How good is Jose Ramirez?
Blake Chavez writes about the popular fighter from Fresno,CA
WBC junior welterweight world champion Jose Ramirez is a world class fighter, of that there is no doubt. The bigger question: is he an elite-level champion? I predict that within 12 months we shall have the answer to that compelling query. The Avenal, California native represented the USA at Lightweight in the 2012 Olympics. So he was an elite amateur, of that there is no doubt.
But lil Rau’shee Warren was a three-time Olympian, and he too was an elite amateur, who has also tasted a pro championship, but has put up uneven performances that preclude him from ever being considered an elite pro champion. Ramirez is in his very own-do-or die stage of his pro career. The difference between the two are quite evident. Ramirez will fight like a mad dog to the death in order to win, whilst Warren will fight like a well-pedigreed blue-ribbon show dog, and never rush into the teeth of brutal, deep-water warfare. Warren pretends he wants to win badly. Ramirez means it.
So on February 10th, 2019, Ramirez, 23-0, 16 KO’s, defends his title against Jose Zepeda, 30-1, 25 KO’s. Zepeda’s record of high percentage KO’s tells us all he’s a puncher. He faced, and lost, to Terry Flanagan with the WBO Lightweight Title on the line in 2015. His dislocated shoulder ended the bout when he retired in the 2nd round. So he’s seen the pageantry and felt the pressure of a title fight. Zepeda, like Ramirez is also a southpaw, so that evens things up a bit. He’s also 5’8, so Ramirez at 5’10" won’t enjoy much of a height advantage either.
This is a dangerous fight for both guys. Zepeda, a Long Beach product, has a first round KO vs Victor Cayo, who lasted nine with a prime Nate Campbell, eleven with a prime Lamont Peterson, and six with a prime Marcos Maidana. So the-anything-can-happen-in-boxing mantra certainly applies here.
Ramirez is a rugged SOB, plain and simple.
He’s not into the boxing politics with Prograis and the Josh Taylor ducking talk. He really just fights who they pit him with. If they told him you are fighting your stablemate Mikey Garcia next and his brother Robert Garcia will of course train Mikey, Ramirez would just shrug and ask when and where does he show up for the fight.
Ramirez is a very, very big junior welterweight.
When the bell rings, he’s there to win. He’s going to go toe-to-toe plenty, and he’ll wrestle a bit rough in clinches to show-off his strength. One thing he’ll not do, is ask a quarter. No quarter shall will be asked, and none will be given in this fight. Ramirez has poise and confidence. He fights a bit tense, not as high-strung as Oscar De La Hoya fought, but chomping at the bit nonetheless. Zepeda is more relaxed, which is preferred, as it keeps fatigue out of the equation.
Duran, Ali, and Floyd were the epitome of relaxed fighters that never feared the fatigue of deep waters. Zepeda also suffers from the dumbest disease of all, yet it haunts most all of boxing; he fights with his lead hand low. Ramirez, as an accomplished Olympian, is more disciplined in this regard and that may tell the tale. Lowered guard equals more punch penetration and more risk of damage and swelling to the lead eye, entire nose, and unprotected and exposed side of the face. Note; Duran, Ali, and Floyd arguably had the best reflexes in history. Zepeda does not. Not even close.
Top Rank has done a marvelous job moving Ramirez along. Nobody does it better. Period.
Ramirez has built a following more loyal than even Bud Crawford and his fervent hometown Omaha, Nebraska fans. They both pack the hometown house with between 12,500 and 14,000 maniacs. Ramirez drives them into the Fresno, California Save Mart Center, as he was born a stone’s throw away in Avenal, California. The difference is Ramirez is from stock with field-worker DNA and as the Central Valley is America’s bread-basket, his fans feel a kindred spirit with their hero. They go absolutely bananas cheering him on.
Ramirez typically has dozens of billboards around the valley advertising his fights and usually attaches a heart-warming cause to each promotion, such as the plight of the field laborer or adequate water rights for farmers. This title defense, Ramirez pledges donations to the fight against cancer. Top Rank is first class, but Ramirez’s manager, Rick Mirigian, an erstwhile concert promoter-type/hustler constantly pushes the cow town aspect of his fighter, which somehow burnishes Ramirez with fans as being a small-time fighter. I hope it doesn’t retard his national popularity growth/recognition. Perhaps an Al Haymon or a Cameron Duncan-type can intercede soon and open the gates to the big-time for him. He deserves it.
Pro boxing is incredibly dangerous and taxing. But the facts are that Crawford has escaped Nebraska for bigger venues and Ramirez’s stablemate, Mikey Garcia, is now set to engage in a firefight with Errol Spence at The Dallas Cowboy’s AT & T Stadium. Time for Ramirez and Team Ramirez to think BIG. Why? Because his aggressive, Mexican-style slugfest friendly approach will make for a short career and he best make hay while the sun shines. Many athletic, Black champions in both the 140 & 147 divisions would welcome a fight with the less nimble warrior. So built-in fights in-house and across the promotional street are relatively EZ to come by because no quick-footed big-shot boxers or their trainers see Ramirez as a career threat.
But beware, Ramirez brings a heart that can overcome many more athletic talents, and might drown them in those dangerous and deep waters as his durability will guarantee he drags them into the championship rounds.. So Ramirez could conceivably sneak into lucrative matches and cash in big-time.
His boxing ability allowed him to make the USA Olympic Team, so he out-boxed a ton of athletic boxers; so he’s got some skills in da bag he may be saving for a rainy day. Hey Ramirez. It’s raining cats n dogs out there. Start using your entire tool chest.
Listen to your trainer, Robert Garcia. Trust him. He’ll let you outta the cage for damned sure. And when he says "Box him". BOX HIM!!!!!!!
Notes From Deep in Your Heart of Hearts
Josesito Lopez got his azz kicked. Josecito Lopez also almost put Keith Thurman to sleep. So, welterweights, and fans of the welterweight champs: Josecito regularly spars Mikey Garcia. They get it on. But Josecito has never came close to buzzing Mikey. In fact, ask him how Thurman would do with Mikey. Oh... Mikey also gets down in sparring with those very muscular Eastern Europeans that are undefeated and making noise in several divisions. I’ve seen it personally. Mikey controls those big aggressive bastards... with ease. Better ramp up those training sessions Errol Spence. Many in the gyms have taken to calling Spence "The Baby SeaHorse" due to his seahorse-like facial features Gotta love boxing.
PacMan beat the brakes off of Adrien "About Bankrupt" Broner. I cannot believe that folks still pay to see AB do absolutely nothing in the ring. Then he boasts, "I won", and, "But I bet y’all gonna pay to see me again!", capped by the funny-as-hell and meaningless taunt, "I’m still AB!" AB, as I’ve previously noted, ad naseum, is a natural lightweight and must go down there to be effective. He doesn’t punch at wel;ter because he’s afraid of the damages of a welterweight punch, pure and simple. It hurts too damned much to really fight those naturally much bigger guys. Toothpick legs like Broner’s can’t stand up to that abuse. Broner vs Loma at say, 138. You got a fight on your hands. Loma’s punches won’t hurt after Maidana’s, Porter’s, Mikey’s, and Pacman’s bashings. That little AB nugget is just not built for that sort of punishment. AB’s limit: 135-140. Period.
Jorge Linares got put to sleep by a mediocre fighter in Pablo Cesar Cano. Linares, in his prior fight, put major league purple knots all upside Loma’s itty-bitty nugget and put the slender Loma on his azz with a very decent right hand. Imagine what Mikey would do?
Canelo Alvarez vs Danny Jacobs is a 60/40 proposition in my eyes, with Jacobs the favorite. Canelo had a ton of trouble with Floyd, Austin Trout, and Erislandy Lara. If Lara had stood and fought a bit more, as he did against Jarrett Hurd (well, not that much more--Canelo hits much harder) he would own a win versus Alvarez. Jacobs is that Black athletic fighter that Hard-hitting Latinos (particularly Mexicans) always have trouble with. Chavez Sr. vs Frankie Randall. Juan Manuel Marquez vs Floyd and Tim Bradley, Juan "Baby Bull" Diaz vs Nate Campbell. Canelo is an overblown 154 pounder. He’s facing a real middleweight who is not 40 years old like GGG (LOL) Canelo is under tight scrutiny so "The Juice’ or "The Carne" can’t help him in this one. Bad move by Golden Boy. Horrific move. A devastating loss could send Canelo to Palookaville. He may take a beating a horrible one. His corner would not believe their eyes and so would not stop it. Just like Oscar took waaay too long of a beating by PacMan. Nacho was a feted veteran trainer and he fed Oscar to Pac round after round. Eventually turning Oscar’s face into hamburger.
Richard Shaeffer was running around in the background not knowing how to stop the carnage. Even Oscar’s dad let him get roasted. I see the same for Canelo. Nobody will want to believe the gravy train is being derailed... so the fight is not stopped, but the result is damaged goods.
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