Ruelas cuts Schwer to the quick

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The Independent Online
Billy Schwer was convinced he possessed the necessary credentials of punch, prowess and determination to win the IBF lightweight title at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The fragility of his features, however, proved his undoing and the defending champion, Rafael Ruelas, made a mess of Schwer's eybrows to keep his championship in the eighth round. It was the feared conclusion to Saturday night's contest because, for all Schwer's splendid fighting qualities, there is a vulnerability which will continue to handicap the Briton.

Schwer sensed Ruelas was tiring, but the severity of his lacerations prevented him from taking advantage in the scheduled final four rounds.

His manager, Mickey Duff, claimed that Schwer's cut eyes were caused by accidental head clashes, but the challenger could not himself be certain, and it looked more as if Ruelas's long, slashing right hand acted as the scalpel. The ringside doctor advised the referee, Mills Lane, to stop the fight after his fifth inspection.

Schwer said: "I've got a mountain to climb to get this problem solved. I've lost two fights both on cuts. It's not been through my boxing ability."

Schwer now seems unlikely to go through with his European title nomination against the Frenchman, Jean Baptiste Mendy. He will have a long rest and probably come back with a less demanding assignment.