criticizing Bill, whose work I enjoy even as I occasionally disagree with him):

You have to admire the chutzpah of John Ruiz, who told Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole, “For some reason, I’m the guy who always gets bashed.” For “some” reason? Not for “some” reason. For this reason: Watching you is like watching a documentary on the feeding habits of giant squids. This is like the 300-pound girl who doesn’t understand why she can’t get a date. John, ever heard of a mirror?

Never mind that as of his last fight, watching Ruiz wasn’t at all like watching a documentary on the feeding habits of giant squids. Never mind that I actually kind of want to see that documentary, because giant squids are neato.

I think we keep these people in our lives in this way because it’s more fun. If Ruiz, Foreman and Spinks aren’t sucking, where do we get to make or read jokes like that? Everybody loves reading a movie review that trashes the flick, like Roger Ebert’s epic takedown of Transformers 2.

My thing, though, is I want to reward Ruiz, Foreman and Spinks for taking the criticism to heart and fighting in a way that’s more pleasing to us, the fans. That’s why I’m pointing out the positive trends here in each man’s career, even if it’s more fun to do it the other way.

So, Ruiz will still be the inspiration for Scott’s “The Quiet Man Hug” column, but it’s more a memorial award for career-long demeritorious service than how he is trying to go about his business these days. But other than that, or a recurrence of awfulness from any of those three men, my “anti-mockery of the trio” policy means we’re missing someone to make fun of here for sucking now. Any nominees?

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.