Jose Ramirez makes a successful comeback against Jose Pedraza
Each day Jose Ramirez was back in the gym, he was reminded that he lost. He was reminded how he lost. He was reminded why he lost. He was reminded about the solemn quiet that surrounded him after he lost. He was reminded how he had to explain to his son that he was no longer a champ.
Beating tricky former two-division titlist Jose Pedraza would ease that pain Friday night in their 12-round junior welterweight main event from the Fresno Save Mart Center, in Fresno, California, Ramirez’s hometown, on Top Rank’s ESPN+ show.
Ramirez’s quest for his title belts began with 116-112 scores across the board in a 12-round unanimous decision victory.
“Jose Pedraza is a smart, experienced fighter,” Ramirez said. “He was going to find a way to survive and put up a fight. He was there boxing towards the end of the fight. My hat’s off to him and his team. He was well-prepared. It was a great fight. I got to see where I am right now.
“I was a little tense coming into this fight because of my last fight. Fighting at home, last minute, I got a little more tense than I thought I was going to be. I went out there and just boxed, had fun in there. I played it smart, used my jab, and I think I won more than eight rounds.
“Against anybody at 140… I’m going to go back, work and stay focused and stay active. That’s one thing that’s affected me these last couple of years. I’ve trained so many times for a little bit of fights. My inactivity, my discouragement throughout training camps, it really took a big toll on me. I’m ready to stay active and stay motivated. There’s a lot of really great fighters coming up to 140. There’s a lot of really good fighters at 140 right now.”
Ramirez (27-1, 17 knockouts) was the aggressor for most of the fight, though Pedraza (29-4, 14 KOs) was effective in rounds six through eight. The last four rounds Pedraza’s right eye began to swell. Otherwise, Ramirez controlled the fight with his pressure.
CompuBox punch stats showed Ramirez landed 31% (91/297) of his power punches, while Pedraza landed 23% (89/388) of his. Ramirez doubled up Pedraza in jabs landed 42-21. Ramirez also held a 41 to 18 advantage in body punches landed.
In the co-feature, featherweight contender Joet Gonzalez (25-2, 15 KOs) stopped Filipino veteran Jeo Santisima (21-4, 18 KOs) at 2:05 of the ninth round.
On the undercard, towering heavyweight southpaw Antonio Mireles (3-0, 3 KOs) stopped Brandon Hughes (2-1, 2 KOs) at 1:04 of the second round. Lightweight Karlos Balderas (12-1, 11 KOs) stopped Aelio Mesquita (20-7-1, 18 KOs) at :38 of the second round. Middleweight Javier Martinez (6-0, 2 KOs) won a six-round decision over Donte Stubbs (6-4, 2 KOs). Lightweight Charlie Sheehy (2-0, 2 KOs) stopped Johnny Bernal (2-1, 2 KOs) at 2:33 of the first round.
Lightweights Hector Tanajara (19-1-1, 5 KOs) and Miguel Contreras (11-1-1, 6 KOs) put on an action-packed fight that ended with an eight-round split-draw. Coming off his first career loss, junior lightweight Gabriel Flores Jr. (21-1, 7 KOs) won a 10-round majority decision over Abraham Montoya (20-3-1, 14 KOs).
Heavyweight Richard Torrez Jr., the 2020 U.S. Olympic silver medalist from Tulare, California, made a successful pro debut with a second-round stoppage over Allen Melson (6-4, 3 KOs) in a six-rounder.
“After the cut, I knew I had to get back to basics, and that’s what I did,” Torrez Jr. said. “I made sure to avoid additional head clashes, and I got the job done in the second.
“Sure, the cut is frustrating, but I’m not going to let it ruin the celebration. What a night. It was everything I’d hoped it would be. I didn’t know what to expect. I wanted to make a good first impression, especially in front of my home fans. They brought the energy, and I fed off the energy they gave me. The Central Valley is home, and I am proud to represent my people.”
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito.