WBC junior welterweight titleholder Jose Ramirez needs a next opponent, and that could be decided on Friday on the Lomachenko-Crolla undercard in the fight between prospect Arnold Barboza Jr and faded veteran Mike Alvarado.
Bob Arum said that Ramirez (24-0, 16 KO) will be at the show, and that he’d like to match Ramirez with the Barboza-Alvarado winner, possibly in another event at Los Angeles’ Staples Center.
The 26-year-old Ramirez won his belt in March 2018, beating Amir Imam for the vacant title. He’s defended two times since, out-slugging Antonio Orozco last September, and winning a narrow majority decision over Jose Zepeda on Feb. 10. Both of those fights took place in Fresno, where Ramirez has become an impressive draw.
27-year-old Barboza (20-0, 7 KO) has a pretty thin record to date, with his best win coming over Mike Reed in March 2018. And the 38-year-old Alvarado (40-4, 28 KO) hasn’t fought anyone good since an ugly 2015 loss to Brandon Rios, although he has won six straight.
But Ramirez needs to fight someone, and to be entirely fair to Top Rank, much of the division’s top talent is locked up in the World Boxing Super Series tournament right now, including Regis Prograis, Josh Taylor, Ivan Baranchyk (who may or may not be in the tournament, but that’s a whole other ordeal), and Kiryl Relikh. As for titleholder Maurice Hooker, he’s with DAZN.
The best opponents easily available to Top Rank would be the likes of unbeaten Frank Warren fighter Jack Catterall and former lightweight titleholder Ray Beltran. Truthfully, both of those guys would probably be preferable to the Barboza-Alvarado winner, but Top Rank is working with a limited field here either way.