Jose Ramirez vs. Danny O’Connor on July 7 on ESPN
By Chris Williams: It’s now official that Jose Carlos Ramirez (22-0, 16 KOs) will be making his first defense of his WBC light welterweight title against #14 WBC Danny O’Connor (30-3, 11 KOs) on July 7 ESPN and ESPN Desportes from the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California.
The televised portion of the Ramirez-O’Connor card starts at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT. This will be the first defense for the 25-year-old Ramirez of his WBC 140lb title that he won on March 17 in beating #1 WBC Amir Imam (21-2, 18 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision.
It would be interesting to know why Top Rank picked from the bottom of the WBC’s rankings to select Danny O’Connor for Ramirez to fight instead of one of the talented contenders like Josh Taylor, Adrien Broner, Omar Figueroa or Alex Saucedo.
Those all would be far better options than the 33-year-old O’Connor, whose career has never panned out since turning pro ten years ago in 2008. O’Connor had a good amateur career in capturing the 2008 United States amateur light welterweight and 2008 National Golden Gloves 140 championship. As a pro, O’Connor has lost to Gabriel Bracero and Vivian Harris.
Ramirez will likely make quick work of O’Connor the same way Gabriel Bracero did in stopping him in the 1st round in their rematch on October 10, 2015. O’Connor is slow, easy to hit, and he’s not skilled enough on defense to keep out of range of shots. Against a high volume puncher like Ramirez, O’Connor is going to be over his head in deep water. Unless O’Connor’s leaky defense has improved dramatically since his loss to Bracero, he’s going to get bludgeoned in a real hurry on July 7 by Ramirez.
The fight the boxing fans wanted to see from Ramirez was against WBC interim light welterweight champion Regis Prograis (21-0, 18 KOs), but they don’t want to make that fight yet. Prograis and his promoters wanted the Ramirez fight, but after 2 canceled purse bids, they gave up on it for the time being. Prograis will be fighting on July 14 against Juan Jose Velasco (20-0, 12 KOs) in New Orleans.
If Prograis wins that fight, then he’s expected to compete in the World Boxing Super Series 140lb tournament. Prograis will likely win that tournament and then set his sights back on Ramirez. By that time, Top Rank will need to make up their minds whether they want Ramirez to take the fight with Prograis or have him vacate. If they don’t agree to the fight and if they don’t vacate, then Ramirez will likely be stripped of his WBC title by the World Boxing Council for failing to defend against his mandatory challenger Prograis.
It would obviously be better that Ramirez take the fight with Prograis rather than vacating his title or having it stripped from him. Unfortunately, there seems to be some reluctance on Top Rank’s part in making the Progais vs. Ramirez fight.
“Jose Ramirez is one of the brightest lights in the sport of boxing,” Ramirez’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank said. “He’s an incredible competitor and a great advocate for social causes like immigration rights.”
Ramirez is a good fighter, but I don’t know about him being the “brightest lights in the sport of boxing, as Arum says. Ramirez is perhaps the third or fourth best fighter at 140. I rate Ramirez at this spot in the 140 lb. division:
1. Regis Prograis
2. Kiryl Relikh
3. Sergey Lipinets
4. Jose Ramirez
5. Terry Flanagan
6. Ivan Baranchhyk
7. Josh Taylor
8. Victor Postol
9. Adrien Broner
10. Omar Figueroa
Ramirez is a good fighter, but he’s just not as good as Prograis, Relikh or Lipinets. The wheels could come off Ramirez’s game against guys like Figueroa, Flanagan, Taylor and Baranchhyk. Those are all tough outs for Ramirez.
“It has been my dream to become a world champion. It’s now my duty to defend this belt at home for my city, fans and everything I fight for,” Ramirez said.
This will be a good showcase fight for Ramirez, as he’ll be fighting in front of his boxing fans in Fresno, and it should be a very easy win for him.
It’s unclear what the end game is for Top Rank promoter Arum, as far as Ramirez goes. Arum had the chance to match Ramirez up with Prograis, but didn’t make that fight. Is Arum’s plan to try and turn Ramirez into a superstar in Southern California by putting him in showcase fights against over-matched bottom feeders like O’Connor or does he want to push to make him a star in a hurry by matching him against the best? It’s always better to find out what you have with a fighter early on rather than waiting until later. If Arum had let Ramirez fight Prograis on July 7, we’d find out whether he’s got a future, but unfortunately it’s not happening. I think Prograis would destroy a face first type brawler like Ramirez.