Tomorrow night we'll be getting a double-dose of boxing from ESPN2 and Showtime, as Friday Night Fights is back on The Worldwide Leader (#2) and ShoBox returns to its actual purpose with a pair of good fights featuring prospects.
We'll have more on the ESPN2 card tomorrow morning, but right now let's talk about this ShoBox double-header. In the main event, undefeated lightweight prospect Luis Ramos Jr (20-0, 9 KO) takes on tough veteran Raymundo Beltran (25-5, 17 KO) in the 10-round fight, and this will be a chance to really see what Ramos has.
Ramos, 23, is a talented southpaw who has had a couple of decent wins already, but has also never looked truly exceptional or anything. In other words, we're not talking about what looks like a blue chip prospect, but he's young enough to continue to improve, too. He's got wins over Walter Estrada (UD-4), Cristian Favela (UD-6), and Allen Litzau (TKO-2), but we've gotten to learn more about him in his last three fights.
The most notable of the lot was the fight against Jose Hernandez on March 18 of last year. Hernandez doesn't have a pretty record at 11-5-1 (5 KO), but the Texan is a durable, tough, and solid fighter, much better than his record makes him look, and he's also had a questionable split decision loss to Michael Perez and a draw against Mickey Bey Jr to his credit, and I really feel he beat Bey.
But after looking shaky, Ramos came back strong, handling tricky vet Francisco Lorenzo (UD-8) without much trouble in June, and then dominating David Rodela (KO-5) in late September.
Beltran, 30, is the right next step. He's not an elite fighter, but is damn sure good enough to give a prospect a test, as we saw last May when he took Sharif Bogere to the limit on ShoBox. If Ramos can get by Beltran without any big bumps in the road, he could emerge as a player at 140 over the next year.
[ Related: Bogere vs Beltran, Full Fight Video ]
In the 10-round lightweight co-feature, the aforementioned Michael Perez (15-0-1, 9 KO) returns against fellow unbeaten prospect Omar Figueroa (13-0-1, 10 KO) in a youngster vs youngster fight. 21-year-old Perez of Newark has gone on a bit of a tear since sneaking by Jose Hernandez, as Ramos has so far, going 4-0 with stoppages in each bout, including wins over familiar trial horses Ira Terry and Tyrone Harris.
Figueroa, 22 from Weslaco, Tex., hasn't faced the same level of competition thus far, but has received a little pub over the years, not all of it great. He has come off at times as being too cocky for his own good. The last time we saw Figueroa, it was in August, when he came in three pounds overweight to face Marcos Herrera on Solo Boxeo Tecate, and then pretty much just plowed through him. Figueroa is talented, but now he's going to face a live body. This is when ShoBox is at its best, when we really get to learn something about two prospects in one fight.
At Thursday's weigh-in, everyone was on point with a 135-pound limit in both fights. Ramos came in at 134.8 to Beltran's 134.2, while Perez was 134.6 to Figueroa's 134.4.