Tuesday, May 22, 2018  |


Jose Ramirez outbrawls Amir Imam to win vacant WBC junior welterweight title

Photo / @TRboxing


NEW YORK — Neither Jose Ramirez nor Amir Imam had ever fought at the championship level before meeting on Saturday at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. They both left the ring with respect as top fighters at 140 pounds, but only Ramirez left with a belt.

Ramirez applied pressure from bell to bell against the gutsy, craft Imam, winning a unanimous decision by the scores 115-113, 117-111 and 120-108, and earning the vacant WBC junior welterweight title.

Ramirez and Imam trade jabs. Photo / @TRboxing

It was a back-and-forth brawl from early on, with Ramirez (22-0, 16 knockouts), a 2012 U.S. Olympian from Avenal, Calif., targeting Imam’s body and coming back with the left hook, and Albany, N.Y.’s Imam (21-2, 18 KOs) working well behind his jab and landing occasionally with counter right hands.

The momentum turned for good in the eighth when Ramirez stunned Imam with a right hand in close, and sent him back to the ropes. Imam fought back with valor, but with his right eye closing rapidly from hooks, it was only a matter of whether he could finish the fight on his feet.

“This is a dream come true for me. I dedicate this fight to all the immigrants. I fight for them,” said Ramirez, 25, who has championed the causes of water usage rights and migrant farm workers.

Even in defeat Imam earned a great deal respect, and rehabilitated his image as a top fighter following his upset stoppage loss to Adrian Granados in 2015.

The fight headlined a live broadcast on ESPN, and may have been the last round between Don King and Bob Arum, long-time promotional rivals who worked together for several major events throughout the years, including Oscar de la Hoya-Felix Trinidad and Sugar Ray Leonard-Roberto Duran.

It was Arum’s Ramirez who emerged victorious, and now he faces the possibility of a showdown with Regis Prograis, who won the “interim” WBC title with a two-round blitzing of Julius Indongo on March 9.


Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and can be reached at [email protected].

  • Canek

    Guy’s annoying. Hopefully he and Arum don’t duck Prograis.

    • ceylon mooney

      startin to agree with everyone about prograis. ramimrez looked like a workhorse, but prograis looks like a lot more than the rest of em.

    • Ted Mendez

      Annoying? Get outta here, cracker. And why would he duck Prograis? He’s got nothing Ramirez can’t handle.

      • ceylon mooney

        uh uh. prograis beats ramirez decisively.

  • ceylon mooney

    ramirez kept it up. imam started out slick and fast with some great movement outboxin ramirez, but the fight sure didnt stay like that. as the fight went on imama slowed down ramirez walked right thru imams punches, ground him down, landed some heavy shots. good fight. id never heard of ramirez til recently then checked his record and understood why. his first fight against a known guy and its a title fight. he looked powerful, determined and steel-willed. i think he has trouble with a really good boxer, someone like yves ulysse, who may have had his career killed by making a joke out of cletus seldin and derailing that hype train. garcia will prolly have to put in some work like he did against lipinets.

    you know, there aint a lotta jaw-dropping talent at 140, there are a coupla standouts, but theres a LOT of competition at the sub-garcia level. i think these guys fight each other itd be a GREAT weight class with great fights.

    • philoe bedoe

      I agree…………

      • ceylon mooney

        if micky ward were in the mix now in stead of the mid 90s – 2003 hed have a coupla belts.

        • philoe bedoe

          I think so too………

  • Frank-dogg

    Ramirez’s effective aggressiveness and volume punching won him the fight. Ramirez took Imam’s best punch. Imam couldn’t keep him at a distance which Ramirez was too much for Imam. Good fight for the fans. I hope the Ramirez vs. Prograis fight comes to fruition.

  • Stephen M

    Why doesn’t Imam just keep his hands up?

    • ceylon mooney

      guess he relies on that upper body movement and sense of distance, which did him grest
      the first few rounds.

  • Floridastorm

    115-113. Come on. Ramirez only won 7 rounds? Imam was battered for most of the fight and is lucky he wasn’t KO’d. A couple of those rounds should have been 10-8 they were so lopsided. The funny thing is that Imam may actually be the best fighter in the 140 lb division and Ramirez handled him pretty well.

  • Black Oracle

    Decent scrap. Imam is not slick or quick enough to fight in the style he fights in. I just don’t get Imams game plan.

  • Left Hook2

    Great scrap. These guys were warriors who gave it their all. Props guys.

  • PrinceGian

    Interesting how one judge scored it 115-113 and another 120-108.

  • Emeka Nnaji Jr.

    Those score cards were pretty bad. I think 8 to 4 was legitimate, but man a clean sweep is ridiculous. Amir would have lost if he won with a card that bad. Amir fought a dumb fight. He was boxing pretty well, but once the pressure got to much he started to fight on the inside with no head movement. Ramirez is a good puncher and has an amazing chin. Go to the body or stay on the pivot.