After a yearlong wait as the No. 1 contender and a lifetime of waiting for a world title shot, Rafael Ruelas of Sylmar finally has gotten his chance. Ruelas confirmed Wednesday that the contracts have been signed for a late fall fight against Freddie Pendleton for the International Boxing Federation championship.
"I'm really excited," Ruelas said. "It has been a long time in coming."
Ruelas (37-1, 29 knockouts), the top contender in the lightweight (135 pounds) division of the IBF and World Boxing Council, will receive a purse in six figures, representing his largest payday.
Ruelas, 22, is fresh from a July 17 decision over Darryl Tyson in Las Vegas. He took the fight on short notice as a replacement for the injured Oscar de la Hoya.
"He's fast and he throws a lot of punches," Ruelas said. "But he's hittable. I don't feel he's too strong."
Ruelas hopes to fight Pendleton in October, but a fractured hand suffered by Pendleton in the Paez bout could push the bout back a month.