Jose Ramirez vs. Amir Imam – preview & prediction
By Allan Fox: Jose Carlos Ramirez (21-0, 16 KOs) will be fighting for the vacant WBC light welterweight title against #1 WBC Amir Imam (21-1, 18 KOs) this Saturday night on March 17th on ESPN at Madison Square Garden in New York. The start time for the televised portion of the Ramirez-Imam card begins at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT.
The 27-year-old Imam is a 7-year pro with wins over Yordenis Ugas and Fidel Maldonado Jr. The handlers for Imam stepped him up a level in putting him in with Adrian Granados, and he was stopped in the 8t round in November 2015. You can say it was too soon for the lanky 5’10 ½” Imam to be put in with a good fighter. Since then, the handlers for Imam have backed him off from fighting quality opposition and given him three easy fights against journeymen Johnny Garcia, Jose Vidal Soto and Wilfredo Acuna. Imam stopped all three of those fighters and looked good, but he’d been beating those type of fighters before he was stepped up against Granados, and we saw what happened there. Granados dominated Imam from start to finish.
”Ramirez is a tough fighter – a real tough fighter and we know what we’ve got to do to win this fight,” said Imam. ”If a knockout comes, I will take advantage of it, but I am not going in there looking for a straight knockout. I have to fight real hard and get the rounds under my belt just in case. He may not come out aggressive. You never know. I can definitely match his power,” Imam said.
Ramirez is almost as tall as Imam at 5’10”, but he’s a busier guy in terms of his punch output. Imam will have to find a way to keep Ramirez off him, because he might choose to overwhelm him with punches the way he did against his last opponent Mike Reed. Ramirez showed no respect for Reed in jumping on him from the opening bell and scoring a quick 2nd round knockout. It would be better for Imam to try and use his two-inch reach advantage to box Ramirez instead of slugging with him.
Imam will have a puncher’s chance of winning if he gets in the trenches and unloads with his best power shots, but’s not a style that suits him. Ramirez wants to turn the fight into a war because that’s what he’s used to. That style will obviously catch up to Ramirez one of these days when he gets inside the ring with too much power for him to fight that way, but against the lanky Imam, he’ll have a good chance of knockoing him out fast if he can get him to brawl.
Ramirez is a 2012 U.S Olympian that Top Rank signed. He’s looked very good since turning pro in 2012, but he’s not been facing quality opposition. Top Rank has been spoon feeding the 25-year-old Ramirez weak opposition. Ramirez has recent wins over Mike Reed, Jake Giuriceo, Issouf Kinda, Tomas Mendez and Manuel Charr. Reed is a decent fighter, but not a great one. Ramirez knocked him out in the 2nd round. However, the glitter from that win was slightly diminished when Reed was beaten in his next fight by Arnold Barboza Jr. by a 10 round unanimous decision. Reed is not a good enough fighter to tell us whether Ramirez is the real thing or not. Top Rank should have matched Ramirez with Regis Prograis and/or Viktor Postol, because those guys have talent. If Ramirez could destroy those fighters, then you can say for sure that he’s got a lot of talent.
Ramirez is a good fighter, but not in the class of some of the more talented guys like Regis Prograis. Ramirez’s style of fighting might get him in trouble against the likes of Sergey Lipinets and Kiryl Relikh. Those guys would take advantage of Ramirez’s slow hands and his bad habit of squaring himself up to his opponents. Ramirez can’t fight like that against Prograis, Lipinets and Relikh without getting his head knocked off.
Imam is out if his class in this fight against Ramirez. We’re going to see a worse mismatch than the Granados-Imam fight. Ramirez will go after Imam from the opening bell and look to take him out with massive shots. If Imam hasn’t improved from his fight with Granados, then tis fight is going to end quickly with a knockout within four rounds. That’s what I’m prediction – a knockout for Ramirez in four rounds or less. If Imam could move a little bit, he’d buy himself some time and maybe get to the deeper rounds of the fight. Imam is too much like a stork on his feet, and he’ll make it easy for Ramirez.
The co-feature bout is Oleksandr Gvozdyk (14-0, 12 KOs) battling journeyman Mehdi Amar (34-5-2, 16 KOs) for the WBC interim light heavyweight title. This fight doesn’t make much sense. Gvozdyk should be facing a better opponent than 35-year-old Amar, who was recently beaten by Robert Stieglitz. The World Boxing Council is making it too easy for the 30-year-old Gvozdyk by letting him fight a journeyman for interim WBC 175 lb. title instead of top level guy. The WBC has Amar ranked #11 despite the fact that he was beaten by Stieglitz not long ago.
It’s good for Gvozdyk that he’s facing a vulnerable fighter in Amar for the interim WBC 175 lb. title, because that increases his chances of winning the fight. But it’s not a good fight fo the boxing fans. This is arguably a step down for Gvozdyk from his last fight against Craig Baker and his two fights before that against Yunieski Gonzalez and Isaac Chilemba. Those guys would likely have an easy time beating a fringe level fighter like Amar. It’s good for Top Rank that Gvozdyk can fight Amar for the interim WBC title. It’s almost a sure thing win for Gvozdyk. There are several better fighters in the WBC’s rankings that they could have insisted that Gvozdyk fight for their interim WB 175 lb. title instead of Amar. Here are just a few guys that Gvozdyk should be fighting: Felix Valera, Marcus Browne, Joe Smith Jr., Chilemba, Enrico Koelling. Vyacheslav Shabranskyy, Karo Murat, Eleider Alvarez and Andrzej Fonfara,
This will be an easy knockout for Gvozdyk. I see him knocking Amar out in the 2nd round. Amar was knocked out by Gvozdyk victim Nadjib Mohammedi in the 4th round in 2012. Gvozdyk stopped Mohammedi in the 2nd round in April 2016. The WBC might as well have had Gvozdyk fight Mohammedi again rather than letting Gvozdyk fight his victim Amar for the interim WBC light heavyweight title.