2012 US Olympian, Light Welterweight contender, Freddie Roach pupil, Top Rank hopeful, Now, World Champion. In front of a raucous St. Patrick’s Day crowd at the theater at Madison Square Garden, Jose Ramirez won an exciting yet convincing unanimous decision against fellow contender Amir Imam.
With three of the four major belts vacant less than two weeks ago, boxing now has three new champions in the division and will wait for the results of the April showdown between Terry Flanagan and Maurice Hooker to determine how the rest of 2018 will play out in what promises to be a fantastic year of matchups among the light welterweight upper class.
Ramirez (22-0, 16 KO), a California native, pressed the action for much of the fight and chased Imam for the better part of all 12 rounds. While never appearing to have Imam seriously hurt, he connected with multiple hard shots and had fully closed his opponents right eye by the end of the fight. Final scorecards from the judges were 115-113, 117-111 and 120-108. 117-111 was much closer to how most pundits scored the fight, with 115-113 seemingly too narrow and 120-108 an absolute joke.
With long-time rival promoters Don King and Bob Arum sitting next to each other ringside after a cordial but obviously uncomfortable televised interview during fight week, Ramirez was far more active and aggressive, throwing 800 total punches and landing 282 according to official CompuBox numbers. In Round 6, Ramirez landed a couple of hard right hands that buzzed Imam. Imam also looked slightly uncomfortable in Round 7 when the left hook from Ramirez started to land with regularity.
Despite being clearly outclassed in the fight, Imam (21-2, 18 KO) showed an excellent chin and some decent hand speed. One of the best punches of the fight was a nasty uppercut that landed clean on Ramirez in the first round. Imam also landed clean multiple times in the eighth round, but none of the shots landed appeared to dissuade Ramirez from coming forward. With obvious talent and heart, Imam remains a better than average pro but doesn’t appear to have knockout power against top tier competition. Imam also spent parts of the fight largely inactive.
Said Don King of the fight, “The kid (Ramirez) was relentless. Imam made him miss a lot, but he just didn’t throw enough punches.” According to CompuBox, Imam landed 189 of 653 punches.
Relentless was the perfect word to describe Jose Ramirez. After an entertaining nine rounds, Ramirez completely took over in 10, 11 and 12. Landing at will and forcing Imam onto his back foot, Ramirez battered his opponent for the remainder of the fight and Imam did well to stay on his feet. Said Freddie Roach of the performance, “I thought we would box him a little bit more, but the fight unfolded well. We would like a hometown fight next for Jose, but New York was great to us tonight.”
Now mandated to fight interim champion Regis Prograis, Ramirez will wait to see what deals can be made between Bob Arum and Lou Dibella for what would be a cracking fight. If a deal can’t be worked out, multiple options are now on the table. Whether that is the Prograis fight, a unification fight or a big name like Adrien Broner or Omar Figueroa, only time will tell. What ever happens, Bob Arum and Top Rank will be keen to make the highest profile and biggest money fight that can be made.