Jose Ramirez is finally set to defend his WBC and WBO junior welterweight titles against WBC mandatory challenger and former titleholder Viktor Postol this weekend on ESPN+ (Sat., Aug. 29, 7:30 pm ET), after the fight was twice scrapped already this year due to coronavirus.
Who wins the overdue showdown? Our staffers make their picks.
This is a hell of a fight to have postponed twice and sitting on the shelf for basically a year at this point. Ramirez and Postol were supposed to meet in February, but they were the first fight canceled, as they were scheduled for China. Then it was the spring, and it got canceled then, too. And now we’ve got it.
It’s not a bad fight, Postol is still probably a top five guy at 140 coming into this bout, but the thing is there’s a pretty sizable gap between the top three and the rest of the division at the moment. It was nearly five years ago that Postol shocked most and dominated Lucas Matthysse on HBO, and since then we’ve seen him go 3-2, outclassed by Terence Crawford and Josh Taylor, but outclassing the likes of Jamshidbek Najmitdinov, Siar Ozgul, and Mohamed Mimoune, as it was figured he would.
Postol is a good, technically sound veteran fighter, but I think he had his One Big Night and that’s pretty much it. Ramirez is aggressive and certainly makes some mistakes, but he’s also eight years younger and a lot fresher than the Ukrainian. I do think Postol will pick up some rounds, but Ramirez’s pressure and determination, combined with Postol’s lack of pop, should give the fight to the defending titlist without any controversy. Ramirez UD-12
I suppose I sort of doubted Jose Ramiez’s form heading into his meeting with Maurice Hooker last year. Ramirez came in fully prepared for that fight and it showed by the way he handled his opponent. Ramirez sports a good left hook and looks to throw it often, and at age 28 he should be hitting his physical prime where he can really assert himself on most opponents.
Postol, while a capable technician, simply has his best days behind him so far as I can tell. He’s still good enough to play a role towards the top of the division, but he’s not good enough to beat either of the 140lb titleholders in my estimation. My guess is that Postol tries to play a range game with Ramirez which just might see him through the first half of the fight before Ramirez starts to land and do damage. Ultimately, I’ll take Ramirez to win by late stoppage. Ramirez TKO-10
Patrick L. Stumberg
Viktor Postol made his name by shocking the super lightweight division’s most dreaded bruiser at the time; it’s only fitting that his potential swan song come against one of the meanest 140-pounders in the game. Fond as I am of Postol, though, I don’t see lightning striking twice. Ramirez just seems too durable and pathologically aggressive for a 36-year-old “Iceman” to keep at bay for 12 rounds.
Between Ramirez’s power and gas tank, Postol’s odds of both forcing and winning a technical boxing match without getting battered in the process look slim, especially since the Ukrainian has less pop in his hands than Jose Zepeda and has been dropped in three of his last five bouts. Ramirez is just going to land too hard and too often for Postol’s moments of technical superiority to overcome. As against Zepeda and Maurice Hooker, Ramirez marches his lengthier opponent down and slugs away inside to claim victory. Ramirez TKO-9
It’s third-time lucky in the COVID Classic between two guys who will be touching all the wood (ooh-err!) to ensure they finally hear the first bell on Saturday. Back in January when I found out this fight had been cancelled due to “some virus in China,” who thought we’d end up where we are today?
Not much has changed in the thinking behind this fight. Ramirez is a heavy, heavy favourite, but Postol offers the champion the opportunity to underline just how good and adaptable he can be in a fight. Ramirez’s power and aggression make him really fun to watch but against the old, experienced head of Postol may have to think as well as throw.
Postol is good at dictating the distance and will look to tie Ramirez up when he gets in close. His left counter can’t be slept on and despite being dropped four times in his last five fights, is yet to be stopped.
I think Postol will frustrate Ramirez in pockets, but the class of the champion will shine through. Ramirez UD-12