Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday | Donovan “Razor” Ruddock vs. Michael “Dynamite” Dokes

Tony Calcara goes back to a Wednesday night in early spring of 1990 when Donovan “Razor” Ruddock and Michael “Dynamite” Dokes were set to collide in the recently shaken up Heavyweight division.

Razor Ruddock - Michael Dokes - Getty Images 3

“And now boxing fans, introducing the principles…”

With ring announcer Ed Derian standing at mid-ring, the 13,000 fans inside New York’s fabled Madison Square Garden roared as the fighters were introduced.

On a Wednesday night in early spring, Donovan “Razor” Ruddock and Michael “Dynamite” Dokes were set to collide in the recently shaken up Heavyweight division.

The year was 1990.

On April 4, in a bout billed as “Fighting Mad,” Dokes and Ruddock would meet at opposite ends of their careers.

The bout was akin to an elimination bout on the heels of James “Buster” Douglas’ upset of Mike Tyson just two months before. With Evander Holyfield ranked No. 1, Dokes and Ruddock jockeyed for position in the Heavyweight rankings.

Dokes (41-2-2, 27 KOs) still had lightning fast hands and a rock solid chin. The question many asked, at age 31 and after so many wars in the ring and the many demons he had faced outside of it, was did he still have the legs to compete at this level?

Ruddock (22-1-1, 15 KOs) was in great shape and at 230 pounds looked like he could go through a wall. What he gave up in experience he earned back in size, power, and youth.

Razor was on a 13 fight win streak, not having lost since early in his career nearly five years before. His last action in the ring was explosive as he scored a seventh-round knockout victory over James “Bonecrusher” Smith.

The 26-year-old Ruddock, ranked as the No. 2 Heavyweight contender, entered the ring first. Garbed in his now traditional white trunks with red and yellow trim, Ruddock carried his own dynamite in his left hand, nicknamed by his team as “The Smash.”

Dokes, 31, entered the ring next. Wearing white trimmed in red, the former WBA Heavyweight champion was ranked No. 4 in the world at the time. At 240 pounds, Dokes looked ready and wore a mask of punishing intensity. He was all business.

As soon as he entered the ring, Ruddock sprinted towards him and bounced up and down in his face. Dokes aimed his death stare directly at Ruddock and the two were quickly separated by handlers as the crowd loved the early electricity.

Derian introduced referee Arthur Mercante Jr. and then the fighters. Sam Rosen and Gil Clancy were ringside to call the live action.

Scheduled for 12 Rounds, the unique sound of the Madison Square Garden bell ringing echoed around ringside to begin Round 1. The early action was intense and competitive as each man was up on their toes, bouncing and working off their left jab.

By the halfway point of the first round, both men were throwing and landing power punches.

Razor Ruddock - Michael Dokes - Getty Images Photo by Ring Magazine/Getty Images

Rounds 2 and 3 continued with a similar ebb and flow of the first three minutes. Each man worked a snapping left jab, fired power punches and each took turns leading the action. The action intensified with each passing moment as both fighters pounded the body and launched left hooks that looked as if they were fired from a cannon.

Now in Round 4, Ruddock was getting his punches off first while Dokes was countering beautifully. As Ruddock slowly plodded forward, Dokes was gradually inching backward. With Dokes back now close to the ropes, Ruddock leaped in with his smash, a pulverizing left hook that swept across the ring from left to right.

The bomb blasted home on Dokes jaw, snapping his head back and buckling his legs. As the echo boomed throughout ringside, the crowd rose an exulted an audible groan. Rosen howled, “Good left hook!”

In a microsecond, Dokes’ buttocks was seated on the second rope. Ruddock again reared back and launched a second missile that again impaled on Dokes jaw. As Dokes sat motionless on the second rope, Ruddock reached back further and fired a third strafing left hook. The punch landed as cleanly as the first two and sent Dokes crumbling face first to the canvas.

Rosen continued, “Dokes went down to the second rope. Dokes is down and he may be out! He is down in front of us and out cold!”

As Mercante began the count, an unconscious Dokes lay motionless. Doctors and handlers leaped into the ring during the count and rushed to Dokes’ aid.

Clancy screamed, “Dokes is out! What an impressive performance by Razor Ruddock! This is the best young Heavyweight prospect I’ve seen in years!”

The bout was stopped by way of a TKO at just 53 seconds of Round 4.

Dokes lay on the canvas for well over four minutes until he was finally able to sit up and make it to his stool. Once he got to his feet, Ruddock made his way to his fallen opponent, wrapping his arm around him and kissing his forehead.

Rosen summed up the knockout sequence, “He was out after the second left hook and the third one put him down and out for the night.”

Razor Ruddock - Michael Dokes - Getty Images 2 Photo by Ring Magazine/Getty Images

Once conscious, a sullen Dokes was distraught, “I’m devastated. Maybe it’s time for me to start thinking about doing something else. If I can’t beat Ruddock, I can’t beat Douglas.”

Dokes would fight on and get a shot at the then Heavyweight champion, Riddick Bowe in 1993. He lost via a first round stoppage. Sadly, Dokes passed away of liver cancer in 2012, just one day after his 54th birthday. He was a proud champion who left fans with many indelible memories.

Ruddock, too, would carry on. He would battle Tyson twice and later meet both Tommy Morrison and Lennox Lewis.

Today, Razor remains active after returning from a 14 year layoff. He last fought in September, losing in a bid to reclaim the Canadian Heavyweight title.

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