Gelf Magazine - Looking over the overlooked


January 8, 2007

Razor Ruddock, Inventor

The former heavyweight challenger has put away his boxing gloves and put on a lab coat.

Hadley Robinson

Donovan "Razor" Ruddock wants to smash your trash. In the television advertisement for his new invention—a manual compactor—the former heavyweight boxer's disembodied head appears in a trash can and exhorts viewers to "fight back" against overflowing garbage.

In his former career, Ruddock was best known for what he couldn't do: beat Mike Tyson. Ruddock, who got his nickname in the Canadian Reserves when he routinely opened cuts on people he fought, lost two close fights to Tyson in 1991, and never again had a chance to fight for a share of the heavyweight title.

Ruddock with his invention.
Two guys go into the ring and they have to outthink each other. In anything you have to think. … Most boxers aren't stupid. I'm not stupid.

Ruddock with his invention.

In his newest calling, Ruddock is marketing the Boxer Compactor, a device he says he designed on the fly one day after becoming increasingly frustrated with the amount of waste his family was creating. He claims his new appliance is environmentally-friendly, economical, and will cut the number of garbage bags you use in half.

Besides for the television ads, which he says are airing in Florida, Ruddock is marketing his product by holding press conferences and appearing on Canadian television. (Unlike in his former career, though, Ruddock's current public appearances do not involve Tyson threatening to make him his girlfriend (YouTube).)

Gelf talked to the native-born Jamaican in his Toronto home. Speaking over the din in the background, and occasionally pausing to fend off other callers, Ruddock was confident and energized about his new product, and sounded pleased to be back in the media spotlight. He spoke about his comeback as an inventor, whether he worries about being laughed at for his new career, and how he and his compactor differ from George Foreman and his grill. (This interview has been edited for clarity.)

Gelf Magazine: How did you come up with the idea for a Boxer Compactor?

Razor Ruddock: The real question is, how come no one came up with it before? It makes so much sense. In Toronto right now, they are taking two million bags a week to the dump. I can cut it down to one million bags. I can cut it in half.

GM: Your compactor can halve the amount of garbage?

RR: Instead of two bags you can use one. It cuts your workload in half. A lot of times your bag isn't really full. It makes sense what I'm saying. It's kind of another appliance in your kitchen.

GM: What sets this compactor apart from other trash compactors?

RR: Other compactors are electrical and mounted in your kitchen and can't be moved. They are motorized and expensive. The one I have looks like a regular garbage can with the option of compacting. All it uses is more leverage. There is a mechanism concealed beneath the lid. Most people now use their hands to compact their garbage. How many times have you thrown garbage into the can and had to push it down?

GM: Quite a few times.

RR: A lot of times. People don't want to do that all the time. My wife and I realized the need for this product. Together we tried to develop something to compact garbage. She was drawing, and I was drawing beside her, and she liked mine so much that she wanted to send it in to a company to market it. I told her, don't bother to do that; I‘ll do all the work.

The ad for Ruddock's compactor.

GM: How does boxing relate to inventing?

RR: They don't work together. I'm doing something totally different. But both of them demand thinking. Two guys go into the ring and they have to outthink each other. In anything you have to think. When you get to a high level you have to do a lot of thinking. Most boxers aren't stupid. I'm not stupid.

GM: Would you rather be remembered as an inventor or as a fighter?

RR: Come on, you can't separate both of them. Both of them are unique in themselves.

GM: You left the boxing world in 2001. Before coming up with the Boxer Compactor, what have you been up to?

RR: I've been searching to find my next step after my retirement from boxing. I found a product that is really needed and is logical. We have nothing waiting for us after boxing. We come right after high school or college into boxing. We don't have no pension plan. So I was searching. We have to find our own way. I'm sorry that Tyson lost his way.

GM: And you feel like you've found your way?

RR: Oh yeah. I'm really excited. I'm talking to you. I'm talking to reporters. It's like I am in boxing again except I'm not getting hit. I can't complain.

GM: People remember your fights against Mike Tyson. What was important for you about those fights?

RR: Two epic wars in Las Vegas were a high point in my life, but you can't ride on that forever. It lasts for a moment and then you have to go on. Unfortunately, a lot of people try to hold on to that. It's finished, my friend. It's done.

GM: What do you think of boxers who are past their prime trying to get back in the ring?

RR: Sad. I think it's sad that they are so limited. They feel that is the only thing they can do. They want to relive that glory.

GM: Speaking of which, what do you think of the new Rocky movie?

RR: I'm not interested because Rocky is past his prime. Just move on, Rocky. Let's try another thing, you know? Just accept it.

Razor Ruddock and George Foreman

Two salesmen, one inventor. Images courtesty &

GM: Do you compare yourself at all to George Foreman, who has made a big name selling his grill?

RR: People always compare me to George Foreman, which I don't mind because he is a good person. But I want people to understand and comprehend that this came out of my brain. George just put his name on the grill. That's the difference.

GM: What do you think about the current state of heavyweight boxing?

RR: I don't really follow it because there's no one defining character in the heavyweight division right now. It's not like the '90s with Tyson and those guys. Everyone was involved. It's different now because the competition is not there.

GM: Would you call your new job as an inventor your next big comeback?

RR: Definitely. What happened is this: When I was boxing I made a few bad decisions. I knew I needed a rest after fighting Tyson and all those guys because my body had taken a beating. Then I came back and won 10 straight fights. I was prepared to fight again for the Canadian championship and I was training and realized something was wrong with my arm—it kept going limp. I went to the doctor and he thought I had nerve damage. So I left the game. I was ready and I wanted to take no chance with my health. I realized it was time to walk. I don't do things halfway. If I can't perform at a high level, I'm going to walk away. I'm only going to do something if I can do it strong. I think I'm coming in very strong with this product.

GM: How's it going so far? Is the Boxer Compactor popular?

RR: It's going great. I've sold 400 of them already.

GM: Have you been following the articles about it?

RR: Not necessarily. I haven't been following them that well. They can't say there's anything wrong with the product. The product is needed—it makes too much sense. People are surprised because a boxer hasn't invented something before. I'm the pioneer.

GM: Some writers seem to be having fun with the idea of a boxer-inventor and you in a lab coat. [Editor's note: See Deadspin.] Do you have a sense of humor about it?

RR: Definitely; if you don't have a sense of humor about life then you're in trouble. I realize that right now people are very curious; they can't imagine that a boxer could invent something worthwhile. But until they set their eyes on it, they can't say anything. When I go into the ring to fight Mike Tyson, I'm well prepared. When I go into business, I'm well prepared. I'm going in with a strong product. If you think about it logically, you'll use one. I haven't had one bad comment about the product itself. How would I not feel confident about it? No one is complaining about the product; they just don't realize how important it is yet.

Hadley Robinson is a freelance journalist and teacher who lives in Washington D.C.

Hadley Robinson

Hadley Robinson is a Gelf contributor and a staff writer for the
Webster Times.

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Article by Hadley Robinson

Hadley Robinson is a Gelf contributor and a staff writer for the
Webster Times.

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