Jose Ramirez looks to make statement Sunday, hopes for big fights in 2019

Jose Ramirez has the formula for being one of the biggest names in boxing and arguably is, but that said a good portion of boxing fans still view him simply as “the Fresno guy”. Ramirez, who has fought for water legislation for years in the central valley, made the 2012 Olympics at of a small rural town of Avenal, Ca, and now is helped bring a cancer facility to Clovis, Ca, along with being a Mexican-American, the target demographic for boxing. Yet, somehow Ramirez is viewed by some as low as fifth in the super lightweight division, a division in which he holds the WBC super lightweight world title and arguably has the best resume of any of the current champions.

This is flat-out unfair as Ramirez has fought as tough of a schedule of opponents as anyone in his division with the only thing hurting him being a positive trait. Ramirez sells tickets in his local market and he has a promoter in Top Rank willing to back him. It seems as though nowadays, fans and some of the media alike, want to get behind the underdog, or the undiscovered gems, as a common belief is fighters can be built up into something that might not be entirely true.

That being said, Ramirez has fought a murder’s row in his last three bouts and his upcoming bout is no easier. Ramirez fought undefeated Mike Reed, whom he stopped to get a shot at the vacant WBC super lightweight title shot, Amir Imam for the world title and undefeated Antonio Orozco, with Imam being the only fighter who had suffered a loss prior, the rest never lost bout before facing Ramirez.

Ramirez, this Sunday, February 10th will face Jose “Chon” Zepeda, a former Top Rank fighter, who also happens to train with Ramirez’s former coach, Freddie Roach. Roach though is noticeably absent from the pre-fight festivities as he has WBA World super featherweight champion Alberto Machado fighting against Andrew Cancio at Fantasy Springs Resort in Indio, CA, as Roach will only arrive on fight night. 

Ramirez, who gave, an extensive exclusive, stated that it is not a factor, as he respects Freddie Roach, but also knows that his current coach, Robert Garcia is a good coach as well, and is focused solely on the fight itself. That being said, for the fans, it is sort of a fan element of theatre to watch take place as the coach who helped Ramirez win a world title, now will oppose him with a talented fighter. 

Zepeda is a hard-working slick southpaw, who saw an injury loss to Terry Flanagan in a world title fight, interrupt what looked to be a promising career, as Zepeda, fell into the dreaded spot of being a good fighter, without adequate promotion. In short, Zepeda was avoided for a long period of time by fighters with a lot to loss from fighting him. 

For Ramirez, it is go-time in terms of getting to life changing money. Ramirez has started something in Fresno, that may never be duplicated, in terms of impact upon the community, fighting at a world-class level as well as having a major promoter who has invested so much time into him. Now is the time in his career in which he can challenge the best fighters in the world, for the best purses in the sport, if he can get through Zepeda. 

So essentially, what are you tuning into see on Sunday, February 10th on ESPN, live at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, Ca, if you watch the show. You’re seeing Jose Ramirez try to make another case to be in the running to fight a Vasyl Lomachenko or Regis Prograis in a big money bout, one that merits worldwide attention, something that outside of the Amir Imam, he hasn’t gotten as much of outside of California and Las Vegas, Nevada. 

For Zepeda, it is to right past wrongs, and live up to his billing that those in the gyms of Southern California have labeled him a boxing prodigy and some of the best work in the area. 

The end result will be told on Sunday evening, but this is a bout with two fighters, who have a lot to loss, and are giving it their all. 

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Lukie Ketelle

Lukie Ketelle