LAS VEGAS -- Maybe less work is the answer.
That could be the unofficial motto of the Razor Ruddock camp going into tomorrow night's rematch with Mike Tyson, the continuation of a battle that ended prematurely on March 18. At yesterday's official weigh-in -- a full 57 hours before fight time -- Ruddock weighed a beefy 238 pounds, 10 more than the first time. Tyson, by contrast a model of consistency, came in at 216, a pound lighter than last time and lighter than he has been since he scaled 215 1/4 for his fourth-round knockout of Larry Holmes on Jan. 22, 1988.
The girth of Ruddock was yesterday's focal point, as observers groped to make sense of Ruddock's belief that in the first match, he did not use enough movement on Tyson, and his practice of coming in at a weight that almost certainly ensures less movement this time. The only time Ruddock has been heavier for a fight was when he weighed 240 for a plodding performance against Kimmuel Odum last summer.
Even Ruddock's somewhat confused camp admitted that its fighter has not trained as hard for the rematch. "I think Razor trained too hard for the first fight," said Murad Muhammad, Ruddock's recently reinstated promoter. "He may have been overtrained. This time, he trained for Mike Tyson just like he was any other fighter."
One major change from the first fight, however, is that he did spar until Monday. For the first fight, Ruddock, nursing a left hand injury he still will not admit to, cut out sparring three weeks before the bout.
"I don't care what people think about my training," Ruddock said. "I need strength and technique, a combination of both. I've been training very hard and I've been on a special diet."
When it was pointed out that most "special diets" result in a loss of weight, Ruddock said, "In this case, it didn't."
That was just one of several contradictions that came out of a post-weigh-in interview. Ruddock admitted being winded early in the first fight, but later said his new training routine cut out much of his roadwork. "We're doing different things for conditioning this time," he said.
Larry McGhee, Ruddock's conditioning coach, said Ruddock now runs no more than 1 1/2 miles a day, supplementing his aerobic sessions with stair-climbing workouts. The new routine was formulated by Pat Croce, a new addition to the Ruddock camp. "I didn't agree with it at first," said McGhee, a former Canadian sprinting champion. "I didn't think the timing was right."
The addition of Croce, who has worked with the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers and Meldrick Taylor, is not the only late change in the camp. A nutritionist also has been added.
One change that was contemplated but not made was the replacing of trainers Art Miles and Slim Robinson, the latter because of his close ties to Don King.
But the switch never was made and Miles and Robinson still are here, although it appears that Ruddock is calling most of his own shots.
"We didn't have time to adapt to a new trainer," said Delroy Ruddock, brother and manager. "We don't just make change for the sake of change. Slim's association with Don brought up certain questions, but we had him investigated to see if he had any credibility. We're satisfied now that he's on our side."