Ruelas was able to successfully defend his title prior to being challenged by the rapidly rising star de la Hoya. De la Hoya defeated Ruelas, knocking him down twice and ending the fight in the 2nd round.
Ruelas never recaptured his lost glory, winning fights over limited competition, including a decision over journeyman Livingstone Bramble, to set up a fight with the hard punching Kostya Tszyu in 1998. Tszyu battered Ruelas and won via TKO 9, and Ruelas's career ended shortly afterward.
| IBF Lightweight boxing champion
19 February 1994–6 May 1995
Oscar De La Hoya
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