Tonight at 8 pm ET on ESPN, the vacant WBC junior welterweight title is on the line in the main event, where Jose Ramirez takes on Amir Imam at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Ramirez (21-0, 16 KO) is unbeaten and has looked great in recent outings, ripping through his opposition, including Mike Reed last time out in November. Imam (21-1, 18 KO) is a former blue chip prospect who suffered a setback against Adrian Granados in late 2015, and has bounced back with three straight wins over marginal opposition.
These fighters have the skills and styles to make for an entertaining bout tonight, so you won’t want to miss this one. Put off your St. Patrick’s Day bar crawl for a couple hours.
On the undercard, light heavyweights Oleksandr Gvozdyk (14-0, 12 KO) and Mehdi Amar (34-5-2, 16 KO) will fight for the interim WBC title, and top featherweight prospect Michael Conlan (5-0, 4 KO) will be in action, as well.
Wil Esco will be here for the round-by-round. Join us!
- MICHAEL CONLAN def. DAVID BERNA by TKO (1:00 of Round 2)
- JOSE RAMIREZ def. AMIR IMAM by UD (115-113, 117-111, 120-108)
- OLEKSANDR GVOZDYK def. MEDHI AMAR by UD (117-111, 116-112, 118-110)
Round by Round
Michael Conlan vs David Berna
Round 1: Conlan comes out witha controlled jab. Berna coming straight forward and Conlan looking to pick him off. Conlan cuffs Berna’s head which pushes to the canvas. No knockdown. Conlan warned for pushing as he just tries to bully Berna. Body shot drops Berna who barely beats the 10 count! Berna is hurt but makes it to the bell. Conlan 10-8.
Round 2: Berna comes out with a tight guard as he’s still recovering from that body shot, but now a left hand to the head puts Berna back down! Berna again barely beats the count. Conland coming after Berna and the referee steps in to stop it. Conlan TKO-2.
Jose Ramirez vs Amir Imam
Round 1: Imam takes his measure early and pops a good jab. Now Imam follows it up with two more that find the target. Ramirez rushes forward with a couple of power shots as Imam tries to pivot away. Ramirez comes with a few more punches but Imam gets in a sharp, straight left. Ramirez is keeping the pressure on and looking to land some thunder. Hard jab to the body lands for Imam. Imam slips and weaves a few hard punches but Ramirez is being really aggressive early. I think this is a close round but I’ll just edge it to Imam. Imam 10-9.
Round 2: Ramirez gets in a straight right to the body right away. Ramirez follows up with a flurry of shots that has Imam on the defensive. Ramirez gets in a nother right hand and is showing almost no respect for Imam’s power. Imam gets in a counter right hand but Ramirez eats it and continues to come forward. Imam lands a jab but Ramirez gets in a grazing right hand. Ramirez is really bringing the fight to Imam, looking like he’s trying to replicate the Adrian Granados recipe. Hard left hook to the body lands for Ramirez. I like Ramirez in this one. Ramirez 10-9, 19-19.
Round 3: Ramirez comes forward with four power punches, getting to Imam’s body a little. Imam tries a flashy left hook-right hand. Ramirez goes down on a slip as Imam stepped on his foot and it’s ruled as such. Three left hooks to the head and body come from Ramirez with Imam on the ropes. Imam tries to roll another combination but he’s not punching nearly as much as Ramriez, and even if not totally effective the judges might be favoring his work. I think Ramirez is outworking him. Ramirez 10-9.
Round 4: Imam comes out featuring his jab again, but Ramirez tries to walk right past it and land a left hook as Imam tries to duck down to his right. Hard jab lands for Imam. Ramirez whiffs on a left hook this time but now lands an overhand right on Imam’s face, Imam shakes his head. Jab to the body lands for Imam. Nice counter right lands for Imam. Ramirez lands a counter right hand over the rope but Imam comes back with three sharp punches. Imam tries another couple jabs at range to end the round. Imam 10-9, 38-38.
Round 5: Ramirez comes out pressing once again and has Imam along the ropes again. Ramirez tries two hard shots that Imam is able to evade. Jab to the body lands for Imam. Ramirez tries to pivot into a home run right hook but can’t find the target. Now Ramirez gets in a left hook upstairs with Imam on the ropes. Hard left hook to the body lands for Ramirez. Close round, close fight. I’m going to slightly favor Ramirez. Ramirez 10-9.
Round 6: Ramirez tries a right hand to the body that Imam is able to pull off of. Ramirez gets in a right hand upstairs. Imam continues to use his jab on the outside but that punch aside, he doesn’t seem super comfortable. Ramirez gets in a big right hand to the head that gets the crowd’s attention. Imam gets in a jab but takes two shots in return. Imam has to hold on as he’s feeling the constant pressure provided by Ramirez. Ramirez 10-9, 58-56.
Round 7: More jabs come from Imam and more power punches come from Ramirez. That’s the fight in a nutshell. Ramirez keeps working that left hook as Imam tries to keep the fight at arms reach. Hard left hook looks like it hurt Imam a little. Now Imam lands another one. Ramirez is landing that fight too easily for my liking, and it’s starting to take a toll on Imam. I’m going to edge it for Ramirez again with with effective power punches and work rate. Ramirez 10-9.
Round 8: Imam is starting to make an effort to go downstairs a little more and gets in some good shots in this round. Imam is making a stand here and throwing a lot of hard shots, landing on Ramirez! Now we have a fight people! Imam is standing his ground more and looking to take it to Ramirez to halt his forward momentum. Imam is doing much better with this new approach. Ramirez gets in some shots, and Imam does too. Both fighters letting their hands go. Ramirez gets in a good left hook that Imam rolls a little. I’m going with Imam in this one. Imam 10-9, 75-77.
Round 9: Ramirez makings sure he gets off first in this round and Ramirez lands a shot that has Imam going backwards. Both fighters are trading shots again at center ring at close quarters. Sneaky right hook lands for Ramirez, then a left hook, then a right hook! Imam is really fighting but Ramirez is getting in some good shots on the inside, a distance where Imam’s defense appears to be lackluster. A few more power shots land for Ramirez, who is bleeding from the mouth. This is a fun fight! Ramirez 10-9.
Round 10: Ramirez throwing combinations to the head and body while Imam tries to find counter opportunities. Imam’s corner seem to know he’s down on the cards and want him to get more aggressive. Ramirez is walking Imam back and tries to physically wear on Imam. Imam tries to go downstairs but misses and Ramirez does the same, but Ramirez comes right back with more punches. Ramirez lands another right hand upstairs and Imam’s head has been snapping back in this round. Imam ties up to the bell. Imam’s nose is bleeding. Ramirez 10-9, 97-93.
Round 11: Ummm...ESPN apparently had some technical difficulties and we lost the first full minute to open the 11th round. Imam’s right eye looks busted up bad and Ramirez continues to land that left hook to the head. Ramirez has Imam trying to hold on as Ramirez pours it on. Two more shots land for Ramirez. Imam’s defense is faltering. I’ll score it based on the 2 minutes I saw. Ramirez 10-9.
Round 12: I think Imam needs a knockout to win on the cards, or at least a few knockdowns. But Ramirez comes out fast, rushing right after Imam like a shark chasing chum. Ramirez wants to close the show as Imam dances from side to side, trying to bide his time. Imam is looking like a real mugging victim in the ring. Another left hook lands for Ramirez. Ramirez 10-9. I’ve got it 117-111 for Ramirez. He worked Imam over.
Oleksandr Gvozdyk vs Medhi Amar
Round 1: Gvozdyk using sound defense and pressure to Amar. Amar still throwing a lot of punches and Gvozdyk. Gvozdyk still showed much more power on his shots early. Gvozdyk 10-9.
Round 2: Gvozdyk moving Amar around the ring but Amar is still using some subtle defense and pumping a regular jab to keep Gvozdyk honest. Gvozdyk gets off a hard combination on Amar followed by a solid right hand over the top. Gvozdyk continues to come forward a has Amar hiding behind the earmuffs. Left hook and uppercut lands for Gvozdyk. Gvozdyk 10-9, 20-18.
Round 3: Gvozdyk uses constant jabs to back Amar back to the ropes immediately. Another counter overhand right touches Amar, but was just inches off from doing real damage. Amar tries a left hook to the body. Now Gvozdyk throws a hard right hand to the body at the end of a short combination. Amar now tries four punches of his own but can’t find the target. Amar walks into a short Gvozdyk uppercut. Amar is here to fight and has some craft but Gvozdyk is doing the better damage. Gvozdyk 10-9.
Round 4: Gvozdyk lands a solid jab in a trade between the fighters. Gvozdyk continues to land that counter right over the top, which is almost a chopping punch. Hard right hands badly stun Amar who is holding on for dear life! But Amar throws a big one back but he still clearly is hurt a little. Amar is able to survive the moment and throws a few hard punches back of his own but he walks right into two straight punches which snap his head back! Amar adding more head movement but the damage is soaking in. Gvozdyk’s right eye looks a little swollen but he has his best round of the fight. Gvozdyk 10-9, 40-36.
Round 5: Amar comes out and throws a few jabs at Gvozdyk. Gvozdyk tries to control Amar with his open palm but gets quickly warned about it by the referee. Hard right hand to the body lands for Gvozdyk. Amar whips in a right hand to the body but Gvozdyk takes it well, he’s clearly a little fresher despite the right eye swelling up. Gvozdyk tries a four punch combination but lands maybe one. Gvozdyk 10-9.
Round 6: Gvozdyk comes out with a few punches that has Amar on retreat. Amar is able to stick in two jabs but has to back up right away as Gvozdyk wants to respond. Amar uses a nice weave to duck a Gvozdyk hook and circles out of danger, momentarily anyway. Gvozdyk presses him right away again and throws a short combination with Amar on the ropes and gets in a left hook to the body. Amar now wants to slug it out a little and gets in a nice right hand of his own. I almost want to give Amar this round but my better judgement won’t let me me. Gvozdyk 10-9, 60-54.
Round 7: Gvozdyk has Amar on the ropes early but Amar throws two jabs to keep Gvozdyk at bay — they don’t really land but keep him occupied. Hard right hand lands for Amar, splitting Gvozdyk’s guard. Gvozdyk clips Amar’s chin with a left hook. Gvozdyk is able to defend well and then presses Amar back who loses his mouthpiece. Referee finds the first opportunity to put the mouthpiece. Amar lands a good left hook right hand combination but that pisses off Gvozdyk who comes back and Amar throws more back! They’re exchanging shots and Amar is showing some guts in there. What the hell, Amar landed some good shots in that round. Amar 10-9.
Round 8: Gvozdyk is able to continually move backwards for the most part but Amar is using that to walk Gvozdyk into some counters every now and then. Not often enough though, and Gvozdyk is pretty sharp with his punches. Sharp jab lands for Amar. Gvozdyk backs Amar up again with some punches and Amar tries to retaliate but can’t land well. Gvozdyk 10-9, 79-73.
Round 9: Gvozdyk comes forward with a lead right hand. Now Gvozdyk sets up a left uppercut that lands hard. Amar gets in another sharp jab which has done the damage to Gvozdyk’s right eye. Amar tries a combination that’s blocked and catches a counter right in return. Sneaky left uppercut to the body lands for Amar. Now Gvozdyk is coming back again with touching combination punches, trying to find the big one. Hard couple of shots land for Gvozdyk to end the round. Gvozdyk 10-9.
Round 10: Gvozdyk lands a straight jab square on Amar’s nose. Now Gvozdyk throws in a feel-out combination, continuing to probe Amar’s defense. Amar walks into a right hook from Gvozdyk with snaps his head. Amar has shown real durability in this fight. Gvozdyk almost looks like he’s coasting and is no longer applying the pressure to Amar, instead letting Amar come to him. Now Gvozdyk gets in a combination at the bell. Gvozdyk 10-9, 99-91.
Round 11: Amar comes out dancing around the ring a little as Gvozdyk tries to cut off the ring. Now Gvozdyk lands a good left hook to the body which he hasn’t really targeted in quite a while. More touching shots land for Gvozdyk, very Lomachenko-esque. Now Gvozdyk gets in a couple more partially landing blows who has doubled Amar’s landed power punches to this point. Amar gets in a left hook at the bell but sadly it’s not enough. Gvozdyk 10-9.
Round 12: Gvozdyk backs Amar back into the corner and unloads a right hook. Gvozdyk looks like he might be picking it up a little to close the show. Amar still has some pep in his step in this final round so it looks like he’ll make it to the final bell, even if he’s getting washed on my scorecard. Hard left hook lands on Amar’s chin. Hard left hook lands for Amar! But Amar is bleeding badly from his left eye now! Amar isn’t dancing this fight out, he’s trying until the very end. Gvozdyk 10-9. I’ve got it for Gvozdyk 119-109.