Opening Bell: Ramirez comes of age

After Jose Ramirez’s 2012 U.S. Olympic look, he got here into the professionals as a heralded 21-year-old prospect with an incredible left hook who was nonetheless in want of numerous improvement. I noticed most of Ramirez’s early fights and all the time had questions on whether or not he would change into a prime skilled, and I wasn’t the one one. However right here we are actually and Ramirez, 26, of Avenal, California, has change into not solely a prime junior welterweight — maybe the very best within the division — however one of many largest sights of any American fighter, largely due to how he has endeared himself to his hometown followers along with his relentless group service.

The son of Mexican immigrants who as soon as picked fruit within the Central California fields, Ramirez confirmed how good he has change into and the way widespread he’s with a spirited and shut majority determination over Jose Zepeda — a reliable challenger — in the primary occasion of the Prime Rank Boxing on ESPN card Sunday evening on the Save Mart Heart in Fresno, California.

Ramirez has fought there many instances and all the time drawn large crowds, however none have been greater than the 14,034 he drew Sunday for a card that he used to assist increase cash for his “KO Most cancers” effort.

Junior welterweight world titleholder Jose Ramirez, proper, was put to the check by Jose Zepeda on Sunday. Mikey Williams/Prime Rank

That trustworthy crowd noticed Ramirez (24-Zero, 16 KOs) on an evening that was clearly not his finest, however he was nonetheless capable of chunk down and edge Zepeda (30-2, 25 KOs), 29, a southpaw from Lengthy Seashore, California, whose solely earlier loss was because of a dislocated shoulder in opposition to then-lightweight titlist Terry Flanagan in 2015.

Ramirez, making his second protection and in his second combat with coach Robert Garcia, received 116-112 and 115-113, with one choose scoring it 114-114, to outduel a fighter skilled by Freddie Roach, who had led Ramirez to the title earlier than being changed. Ramirez received off to a really gradual begin however got here again sturdy and asserted himself within the late rounds to drag out a well-deserved win for which Zepeda gave him credit score.

It was the sort of hard-fought victory that Ramirez actually earned, displaying simply how far he has come since turning professional with huge potential however many query marks.

Subsequent for Davis?

Junior light-weight world titlist Gervonta Davis (21-Zero, 20 KOs) has monumental expertise and, at 24, ought to have a protracted profession forward of him if he can keep targeted and out of hassle, which has been an issue up to now. However he is saying all the suitable issues now and regarded nice Saturday in Carson, California, the place he smoked late-replacement opponent and former junior featherweight titlist Hugo Ruiz (39-5, 33 KOs), 32, of Mexico, within the first spherical after injured Abner Mares had withdrawn every week earlier.

Native hero Jose Ramirez rallied to retain his junior welterweight title with an in depth, 12-round majority determination over Jose Zepeda on Sunday in Fresno, California.

Gervonta Davis wasted little time defending his junior light-weight world title Saturday evening, as he knocked out late alternative Hugo Ruiz within the first spherical.

Andrew Cancio overcame a gradual begin and pulled off a giant upset in defeating Alberto Machado by TKO in Spherical Four on Saturday evening in California.

2 Associated

Promoter Floyd Mayweather stated Davis’ subsequent protection will probably be in Might and there are additionally plans for a summer season Baltimore homecoming combat. However with the best way Mayweather spoke, do not anticipate to see Davis in opposition to an elite foe, sadly.

Mayweather made it clear earlier than the combat that although Davis is not turning down prime names, Mayweather and Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe are selecting Davis’ opponents.

“He do not decide and select. So, if y’all wanna criticize anyone, criticize me, criticize Leonard Ellerbe or criticize whoever, however do not criticize the fighters,” Mayweather stated. “The fighter’s job is to go on the market and combat and be the very best that they may presumably be.”

After the combat, Mayweather was at it once more, belittling the prospect (unlikely as it’s) of a combat between Davis and unified light-weight champion and pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko, which might be an enormous combat.

“We’re not going to name any specific fighter out, and it isn’t like we’re ducking and dodging anybody,” he stated. “Lomachenko has to combat as many fights as doable, extraordinarily fast, as a result of he is very, very outdated [30]. ‘Tank’ is like 10 or 11 years youthful than Lomachenko [six, actually]. Lomachenko will probably be 40 earlier than it. There isn’t any rush. ‘Tank’ simply has to maintain doing what he is doing. He is making the identical cash that Lomachenko is making and doing it simpler. Lomachenko is a hell of a fighter and I like Lomachenko, however after ‘Tank’ went and beat the champion up [Jose Pedraza for his first belt in 2017], Lomachenko went and beat Tank’s leftovers and he went the gap [with Pedraza in a December lightweight unification].”

Andrew Cancio earned a junior light-weight championship belt with Saturday’s upset KO of Alberto Machado in Indio, California. Tom Hogan/Golden Boy/Getty Pictures

Upset of the weekend: Cancio-Machado

This is the reason they combat the fights, as Andrew Cancio pulled off what could arise because the upset of the 12 months on Saturday in the primary occasion of Golden Boy’s DAZN card in Indio, California. Alberto Machado, making his third junior light-weight title protection, was an enormous favourite to beat Cancio, who retired after a knockout loss to Joseph Diaz in September 2016. However Cancio (20-Four-2, 15 KOs), 30, of Blythe, California, returned 19 months later and received a pair of lesser fights earlier than being fed to Machado (21-1, 17 KOs), 28, a southpaw from Puerto Rico, for what was alleged to be a simple protection.

Cancio, who works a day job for a fuel firm, survived a first-round knockdown from a left uppercut and started to harm Machado within the second spherical. He took over within the second half of the fourth spherical, flooring Machado 3 times. The primary time was with a proper hand to the abdomen from which Machado by no means recovered. Machado went down twice extra from physique photographs earlier than referee Raul Caiz Jr. waved it off at 2 minutes, 16 seconds.

The subsequent step: Machado stated he’d like a rematch, and he has a contractual choice for one, however he additionally stated he felt weak and would possibly go as much as light-weight. Cancio, in the meantime, celebrated a large win however will probably be again at work at his different job this week and can have a litany of 130-pounders calling him out.

Battle of the weekend: Beltran-Okada

Ray Beltran isn’t in a nasty combat and he had one other dramatic barnburner with Hiroki Okada, which Beltran received by ninth-round knockout within the Ramirez-Zepeda co-feature.

In his fourth alternative, Beltran (36-Eight-1, 22 KOs), 37, of Phoenix, lastly claimed a light-weight world title final February, however he misplaced it by determination to Jose Pedraza in August. Beltran made his return at junior welterweight for a troublesome combat with Japan’s Okada (19-1, 13 KOs), 29.

It was an absolute slugfest from the beginning, with the second spherical an early candidate for spherical of the 12 months. Beltran dropped Okada with a left hook and survived an assault late within the spherical as Okada rocked him with a proper hand. Beltran finally floored Okada twice with rights within the ninth spherical, and referee Jack Reiss stopped it at 2:09 when Okada’s nook threw within the towel. Beltran led 78-74 on one card however the different two had it 76-76 on the time of the stoppage. Only a terrific combat.

The subsequent step: Beltran would really like one other world title combat. Whomever he fights, one factor is for positive: Followers are in for leisure. “We’re prepared for whoever Prime Rank needs to convey to the desk,” Beltran stated. “I am the kind of fighter that does not again down from any challenges. I am open to any alternative at 135 or 140 kilos.”

Fights you may need missed

Saturday at Indio, California

Junior featherweight Rey Vargas (33-Zero, 22 KOs) W12 Franklin Manzanilla (18-5, 17 KOs), scores: 117-108 (3 times).

Vargas, 28, of Mexico, retained his title for the fourth time with a no-frills efficiency in opposition to Venezuela native Manzanilla, 30, within the Machado-Cancio co-feature. Vargas survived a second-round knockdown from a left hand however regained management and outboxed Manzanilla, who had referee Raul Caiz Sr. dock him two factors for hitting behind the top within the seventh spherical and hitting on the break within the eighth. Vargas outlanded Manzanilla in 11 of the 12 rounds and completed with a 207-93 edge in punches landed, based on CompuBox.

Saturday at Fresno, California

Junior featherweight Carlos Castro (22-Zero, 9 KOs) W10 Genesis Servania (32-2, 15 KOs), scores: 100-90, 99-91, 98-92.

Castro, 24, of Phoenix, gave Servania a boxing lesson in a surprisingly one-sided rout on the ESPN+ portion of the Ramirez-Zepeda undercard. Castro’s abilities and velocity left Servania unable to mount any sort of severe assault as Castro scored by far his largest win. Servania gave featherweight world titleholder Oscar Valdez all he might deal with in a title problem in September 2017, however misplaced a choice. Servania received his subsequent three fights, then dropped right down to junior featherweight to face Castro.

Junior light-weight Andy Vences (22-Zero-1, 12 KOs) W8 Dardan Zenunaj (14-6, 11 KOs), scores: 80-72 (3 times).

Vences, 27, of San Jose, California, shouldn’t be removed from a shot at a world title and stayed busy with a shutout of Zenunaj, 31, a Los Angeles-based Kosovo native. Vences received his second combat in a row since a draw with fellow unbeaten Erick De Leon in 11 months in the past.

Heavyweight Guido Vianello (2-Zero, 2 KOs) KO1 Andrew Satterfield (Four-2, 2 KOs).

Vianello, 24, was a 2016 Italian Olympian and turned professional in December. He is very uncooked and a mission, however he has charisma and energy and there isn’t any rush. He took out Satterfield simply, dropping him with a mix early within the opening spherical and ending him with a follow-up assault of many unanswered photographs that pressured referee Rudy Barragan to halt the motion at 1:54.

Junior welterweight Cristian Coria (29-7-2, 13 KOs) KO3 Joel Diaz Jr. (24-2, 20 KOs).

Coria, 36, of Argentina, scored an upset in opposition to once-heralded prospect Diaz, 26, of Palmdale, California. Prime Rank put Diaz on the cardboard to have a look at him with the potential of signing him, however that is not occurring after Coria dropped him laborious within the third spherical after which for a second time with a brutal left hook. As Diaz stumbled to his toes, referee Rey Danseco waved it off at 1:50. Diaz was thought-about a prime prospect earlier than Regis Prograis drilled him within the second spherical two fights in the past in June 2017.

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