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The Five Career-Defining Moments of Jose Ramirez’s Boxing Career

Basic Info: This week Avenal, California’s own Jose Ramirez, will return to the Fresno region that he built along with manager Rick Mirigian, during the last decade, transforming Central California into one of the boxing fight hubs of California. Ramirez, who last lost to Josh Taylor, becoming an undisputed world champion in the process, will face a two-division world champion in Jose Pedraza, who is the best Puerto Rican fighter since Miguel Cotto, and a two-division world champion. As if that isn’t enough – this is Ramirez’s first fight since losing as professional, and now he returns home to his fans without the belt.

The fight sums up everything that we know about Ramirez, despite losing, Ramirez is going in with a top guy and a dangerous opponent, something that sadly, we don’t see all that often in the big money fighters anymore.

How To Watch: Friday, March 4th, with the first bout at 5:30 PM – being broadcast on ESPN+ or you can buy tickets to see the event at the SaveMart Center in Fresno, California here.

01) Ramirez wins world title against Amir Imam

The biggest moment of Jose Ramirez and his career-defining moment was when generational great Terence Crawford won all four belts at the 140 lbs division and quickly moved up to welterweight to pursue bigger fights, the WBC super lightweight title was vacant. Ramirez would face Amir Imam for the vacant WBC super lightweight world title.

The build-up was odd. It was about Ramirez’s promoter, Bob Arum, and Imam’s promoter, Don King, with the narrative around the old promoters feud, and not much about the guys in the ring. Beyond that, the fight took place in New York, across the country from Ramirez’s loyal fanbase in Central California, and even Imam who was from New York, was from upstate New York. Though it was a world title fight, it didn’t completely feel like the ship knew the course it was taking, as it appeared to be a fight that got Top Rank a world title fight, at a notable venue – but beyond that, nothing else.

That being said, Ramirez, one of the best modern Mexican action fighters in the past decade, put forth his crowning achievement as a fighter, as he withstood the big punches of Imam to rally past him in the championship rounds and prove that he was an elite, world-tier fighter, and beyond that a world champion. Ramirez’s ability to sell tickets, and make money in the Fresno area had some questioning the validity of his resume or career, as the evil word of “all-hype”, was thrown around by some believing Ramirez was an industry creation – this win silenced that non-sense.

Ramirez would go on to make four world title defenses and even go to DAZN, a rival network to defeat Maurice Hooker for the WBO super lightweight world title, all with a new coach, Robert Garcia, as after winning the world title against Imam with Freddie Roach, Ramirez decided to work with Garcia. Ramirez was a unified world champion, and one of the best of his era.

2) Ramirez’s Humanitarian Efforts Outside The Ring

Jose Ramirez, along with Rick Mirigian, built a lot of support in the Fresno area, as Ramirez’s felt the need to give back to those in his community. He put on a lot of shows in his home region offering fighters a chance to fight on massive cards, something a lot of the fighters didn’t take advantage of.

During Donald Trump’s presidential term, Ramirez would use the language of “pro-immigrant and proud.” Ramirez, who grew up in a town based around farm-labour was a voice for the voiceless and always tried to champion causing that could create funding, job growth, and betterment for Mexican-American, in particular, who were being exploited, or not given fair finnicial treatment.

The son of imigrants who migrated to California from Mexico in 1987, Ramirez never forgot who he was as a person, even with fame. Ramirez also saw a bigger picture with his platform than the ring he fights in, and the political framework around his career, is just as vital to understand as his career in the ring.

The loss to Josh Taylor

Jose Ramriez challenged Josh Taylor last year for all four of the acknowledged world titles, yet – he lost by a narrow points decision, as the two knockdowns Taylor scored against Ramirez looked to be the difference. Taylor seems to be the modern Joe Calzaghe, if not better, though his story is still unwritten, Taylor feels and looks the part of a future hall-of-famer.

Ramirez has not fought since this fight, as the bout was level until Taylor dropped Ramirez, as Ramirez tried to rally back, late winning a lot of the rounds at the tail-end of the bout, but it was too little, too late.

Ramirez will be always associated with Josh Taylor, as Taylor appears to one of these once in a generation-type fighters, and Ramirez gave him all he could handle. As Taylor’s legacy grows, I think people will respect Ramirez, more and more – or at least, they should.

04) Olympian from Avenal, California

To my knowledge Jose Ramirez is the only Olympian from Avenal, California, ever, well – maybe not, but the only one we remember.

Ramirez emerged out of a small farming town, that is not known for much other than farm larbour and a hard-working mindset. This same town birthed a man who fought one of the best ever, Vasyl Lomachenko.

Ramirez never got his respect for becoming an Olympian, as his style of pressure was always looked to have a ceiling – and yet, Ramirez like all the greats used that as motivation. Ramirez continued to win, and those from other regions continued to doubt him – from an Olympian-to-a-pro it was Jose Ramirez, his local fans, media, friends, and whoever versus the rest of the world who not just didn’t give him credit, they didn’t seem to even watch his fights.

It reminded me of the Golden State Warriors during the Monta Ellis and Steph Curry days in which east coast journalists wouldn’t stay up to watch Warriors games, and didn’t acknowledge the players on the west coast outside of the Lakers.

05) Ramirez’s up-and-down performances in Home Region

Ramirez has had a mixed bag of performances at home in Fresno, California region. Ramirez’s win against Mike Reed was his best performance of his career, yet he has been dropepd by Johnny Garcia at the SaveMart Center and had a tough night against Jose Zepeda.

It seems that being a role-model in the community, and having a lot of obligations sometimes effects Ramirez’s performances, as some of his greatest performances have come on the road – in fact his title wins against Amir Imam and Maurice Hooker.

Whenever Ramirez fights in Fresno – we never truly know what will happen as his bout with Antonio Orozco was a gun-fight until Ramirez took over as well. When Ramirez fights at home, he either performs well, or has a bit harder fight. I am curious to see how he fights facing a world champion level opponent in Jose Pedraza, after coming off his first career professional loss in his home region, fighting for his fans.

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Lukie Ketelle

Lukie Ketelle