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The Avila Perspective, Chapter. 14: Ramirez vs. Orozco Under the Radar

David A. Avila

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All eyes are directed toward the middleweight world championship clash this weekend between Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, and deservedly so. But a few interesting fights should not be overlooked.

In Northern California a super lightweight fight between WBC champion Jose Carlos Ramirez (22-0, 16 KOs) and perennial contender Antonio Orozco (27-0, 17 KOs) takes place on Friday Sept. 14, at the Save Mart Arena in Fresno, Calif. ESPN will televise the Top Rank card.

Ramirez, 26, a 2012 US Olympian, always perplexed me as a talented fighter with speed but seemed to be matched with tailor-made foes that suited his busy style. Most of his opponents were overwhelmed by his barrage of blows but you always wondered what would happen against technically proficient fighters?

The clouds of doubt began to separate after Ramirez (pictured on the right) dissected Mike Reed and then Amir Imam in back-to-back fights with the last win handing him the WBC world super lightweight title in New York City of all places. It’s a place where fighters of Mexican descent seldom won by decision.

Now he faces a veteran contender in Orozco.

“Antonio is a very active fighter in the ring. He’s a pressure fighter like myself, and I’m more than excited to be facing fighters like him. I consider Antonio to be one of the very best in the division,” said Ramirez who trains in Riverside, Calif. with Robert Garcia.

San Diego’s Orozco is a prizefighter whose reputation of savagely working the body has kept him in the public eye for many years. But when he failed to make weight on a HBO televised card that set him back a few years. The question for Orozco: has he already peaked?

“This is the opportunity that every fighter wants to get to, and mine came at the right moment,” said Orozco, 30, who is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions. “Things happen for a reason. I’m here in Fresno in front of a great champion. I’m ready. That’s all I can tell you.”

Ramirez fights under the Top Rank banner and Orozco for the Golden Boy flag, whenever these two organizations pit their fighters against each other you can expect an explosion in the boxing ring.

More Fresno

This fight card would fit perfectly in Las Vegas between the Friday and Saturday bouts but Ramirez has ticket appeal in Northern California so Top Rank placed the heavy duty lineup in Fresno.

Costa Rica’s Bryan Vasquez recently signed with Top Rank and meets Carlos Cardenas in a lightweight contest set for 10 rounds.

Vasquez, 31, is a slick counter-puncher who lost a razor close decision to Ray Beltran a year ago. Many, including this writer, felt he should have been given the win in Los Angeles. The Costa Rican seems to have bad luck when it comes to crucial fights but few have the boxing skills he possesses. He’s married to female super welterweight world champion Hanna Gabriels and since their marriage she’s improved immensely.

Facing Vasquez will be Venezuela’s Cardenas who moved to Mexico to get more fight opportunities. He’s a veteran who has fought former world champions Robert Easter and Juan Diaz but tasted defeat against both.

Japan

Another intriguing fight pits Japan’s Hiroki Okada (18-0, 13 KOs) against Cristian Coria (27-6-2, 11 KOs) in a 10 round super lightweight clash.

If you follow Japanese boxing you probably noticed that a wave of fighters from that warrior nation have been arriving the past several years. Last weekend boxing fans saw Kazuto Ioka wake up the crowd at Los Angeles and viewers around the country with his constant attack in dominating a very good McWilliams Arroyo.

Okada, 28, arrives with glittering credentials and faces a tough Argentinean in Coria who has never been stopped. It’s a good opportunity to see what the Japanese fighter can do in his American debut. All of his fights have taken place at the legendary Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.

If all goes well he could be placed against Ramirez or maybe interim WBC titlist Regis Prograis. Suddenly the division looks even more exciting.

Saturday in Las Vegas

A clash between Canada’s David Lemieux (39-4, 33 KOs) and Ireland’s Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (28-2, 20 KOs) has gained considerable traction from their verbal wars on social media. It will be televised on HBO pay-per-view on Saturday.

Both have promised a knockout and with 53 knockouts between them it’s well within their fistic capabilities. Both also lost to current WBO middleweight titlist Billy Joe Saunders. On paper it’s a very even fight. On social media it’s a fight fans delight.

Lemieux, 29, a former world champion who bravely made his first and only world title defense against Golovkin three years ago, gets an opportunity to trade blows with somebody who will stand right in front of him and his steam roller style.

“He has a big mouth. He likes to talk garbage on social media. He’s not the best kind of guy,” said Lemieux. “I’m going to knock him out and make a lot of people happy.”

O’Sullivan, 34, brings his pressure style and his 1880’s moustache to the world stage and won’t have a problem finding Lemieux. Despite being in his mid-30s O’Sullivan started late at 24 so his body does not have the normal wear and tear that fighters have at that age.

“He’s going to be cooked. He’s very one dimensional. He does the same thing over and over again. He says the same stuff over and over again,” said O’Sullivan of Lemieux. “I fight like a Mexican. Watch out David, you’re getting knocked out.”

Words can mean “bombs away” when they jump in the ring on Saturday.

Chocolatito and More

Former four-division world champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez returns and the world will see just how much the Nicaraguan great still possesses.

Gonzalez (46-2, 38 KOs) meets Mexico’s Moises Fuentes (25-5-1, 14 KOs) in a super flyweight battle set for 10 rounds at T-Mobile Arena. It will be shown on HBO pay-per-view.

So far the super flyweight division has not treated Gonzalez very well. Fighting at 115 pounds has proved to be Kryptonite to the super fighter who had ravaged whole divisions since he started out in 2005. But back-to-back losses have uncloaked his weaknesses. It’s been a year since he last fought.

Fuentes, 30, is a former minimum weight world titlist and like Gonzalez has not looked good once he moved up. He was knocked out in round one by Japan’s Daigo Higa earlier this year when he fought for the WBC flyweight title. He was also knocked out by Kosei Tanaka last December 2016 when he fought for the WBO light flyweight title.

It’s a litmus test for Chocolatito, no doubt.

Also on the card are a couple of heavy hitting youngsters from the Golden Boy stable.

Welterweight prospect Alexis Rocha (11-0, 8 KOs) fights out of Santa Ana, Calif. and most of his knockouts happen in the first round. The southpaw slugger is trained by Hector Lopez and is the brother of Ronny Rios.

Rocha meets hard-hitting Mexican Carlos Cervantes (11-2, 11 KOs) in a moment-of-truth kind of fight. All of Cervantes wins have been via knockout. The Mexican from Torreon started late in the fight game at age 29. He’s now 34.

Super lightweight prospect Vergil Ortiz Jr. (10-0, 10 KOs) fights out of Riverside, Calif. but is a native of Dallas. The long armed Texan has never reached the final bell. He’s very aggressive but not careless. He destroyed former world champion Juan Carlos Salgado in his last outing this past June.

Ortiz, 20, faces knockout punching Roberto Ortiz (35-3-2, 26 KOs) of Torreon, Mexico who has lost his last two fights. They do not seem to be related. The Mexican Ortiz fought and lost to Lucas Matthysse by knockout in 2014. But that’s nothing to be ashamed about. Both fighters are explosive in this battle of the Ortiz’s.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

To comment on this article at The Fight Forum, CLICK HERE.

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Boxing Promoter Michelle “Raging Babe” Rosado Pulls No Punches

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Michelle Rosado, the founder and CEO of Raging Babe Promotions, made her promotional debut on Feb. 8, 2019 with a show at South Philly’s intimate 2300 Arena. The show drew an SRO crowd, a testament to Rosado’s tireless work ethic, but ended on a sour note when local fan favorite Christian Carto – potentially the next big thing on the Philadelphia boxing scene – stepped up in class and was brutally knocked out by Mexican veteran Victor Ruiz. A protégé of Hall of Fame boxing promoter J Russell Peltz (pictured on the left), Rosado recently appeared on the “Last Stand Podcast with Brian Custer” to share her thoughts on some of the major issues in boxing. Here are excerpts from that interview compliments of publicist Keisha Williams.

ROSADO ON WHY CLUB SHOWS ARE IMPORTANT TO THE SPORT

“Club shows are where you are building those prospects, that’s where you’re developing those fighters you see the top promoters are pulling these opponents from. We’re developing these guys from the ground up, we’re almost like a farm system. Most of these guys you see on TV fighting for millions of dollars, and becoming world champions, a lot of them started at the club level.”

ROSADO ON STATE OF WOMEN’S BOXING

“Women’s boxing needs a platform, there’s nowhere for these girls to fight, they deserve some fairness in our sport. I’m not trying to say they deserve to be paid the same as Canelo, but they shouldn’t be paid 5 thousand dollars to defend their titles either, so in 2021

I’m going to get more involved in women’s boxing and try and be a voice for them because they deserve better and a platform.”

ROSADO ON HOW DIFFICULT IT IS BEING IT IS BEING A FEMALE PROMOTER IN BOXING

“I’ve been called every racial slur you can think of, I’ve had tickets thrown in my face, I’ve had my house vandalized, I’ve had a brick thrown threw my back window of my car. I’ve been called every kind of groupie you can imagine. She’s slept with everybody in the business and every fighter. I’ve earned my stripes, I’ve worked hard, no handouts, it’s just been all hard work and I’ve had to learn to turn the cheek. Most people know nine years in that I’m a hustler. You’ll never find a fighter that says she stole from me, she didn’t pay me, she lied to me, you’ll never find a fighter that says that!”

RAGING BABE ON FEMALE BOXING PROMOTERS

“Yes we have a lot more women in boxing, yes it still a little more difficult for us, but we’re there you hear us roaring. Behind every big promoter, he’s got a woman either as his right hand man or running the operation. And I mean all of them!”

ROSADO ON HER ULTIMATE GOAL

“I want to continue to promote good fights, I want to make Philadelphia the legendary fight town that it once was, I want to develop those guys from the ground up, I want old school and new school boxing fans to come to my shows and fall in love with boxing again, and them become interested in the bigger boxing world again because we’re losing that old school boxing fan. I want to uphold the reputation of real fights, real fighters, real fans that’s my passion.”

ROSADO’S TOP 5 POUND FOR POUND LIST

  1. Terence Crawford
  2. Canelo Alvarez
  3. Errol Spence Jr.
  4. Naoya Inoue
  5. Teofimo Lopez

Rosado on who’s boxing next big star and the best fighter out of Philly right now

“Boxing’s next big star is Tank….We got a lot of really good fighters in Philly, but Jaron “Boots” Ennis is that dude!”

The full in-depth interview is now available on YouTube (Last Stand Podcast with Brian Custer) and all major podcast platforms (Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, etc.)

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

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HITS and MISSES: Post-Thanksgiving Weekend Edition

Kelsey McCarson

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It was another massive weekend in boxing. There were big fights on pay-per-view that maybe shouldn’t have been so big, and fights surrounded by lesser fanfare that will probably be looked back at as the more meaningful action by future historians.

Here are the biggest HITS and MISSES from another week on the boxing beat.

HIT: Mike Tyson, Roy Jones and the Unifying Power of Boxing

Whatever you think about the boxing exhibition bout between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones, Jr. on Saturday night, the most important aspect of the whole night (to this writer at least) was seeing how easily a big fight in boxing could still unify our culture.

No, it wasn’t a legitimate prizefight, but people still wanted to see the 54-year-old Tyson go a few rounds with the 51-year-old Jones, and that’s exactly what they got. It was a ride built mostly around the power of nostalgia, and it featured all sorts of present-day celebrities, too.

By the end of things, it seemed the general reaction to the event on social media was positive.

Tyson vs. Jones showed how big a reach boxing still has. Tyson retired over 15 years ago, but people from all over the planet were still willing to pay $50 to watch him climb inside the ropes for a sparring session.

Seeing that left me with two exciting questions.

What awesome power will boxing’s next superstar have?

More importantly, where is he (or she) anyway?

MISS: Ring Announcer’s Steve Harvey Moment 

In 2015, comedian Steve Harvey accidentally announced the wrong winner of the Miss Universe pageant. As humiliating as that event was for Harvey, just imagine how the two women felt after having their hearts filled and slashed by his error.

That same thing sort of happened on Friday night when Danny Jacobs beat Gabriel Rosado via split decision in a 168-pound stay-busy fight streamed by DAZN.

Ring announcer Jeremiah Gallegos accidentally said the winner hailed from Philadelphia (where Rosado is from) before quickly changing it back to Brooklyn (where Jacobs is from).

So momentarily, the hard-luck Rosado, who never has been the beneficiary of a close decision in any important fight, thought he had just pulled off the upset of the year.

Instead, Jacobs was corrected as the winner and that had to be an awful experience for both fighters, one that was completely avoidable.

HIT: Joe Joyce: An Actual Juggernaut?

Heavyweight prospect Joe Joyce is a popular fighter on the other side of the ocean because of his long and successful campaign as an amateur boxing star which culminated with Joyce winning the silver medal for Great Britain in the super heavyweight division at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Still, as a professional prospect, there are lots of things not to like about Joyce. First, Joyce didn’t start boxing until he was 22. Late bloomers come around now and then, but they’re still a rarity in the sport. Second, Joyce is already 35, which means he’s already just outside the confines of his theoretical physical prime, something that ends around 33 years old and only gets worse. Finally, Joyce is just plain slow as molasses.

Regardless, Joyce stopped fellow Brit Daniel Dubois on Saturday in London.

Unlike Joyce, Dubois, 23, possesses plenty of attributes one looks for in a future world champion. But none of those things helped Dubois win the fight.

All this to say Joyce just keeps winning fights. Sure, he might appear to be a boulder tumbling slowly down a hill when he fights, but that rock is starting to gain some real momentum.

HIT: 54-1

Thailand’s Wanheng Menayothin finally lost a fight over the weekend, but it should be noted that at least the fighter finally knows his limits.

Menayothin (aka Chayaphon Moonsri) entered his fight against Petchmanee CP Freshmart (aka Panya Pradabsri) with a sterling record of 54-0. He left the contest 54-1 after judges rendered their verdict for the challenger.

Much was made of Menayothin’s glossy win streak last year when he surpassed retired boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather’s 50-0 mark. But a combat sports culture obsessed with suffering no blemishes on a record is only a relatively new phenomenon. Moreover, the very nature of that path through the sport never reveals the true limits of a fighter.

All this to say that Menayothin now gets a better sense of his limits, and the boxing world as a whole gets to know that same thing about him, too. That’s wildly better than the alternative.

MISS: Nate Robinson Challenge

If you missed the Tyson vs. Jones pay-per-view event on Triller over the weekend, you didn’t see social media star Jake Paul’s viral knockout of ex-NBA star Nate Robinson.

It was clear from the start of the fight that Paul and Robinson weren’t evenly matched. That kind of thing happens all the time in boxing, of course, but here was a case of a person (Robinson) who maybe had been so mismatched against Paul that it was too dangerous to have happened at all.

Regardless, Robinson did have the courage to train for the fight and step inside the ropes on fight night.

After he was knocked out, something called the “Nate Robinson Challenge” started trending on Twitter, and it was basically people from all over the world trolling the 3-time NBA dunking champ for getting knocked out in the fight.

Look, Robinson made his own bed by calling for the fight in the first place. But the Internet trolls that rag people for stepping outside their comfort zones probably would never dare to attempt that accomplishment themselves.

Robinson tried and failed. That’s the real challenge.

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Tyson and Jones Box to an Unofficial Draw in a Predictable Stinker

Arne K. Lang

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The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, an American institution, went belly-up in 2017, but a different kind of circus played to an empty house at the Staples Center in Los Angeles tonight. The main attraction wasn’t Jumbo the elephant but Iron Mike Tyson in his first ring appearance in 15 years. In the opposite corner was Roy Jones Jr, who at age 51 was the younger man by three years.

Tyson vs. Jones was the main piece of a 4-hour boxing and music festival live-streamed in the U.S. on the TysononTriller.com app at a list price of $49.95. This was the first live event on “Triller” which allows people to create their own music videos and was designed as a rival to China-owned TikTok, one of the biggest recent success stories in the internet world.

The California State Athletic Commission, which sanctioned the match, insisted that Tyson vs. Jones would be an exhibition. They would fight 8 two-minute rounds with 12-ounce gloves and if there were a knockdown, the referee would not give a count and the bout would or would not continue at his discretion. The rounds would not be scored and no winner would be named.

Of course, the promoter chafed at these restraints and did his best to create the impression that this was a legitimate prizefight. Retired boxers Vinny Pazienza, Chad Dawson, and Christy Martin were lassoed to serve as judges, scoring the fight from a remote location, and the WBC commissioned an honorary belt to present to the winner.

The advance hype was enormous. A clickbait-obsessed media lapped it up including photoshop-enhanced images of Mike Tyson’s physique.

In the second round, Tyson landed a double left hook and that was the only indelible moment in the match. By the third round, both looked and sounded tired and by the sixth round Jones was thoroughly gassed out and took to clinching to make it to the final bell.

For the record, the scores were 79-73 for Tyson (Martin), 80-76 for Jones (Pazienza), and 76-76 (Dawson). On the internet, the clear consensus was that Tyson had the best of it.

Mike Tyson, 50-6, 2 NC (44 KOs) last fought in June of 2005 when he was stopped by third-rater Kevin McBride. Roy Jones (66-9, 47 KOs) was active as recently as 2018 and won his last four, but against hand-picked opponents including a boxer making his pro debut. His last fight of significance came in 2011 when he was brutally KOed by Dennis Lebedev in Moscow.

Jones, who weighed 210 ½ tonight, weighed 157 when he made his pro debut in 1989. In his prime, he was pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world, but that was back in the previous century.

Both fighters were reportedly guaranteed $1 million with Tyson’s take potentially reaching $10 million if certain financial targets were met.

Other Bouts

YouTube sensation Jake Paul, who we reluctantly concede has more than a modicum of talent in the fisticuffing department, knocked out Nate Robinson in the second round and it was a clean knockout with Robinson knocked out cold. The 36-year-old Robinson, the former NBA point guard who was a three-time slam dunk champion during his 11-year NBA career, is a well-rounded athlete, good enough to start as a cornerback in football during his freshman year at the University of Washington, but his athleticism didn’t translate to the squared circle as he looked like a common bar brawler.

Former two-division belt-holder Badou Jack (22-3-4), who said he appeared on the card as a favor to his friend Mike Tyson, was a clear-cut winner over hard-trying but out-classed Blake McKernan in an 8-round cruiserweight match.

At age 37, Jack’s career is winding down. He tipped the scales at 188 ¾, 14 pounds more than in his previous engagement vs. Jean Pascal. McKernan, a natural cruiserweight from Sacramento, was undefeated coming in (13-0), but was in over his head against Jack, a former Olympian and veteran of seven world title fights.

In a good action fight, Worcester, Massachusetts lightweight Jamaine Ortiz, a carpenter by trade, improved to 14-0 (8) with a seventh-round stoppage of Sulaiman Segawa (13-3-1), a Maryland-based Ugandan.

In the first bout on the program, Fort Worth featherweight Edward Vazquez improved to 9-0 (1) with an 8-round split decision over Jamaine Ortiz stablemate Irvin Gonzalez (14-3).

Heavyweight Juiseppe “Joe” Cusumano improved to 19-3 (17) with a sixth-round stoppage of late sub Gregory Corbin (15-4). It was the fourth straight loss for the 40-year-old Corbin who came in at a beefy 291 ¾ pounds.

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

 

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