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Jose Ramirez vs. Regis Prograis fight not likely to happen now


By Chris Williams: It looks like the fight between WBC light welterweight champion Jose Ramirez (22-0, 16 KOs) and interim WBC 140lb champion Regis Prograis (21-0, 18 KOs) is dead in the water after Monday’s purse bid was called off without a new date for the rescheduling. Ramirez’s promoters at Top Rank aren’t eager to make the fight with the highly talented unbeaten Prograis right now, according to Dan Rafael.

Last Friday, a purse big was canceled for the Ramirez-Prograis fight and rescheduled for Monday. But now that purse bid has been called off as well. Just when Top Rank will be interested in letting Ramirez fight Prograis is anyone’s guess. Hopefully this doesn’t become a situation where the fight is strung out 6 years into the future like the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao fight. What a waste that would be if the boxing public had to wait 6 years to see Prograis and Ramirez fight. It’s not a fight that is worth waiting that long on. Besides, I don’t see Ramirez having a long shelf life. He didn’t look that great in his last fight against Amir Imam.

They want to build it up before they let the 25-year-old 2016 U.S Olympian Ramirez take it. Some boxing fans believe that Top Rank is afraid to let Ramirez take the fight because Prograis is fighting at such a high level right now. There’s a good chance that he would beat Ramirez badly, knock him out and spoil Top Rank’s plans of trying to turn him into a star.

It would have been better for Top Rank if they had never let Ramirez go after the vacant WBC 140 lb. title in the first place, because when you become a champion, you can’t avoid the talented fighters like Prograis forever. But in this case, it looks like Ramirez won’t have to worry about Prograis ending his short title reign just after he won the vacant belt last March in beating Amir Imam by a 12 round unanimous decision.

The 29-year-old Prograis is rumored to be entering the 8-man World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) tournament for the 140lb. weight class. Ramirez likely won’t enter the WBSS tourney. Prograis has to be seen as the favorite to win the tournament. Prograis could be the best fighter in the 140 lb. weight class now that Terence Crawford has moved up to 147.

There are a lot of boxing fans who think that Prograis would beat Crawford if he were still at 140. It would be interesting to have seen if Top Rank would have allowed Crawford to fight Prograis. It would be a shame if we saw the same canceled purse bids as we’re seeing now with the Prograis vs. Ramirez fight.

Prograis can make himself more popular by winning the World Boxing Super Series than he will be beating Ramirez, who isn’t a star in the U.S. Ramirez has a large fan base in Southern California, but not nationally. Prograis won’t get much attention for beating Ramirez, but he will a ton of notoriety from winning the WBSS. After Prograis wins the tournament, he can swing back and try and line up a fight against Ramirez.

It’ll be interesting to see if Top Rank is interested in letting Ramirez fight Prograis at that point. Just becoming the mandatory, Prograis can force the issue, which would lead to Ramirez being stripped of his WBC title by the World Boxing Council if he refuses to take the fight.
Prograis looked great in his last fight in stopping former IBF/WBA 140 champion Julius Indongo in the 2nd round on March 9. Ramirez won the vacant WBC light welterweight title on March 17 in beating Amir Imam by a 12 round unanimous decision. It was thought after that the two winners would face each other. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.

It’ll be interesting to see if Top Rank can turn Ramirez into a star without him fighting the talented guys like Prograis. Will the casual boxing fans become fans of Ramirez if he’s not fighting lions like Prograis? Ramirez is trained by Freddie Roach. If the fight never happens between Ramirez and Prograis, then there’s still unlikely that Ramirez will be able to hold onto his WBC title for long. He’s got some good contenders in the top 15 in the WBC’s rankings that could beat him like Victor Postol, Josh Taylor, Omar Figueroa and Adrien Broner.

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