Jose Ramirez has one more obstacle to deal with before he can attempt total unification. As per the contracts that allowed Ramirez to face Maurice Hooker and IBF mandatory Viktor Postol, the latter of whom he narrowly defeated this past Saturday, the WBO has ordered him to face mandatory challenger Jack Catterall. The pair have 20 days to negotiate, after which they’ll head to a purse bid with a $150,000 minimum.
This one’s been a long time coming; Catterall (25-0, 13 KO) first achieved mandatory status back in 2018, when Maurice Hooker held the belt. As unification takes precedence, he was forced to wait while “Mighty Mo” lost his title to Ramirez (26-0, 17 KO), occupying himself with wins over Oscar Amador and Timo Schwarzkopf. Then, of course, came Top Rank’s long and arduous efforts to actually stage Ramirez vs. Postol, which saw two cancellations before finally going down on Saturday.
While it obviously means an even longer wait before someone can claim undisputed status, this might actually work out in Top Rank’s favor. Ramirez was a bit uninspiring against Postol after a long layoff, making this an opportunity to better show what he brings to the table, and this could push Ramirez-Taylor back to a point where a live audience would be feasible without having to keep Ramirez on the shelf while Taylor deals with Apinun Khongsong.
Plus, you know, it’s a good matchup. Catterall boasts solid wins over Joe Hughes, Tyrone Nurse, Tyrone McKenna, and Ohara Davies, so while he’s not as battle-tested as Ramirez, he’s definitely proven his mettle.