Jose Ramirez bounced back with a solid win tonight at home in Fresno, winning by unanimous decision over Jose Pedraza and putting himself right in line for another shot at a 140 lb title.
Ramirez (27-1, 17 KO) won on scores of 116-112 from all three judges. Bad Left Hook had it slightly closer, scoring the fight 115-113 for Ramirez on our unofficial card.
Pedraza (29-4, 14 KO) definitely gave Ramirez a sincere test, and it was nice to see a fighter like Ramirez not come back from his first career loss with a “tune-up” or “get-well” fight. Pedraza is a legitimate contender, has won world titles in two divisions, and has a tricky style, with some slickness and real boxing ability, and a strong ring IQ.
Ramirez started the night looking to stay aggressive on the front foot, but Pedraza got the timing down on him in the middle rounds and went on a nice run in rounds six through eight in particular. Ramirez, though, did make some adjustments, stopped coming in on such a straight line, adding some head movement and using his jab a bit more down the stretch, setting up chances to land right hands.
He did it effectively enough to pull the fight out and claim a deserved victory. It wasn’t a thrilling fight, not a lot of high drama, but it was high-level boxing and Ramirez got back on the winning track.
“He’s a smart, experienced fighter. He was there boxing towards the end of the fight. My hat’s off to him and his team, he was well-prepared. I got to see where I’m at right now and where I’ve got to improve,” Ramirez said, admitting he was a bit “tense” in the fight.
“I think I won more than eight rounds,” he added. “But it was a great fight, and it’s always an honor for me to fight in my hometown.”
With Josh Taylor seemingly set to vacate all four world titles at 140 lbs, it’s very possible that Ramirez will be fighting for the vacant WBC title next, possibly in a rematch with Jose Zepeda, who has the top ranking with the sanctioning body. Ramirez beat Zepeda by majority decision in 2019, and says he’ll be ready for anyone.
“I’ll fight anybody at 140. I’m gonna go back and work, stay focused and active,” he said. “I’m ready to stay active and stay motivated. There’s a lot of great fighters at 140 right now and more coming up. I’ve faced a lot of great fighters, and there’s still a lot of fighters out there that will bring the best out of me. It doesn’t matter who it is.”
CompuBox saw Ramirez landing 133 of 554 (24%) of his total punches, and 91 of 297 (31%) of his power shots. Pedraza was at 110 of 586 (19%) overall, and 89 of 388 (23%) on power punches.
Richard Torrez Jr TKO-2 Allen Melson
Torrez won silver as a super heavyweight in Tokyo for Team USA, the country’s first medal in that division since Riddick Bowe in 1988, so there’s some hype behind him. But he’s got critics who wonder about his upside as a pro. I’m one of them, as much as I loved his run in Tokyo.
He’s about 6’2”, weighed in at 228 on Thursday. You can survive at that size in the modern heavyweight division, despite the general dominance of really tall dudes since Lennox Lewis rose to the top, followed by the Klitschkos, Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder, and Anthony Joshua. You can flourish in the division if (1) you get a little lucky on the right night, or (2) you’re an exceptional boxer, like an Oleksandr Usyk.
Torrez is not Usyk. He doesn’t have that style. He’s not particularly technically sound, he fights with a lot of nervy energy, and a lot of that nervy energy turns into sloppy brawling. We saw all of that tonight. He got Melson (6-4, 3 KO), a novice cruiserweight, out in two, but stylistically much more than size-wise, Torrez has an uphill climb as a heavyweight, or even as a “Bridgerweight,” which is a fake division, and he’s probably not gonna drop 30 lbs and be a good cruiserweight, plus no American wants to be a cruiserweight anyway.
If this is being a “doubter,” that’s fine, Torrez can prove me and other people totally wrong, then. If he does, it’s going to be really entertaining, so I’d be happy to be wrong. (He also seems like a nice dude, so I’d be happy to be wrong just because of that, too.) And if he doesn’t prove the doubters wrong, I think it’ll probably be entertaining anyway. He will not be boring.
Joet Gonzalez TKO-9 Jeo Santisima
California rules are that it’s a “KO” because they don’t acknowledge “TKO,” which I find really dumb, and since I don’t work for the California commission, I do not follow their goober rule. But Gonzalez got the ninth round stoppage.
The stoppage was a little awkwardly timed, but I don’t think it’s unfair. I had Gonzalez (25-2, 15 KO) up 77-75 after eight, but it might have been wider than that on the official cards, and Santisima (21-4, 18 KO) was really starting to take a beating, without question.
After the eighth round, referee Edward Collantes gave Santisima a warning that he was going to stop the fight if he thought he took too much more punishment, then Gonzalez didn’t land anything real big for over two minutes. As soon as Joet did land a clean right, Collantes stopped it. To me, if you’re going to stop it on the first decent punch that lands in the next round, just stop it before that round, especially if it takes a full two minutes for that punch to come in. But it’s an outsider’s nitpick, and Collantes was the one right there. And my problem — if you’d call it that — is not the stoppage itself, but just the timing. If you’re that sure between rounds, just stop it between rounds, I think.
A solid win for Gonzalez, who picks up a regional WBO belt and could find himself in line for another shot at that belt, which is still held by Emanuel Navarrete, but Navarrete has talked about going up to 130, too, and he left Top Rank and Zanfer last November. He hasn’t made any further official decisions since then, so any number of things could happen with him and that WBO belt at 126.
Undercard results and highlights
- Gabriel Flores Jr MD-10 Abraham Montoya: Scores were 95-95, 96-94, 96-94, so Flores (21-1, 7 KO) eked out the decision to bounce back from a really punishing loss to Luis Alberto Lopez last September. Flores and his father, Gabriel Sr, said post-fight that he’d be going up to 135, that trying to get under that anymore is just not working. They — and Mark Kriegel, doing the interview — spoke like the fight wasn’t close, but it was. Montoya (20-3-1, 14 KO) is a limited fighter but he’s tough as hell and doesn’t go away, and that alone gave Flores some problems. Flores doesn’t have big power, isn’t really as slick as you’d like a guy to be without that power, gets hit a good bit. He’s only 21 and maybe the extra few lbs really will help, it has happened. Probably won’t turn him into a puncher but he could have better legs for longer in fights without feeling weight drained. He held a ton in this fight and probably should have been docked a point, but he absolutely has heart, fighting that 10th round like he needed it to win, which was smart, because he did. You believe him when he says he’s a fighter, not a boxer, because that truly seems to be the case. It just might not jibe with his actual skill set against better fighters.
- Hector Tanajara D-8 Miguel Contreras: Well, not the outcome either guy wanted, but neither guy takes a second straight L, either. This was an OK fight, decent action, but I think in a way that displayed dual limitations. Tanajara (19-1-1, 5 KO) isn’t a puncher at all but really wants to be, Contreras (11-1-1, 6 KO) isn’t much of a puncher, either, but was better getting in close and mauling it up. Tanajara is tall and long for 135 lbs, but he just doesn’t always use that to his advantage — or nearly enough — either because he doesn’t want to or he can’t, either way it’s an issue. William Zepeda walked over him, basically, but Contreras isn’t Zepeda. The scores were 77-75 Contreras, 78-74 Tanajara, and 76-76. I had it 76-76 and think all the scores are defensible, a rare draw where I don’t see much controversy other than the inherent controversy of any draw.
- Karlos Balderas TKO-2 Aelio Mesquita: Total mismatch. Balderas (12-1, 11 KO) is looking sharp and ferocious under trainer Buddy McGirt, and I think it’s time that the 25-year-old former Olympian maybe steps the competition back up a bit next time out. He’s smashed past his last three opponents since hooking up with McGirt and Top Rank following his loss to Rene Tellez Giron in 2019, he looks confident. I’m not saying chuck him in with a top tier guy, but maybe someone you can find in the BoxRec top 150 at least. Mesquita falls to 20-7-1 (18 KO) and was stopped for the sixth time in his career, dropped twice in the first round and again early in the second for the finish.
- Javier Martinez UD-6 Donte Stubbs: Martinez deserved this win, but this was not a good showing for the 26-year-old middleweight. Trainer Robert Garcia said he came into camp out of shape, and it showed in this fight. He was dropped once, not on a huge shot but he just got caught, and he clearly had conditioning issues in the last few rounds. Martinez (6-0, 2 KO) has always been a sort of “good but not great” prospect, doesn’t have big power, doesn’t have great speed or whatever, but an accomplished amateur. He’s also 26, which is a bit old for the level he’s still at, and Garcia has said his conditioning is now a consistent issue, so Martinez has a lot to think about. Stubbs (6-4, 2 KO) did his usual good job hanging around this fight, he’s a tough dude who comes to compete, and he did that again.
- Charlie Sheehy TKO-1 Johnny Bernal: Sheehy, 23, is a good lightweight prospect, 2018 U.S. National Champion or whatever, if that means a lot to you. Clearly has talent, is the most notable thing, and can crack a bit with both hands, it appears. Andre Ward was convinced this was “evenly matched” about 40 seconds in, and Bernardo Osuna jumped in to say that it was so unusual to see a prospect so evenly matched, and Tim Bradley agreed, and then Sheehy (2-0, 2 KO) started picking Bernal (2-1, 2 KO) apart, dropping him once and forcing a stoppage in two and a half minutes.
- Antonio Mireles TKO-2 Brandon Hughes: Mireles, aka “El Gigante” but not aka “Giant Gonzalez,” is a Robert Garcia-trained heavyweight, 6’9” with an 85-inch reach, not as ponderous or lead-footed as you might expect at that size. I don’t want to say he’s “like Tyson Fury” because straight up, nobody really is, but he’s a lot closer to Fury than he is to, say, a Nikolai Valuev lumbering brute. Mireles (3-0, 3 KO) dropped Hughes (2-1, 2 KO) three times in about four minutes to get the stoppage. Long way to go, but a project heavyweight worth watching.