Julian Ramirez readies himself for Abraham Lopez
Unbeaten Julian Ramirez is not your typical boxer.
Ramirez goes by the nickname of “El Camaron” (“The Shrimp” in Spanish). Very few fighters, including Ramirez, can pull off wearing a tejana (a Stetson-type of sombrero) after a hard-fought fight.
It has worked so far for Ramirez, who has been successful in creating a niche among boxing fans, especially those in Southern California. He believes his in-ring ability and aggressive style can parlay into bigger paydays and an opportunity at a major title down the line.
First he has to get by another unbeaten fighter in a battle of Southern California featherweights.
Ramirez will square off against Abraham Lopez Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Los Angeles, California. The 10-round bout will precede the highly-anticipated battle between WBC junior lightweight titleholder Francisco Vargas and Orlando Salido.
Both bouts will air live on HBO, beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/ 7:30 p.m. PT.
The Ramirez-Lopez bout is considered a solid step-up in opposition for each fighter. Both featherweights fight under the Golden Boy Promotions banner and the winner figures to take a significant step toward contender status.
Ramirez (16-0, 8 knockouts) is coming off his most impressive win to date as a pro on Jan. 29, notching a one-sided decision over former fringe contender Christopher Martin. On the same card, Lopez (20-0-1, 15 KOs) stopped Carlos Valcarcel after the seventh round.
The 23-year-old Ramirez, who resides in East Los Angeles, does not make much of the fact that Lopez is five years older and has more pro fights under his belt.
“I don’t feel any butterflies but that may change right before the fight,” Ramirez told RingTV over the phone on Tuesday night. “I’m right at weight, so that’s something that is not even on my mind. I’m very calm and I’m taking this opportunity as another fight. I’m very excited to be fighting on HBO and I’m very happy things fell into place.”
Ramirez is very familiar with Lopez, who resides in nearby La Puente. After a bout in March of 2012, Lopez did not fight for three years, earning his degree in respiratory therapy.
Ramirez claims two fighters turned down the opportunity to face him and Lopez accepted when the fight was offered.
“Third time is the charm, I guess,” quipped Ramirez.
Both fighters had crossed paths in November, when they participated in Golden Boy Promotions’ annual turkey giveaway in the Los Angeles area.
Ramirez did not think they would fight each other so soon but did believe it was only a matter of time before they would eventually meet. Ramirez and Lopez are part of a deep pool of featherweights Golden Boy promotes, including Joseph Diaz Jr., Ronny Rios, and Manuel “Tino” Avila.
“I didn’t think, at the moment, we would fight on this day (June 4),” said Ramirez, who is managed by Joel De La Hoya. “I knew, one day, it might happen because there’s a lot of featherweights Golden Boy promotes. We talked and hung out on that day. We were nice to each other but we know it’s a business.”
The business aspect of the sport has resonated more with Ramirez with each passing fight. As the opposition gets more difficult, Ramirez is all for enhancing his game as much as possible.
This is why he began working with trainer and former bantamweight titleholder Wayne McCullough, who is based in Southern California.
So far, Ramirez believes he has benefited from the amount of work he has done with “The Pocket Rocket.”
“Since I’ve been training with him, we’ve clicked. He was trained by Eddie Futch, who was one of the best trainers in boxing. He told me he wasn’t going to change my style. He just told me to trust him and I have.”
The southpaw Ramirez has a bright future and it could illuminate more if he emerges victorious Saturday night.
The clash between Ramirez and Lopez could steal the show and the winner could reasonably become a candidate to face Joseph Diaz Jr. For Ramirez, Saturday is the beginning for bigger and better to come.
“I don’t feel I’ve done enough yet. I still feel like I’m at the beginning. Saturday feels like my pro debut. We’re both not used to losing. We’re both undefeated. I’m confident and I believe I’m going to win.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper, BoxingScene.com and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.