View Full Version : The Ruelas brothers story

05-30-2010, 11:39 PM
This is the story of two brothers whose careers were similar. Two brothers who both were damaged early on in their career and never recovered. I am talking about Gabriel and Rafael Ruelas. They were only 9 months apart in age and even went to school together. They were both born in Jalisco, Mexico and emigrated to California when they were 7 and 6. Very similar in appearance and close in age, Rafael at 5'11 was 4 inches taller however and so everybody could tell them apart. According to one article to which I will post a link below, they were selling candy door-to-door when they discovered Joe Goosen's gym. The brothers begged Joe to let them box and wouldn't give in until Joe finally agreed. At the time, Gabriel was 12 and Rafael 11.

Flash forward a few years and both were promising boxers. Gabriel had an amateur record of 55-3 and captured the California golden gloves as bantamweight. Gabriel turned pro in 1988, Rafael in 1989. They were kicking butt in their respective classes, super featherweight and lightweight. They were both fast, agile, hard hitting and skilled. Rafael was the bigger puncher while Gabriel was more the fast and slick boxer but he too could be deadly as a puncher. Gabriel was only 22 when he got his first title shot, but lost to the great Azumah Nelson in a close fight for the WBC SFW title in February 1993. A year later, having turned 24, he put on a magnificent performance to beat Jesse James Leija and capture the same title. But this joy would not last long. Earlier same year, Rafael also became the champion by beating Freddie Pendleton by UD to take the IBF LW title. Both brothers would make 2 defenses before meeting their respective conquerors. In Rafael's case the career blow was inevitable, because the man he faced was none other than Oscar De La Hoya. Like his brother's, Rafael's status with the Mexicans in California was very high and after DLH had mercilessly disposed of him in 2 rounds, he had become somewhat scorned by the Mexicans since. Oscar, that is.

In Gabriel's case however, it was a tragedy that would contribute to take his title and one might say also his old self away. After soundly defeating the Colombian Jimmy Garcia and stopping him in the 11th round, Garcia died of injuries 13 days later. It was not the same man that entered the ring six months later to defend the title against the man who beat him, Azumah Nelson. Although still displaying the same speed and movement, Gabriel looked cautious and stayed on the defensive more than usual. He was dropped in the first by a shot that caught him off guard. In the fourth he started landing hard punches, but then stopped as he had Nelson against the ropes and Nelson unleashed a powerful combination that put him down again. In the fifth, Gabriel seemed pretty much done and unwilling to fight and as Nelson pounced on him, the ref stopped the fight. As the rest of the world celebrated the great African's return to the champion ranks at 37, the life and career of Gabriel Ruelas lay in tatters.

He would have one more memorable fight in 1997 against then-IBF champion Arturo Gatti. After rocking Gatti in the fourth, he was stopped in the fifth round. It was a brave and highly entertaining fight that made the FOTY. None of the brothers would make succesfull returns to the ring again. Rafael moved up to jr.ww and beat a highly faded Livingstone Bramble before Kostya Tszyu destroyed him in 9 rounds in 1998. He retired the next year with a record of 53-4-0 with 42 kayos. Gabriel would fight sporadically until 2003 and retired with a record of 49-7-0 with 24 kayos.

So, the story of the Ruelas brothers is a story that makes you think "what if?". Could they have achieved more if they hadn't met such devastating losses? I believe so, especially Gabriel. He was the one that was more hurt of the two and experienced a tragedy. He was never the same again and only in the Gatti fight did he show a glimpse of his old self, but ultimately to no avail.

Both brothers were inducted into the California Hall of Fame in 2006.

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/812245/the_triumph_and_tragedy_of_boxer_gabriel_pg3.html? cat=49

Violent Demise
05-31-2010, 01:57 AM
Gabriel should of got the win in the first Nelson fight. He did enough to win

08-11-2010, 10:34 AM
Gabriel should of got the win in the first Nelson fight. He did enough to win
I had it even.

08-15-2010, 03:18 PM
Thanks for this Slayer.Both brothers were very attractive and aggressive to watch,good to hear about them.
There's a lot of tragedy in our sport.

Dj Si Thompson
08-15-2010, 11:50 PM
God i so want to see Gabe Ruelas-Jimmy Garcia from 1995 :|