Jessie Magdaleno shows he’s a contender at featherweight
By Max Warren at ringside
Former WBO Super Bantamweight World Champion Jessie Magdaleno decisively beat the experienced Rico Ramos at The Hangar in Costa Mesa, California, as all three judges scored the bout in Magdaleno’s favor by a wide margin.
Going into Saturday night, it was a crossroads fight for the two former 122-pound champions. Ramos hadn’t won a big fight since winning the WBA Super Bantamweight World Title in 2011. He was knocked out in his next fight by two-time gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux and he hasn’t won a major fight since.
Heading into Saturday night, it had been nearly a year since Magdaleno’s last bout, in which he suffered a devastating knockout loss to Isaac Dogboe. Saturday night’s crossroads bout was a must-win for both combatants in order for either to be considered a serious contender moving forward.
Ramos started off on the wrong foot at the weigh-in, missing weight by over a pound. His struggles making weight showed in his performance. He didn’t fight at a high intensity, and didn’t throw any combinations of note until late in the match. Instead, it was Magdaleno who came out of the gate hot, firing a powerful jab and straight left that immediately backed up Ramos. Magdaleno set the tone early on, as he was the aggressor for nearly the entire first half of the 10-round co-main. He wanted to work Ramos’ body, since he knew Ramos struggled to make weight and would quickly tire if he was hit to the body often. It paid dividends.
Magdaleno continued to maintain his distance, using his jab and out-boxing Ramos, who was reluctant to pull the trigger and be the aggressor. Knowing that he was down on the scorecards and not doing enough, Ramos forced the action in the 7th. Arguably, Ramos hadn’t won a round up to that point. It marked the first time Magdaleno wasn’t coming forward. Ramos couldn’t continue throwing combinations, and his effort was not enough and too little too late in the fight to win. He was able to pressure Magdaleno more often from rounds seven through ten, but Magdaleno still had an answer for his offense and his success early on made it so Ramos couldn’t overcome the insurmountable deficit.
Magdaleno’s decision to move up to featherweight is wise, as his power and energy have clearly increased. He is now a contender at the weight, and could face WBO Featherweight World Champion Oscar Valdez, who also fights under the Top Rank banner. Another interesting fight for Magdaleno is a match-up versus Irish boxing star Michael Conlan. Conlan is still getting his feet wet as a pro, but facing Magdaleno would be a great step-up bout for him. Magdaleno’s power would not be too much for Conlan to cope with, and Magdaleno lacks experience at featherweight. With Conlan’s popularity among the Irish contingent, any fight he is involved in is major, and facing Magdaleno would be the biggest fight of Conlan’s career so far.
Regardless of what might be the next move for Magdaleno, he is a legitimate contender at featherweight and will eventually get a crack at a title. The options are there for him, and he has the ability to hold his own against anyone in the division.