MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Currently Alfredo Ruiz stands at 5 feet 5 inches tall and is approximately 140 pounds. He’s not a big guy by any means and it isn’t hard to imagine how much smaller he must have been when he was once routinely picked on in elementary school.
“I was really small for my age,” said Cpl. Ruiz, a field wireman with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division. “I just tried to do what I could, kick, punch or whatever, to stand my ground.”
The torment left a chip on his shoulder that he has carried with him to this day. After barely passing elementary school, due to the amount of trouble and number of fights he got into, Ruiz decided something needed to change.
During his freshman year in high school Ruiz started training at a local boxing gym.
“It started out as something to keep me out of trouble, but then I really got into it,” said Ruiz, a San Diego native.
While at Encinitas Boxing and Fitness Gym, Ruiz had a record of one win and two losses. Although he was probably not the next Mike Tyson or Muhammad Ali, Ruiz continued with his passion until he decided to enlist in the Marine Corps.
After a deployment to Afghanistan in 2009, Ruiz tried out for the Marine Corps Boxing Team. During his tryout Ruiz’s nose was bloodied in a sparring session and he did not make the team.
“I wasn’t in the best of shape,” explained Ruiz. “There’s a difference between lifting weights and running, to boxing training. I just went in there blind. I knew they were probably better than me. I just didn’t know it was by that much. I wasn’t mad. But more like, ‘that’s what I get for not preparing enough.’”
Undeterred by his failure, Ruiz is still confident he can make the USMC boxing team. His fellow Marines root for and believe in him as well.
“I absolutely think he can make the team,” said Cpl. Greg J. Bonner, a telephone system repairman with 2nd CEB. “He’s one of the few people I see going to the gym on weekends. He’s already proven to fellow Marine’s that if you work hard you can get it.”
After recently coming home from his second deployment to Afghanistan, Ruiz is currently training two hours a day, five to six days a week and waiting for the opportunity to try out again. However, because of the needs of his unit, for the time being, he has postponed his tryout.
“Because of the number of Marines we have in our shop. It wouldn’t be feasible for me to leave and tryout. They would be under-manned,” said Ruiz unselfishly. “Either way it just gives me more time to get ready.”