By Sam Volz: Jose Ramirez (28-1, 18 KOs) wants a title shot next against the winner of the Josh Taylor vs. Teofimo Lopez fight or Regis Prograis following his eleventh round knockout win over Richard Commey (30-5-1, 27 KOs) last Saturday night at the Save Mart Arena in Fresno, California.
Ramirez’s win over Commey, who is arguably a journeyman now, was a lateral move from his previous fight against Jose Pedraza a year ago. This wasn’t a step up for Ramirez, unfortunately, and it’s unclear why he’s taking his time working his way back to fighting elite-level opposition.
Ramirez turned down a fight against an elite-level guy in Prograis to take the fight against Commey, which suggests that his confidence isn’t what it needs to be for him to be challenging for a world title.
Up until dropping the 36-year-old Commey twice in the eleventh round, Ramirez didn’t look overly impressive, and there was some doubt whether he’d pull it off.
Ramirez didn’t mention newly crowned IBF light welterweight champion Subriel Matias as one of the belt-holders he’d be interested in fighting next. Matias would be a good option if Ramirez can cut a deal with Prograi or the Taylor-Lopez winner.
Matias has a fighting style that would work well with the way Ramirez fights, and would be an excellent fight to bring back to the Save Mart Arena in Fresno.
Ramirez wants a world title shot
“I want any world champion. I want Regis Prograis. I want the winner of Josh Taylor and Teofimo. Get that rematch. You always want to come back and get that rematch after that tough loss,” said Jose Ramirez last Saturday night following his win over Richard Commey.
“If Regis is serious about fighting, we can sit down and negotiate. Stop the BS. Let’s sit down and make the fight happen. You got to learn some business. Have your management do their part, and we’ll sit down and make the fight happen if you’re serious about it.
“That’s the goal to stay active. Two or three fights this year. Hopefully, I’ll be back by September,” said Ramirez.
“That’s typically how Ramirez fights. He’ll come out strong. He’ll teeter off in the middle rounds, and then he’ll pick it back up,” said Andre Ward to ESPN, reacting to the victory for Jose Ramirez over Richard Commey last Saturday night.
“We saw more teetering of Jose Ramirez tonight, coming off the [one-year] layoff. He didn’t just slowly fall off. He fell off abruptly,” Ward continued. “Even his comeback wasn’t quite the Jose Ramirez that we’re used to seeing,” said Ward.
Jose Ramirez not impressive against Commey
“I said from the outset that I wanted to watch him closely. This wasn’t a great performance. He got it done, and you got to respect that. But the next performance, no matter who it’s against, ‘is this new Ramirez, or does he have a little bit more than he showed tonight?'” said Ward.
“I think it was the old Ramirez,” said Mark Kriegel.
“I’m talking the whole performance,” said Ward.
“I’m saying that pattern was to start fast, fade and finish strong,” said Kriegel.
“It was a little worse tonight, though,” said Ward about Ramirez.
“Here’s the vulnerability I saw. Getting hit with right hands,” said Kriegel about Ramirez. “Really good fighters don’t get hit consistently with long right hands. Maybe that’s the rust.”
“Ramirez gets hit with everything, everything! These guys don’t have defense,” said Tim Bradley. “These guys don’t fight by the sweet science. I didn’t expect this to be his best performance.
“Commey coming into this fight, I thought that he had an uphill battle because, yes, he was smaller and weight gain. Yeah, he is a little bit older, but Commey always brings his A-game. He always puts up a whole lot of effort. He gives his best, and he did that tonight, but you still got to give respect for stopping him,” said Bradley.
“I’m not, not giving respect,” said Kriegel.
“Honestly, he stopped him. Look at all the guys that Commey has faced,” said Bradley.
“He was supposed to stop him,” said Kriegel about Ramirez.
“Really?” said Bradley.
“Yes, really,” said Kriegel.
“I don’t know about that,” said Bradley. “This about this. How many guys have stopped Richard Commey? One?”
“Lomachenko, a 130-pounder, almost stopped him. He should have,” said Kriegel.
“But he didn’t,” said Bradley.
“I think tonight was partly Jose Ramirez’s layoff and having so many miles on the odometer that is starting to show up. Also, Richard Commey,” said Andre Ward. “I saw age in the legs and him not being able to have a sustained attack, but I saw so much craftiness.
“I saw him work his way through tough spots, and then when Ramirez didn’t answer the call in certain parts of the fight, you saw Commey step it up. You saw the heart, the grit, and the reason why Richard Commey keeps getting these calls. Then Ramirez came back with a signature shot and ended the fight,” said Ward.
One judge had Ramirez up 100-90
“I’m so glad the signature shot ended the fight because I just had the scores read to me. There was a judge that had it 100-90 [for Ramirez] at the point of the stoppage,” said Joe Tessitore. “The ninth round was as clear as round as you could say.”
“The fifth round was pretty clear, too,” said Kriegel.
“We don’t need to deal with that, thank goodness, because of the knockout in the 11th round,” said Tessitore.
“What I learned from Ramirez tonight, what I’ve always known is that he’s going to struggle against a boxer, period,” said Tim Bradley. “Richard Commey is not a boxer, and he was maintaining his distance, sticking his jab out there, piecing one-two combinations together and he was landing at will.
“I see moving forward when he [Ramirez] gets in the ring with the other top guys. You’ve got Josh Taylor. That’s a difficult fight. Prograis is a difficult fight. All those fights are difficult for his style,” said Bradley about Ramirez struggling with boxers.
“The rematch with Josh Taylor will be compelling, and obviously, Prograis is the fight that everyone has been screaming for,” said Tessitore. “Either way, if Teofimo Lopez becomes 140-lb champion, it’s spectacular.”
“The guy that Prograis and Ramirez want the most is Taylor,” said Kriegel.
“Because they both want the rematch, and both were razor-close,” said Tessitore. “When Taylor fought Ramirez, he had the two knockdowns that separated them. The Prograis-Taylor fight had some spectacular moments late, but that’s a dynamic back & forth fight.”
“I would like to see Prograis get the shot,” said Ward.
“It would be a fun fight to see. Listen, you never know with Teofimo Lopez,” said Tessitore. “He’s here at 140-lbs. We’ll see what happens on June 10th [in his fight with Josh Taylor].
“This place [Save Mart Arena in Fresno, California] matters to him [Ramirez]. These fans adore the guy.”
“He doesn’t need this place,” said Kriegel.
“The checkbook doesn’t hurt with this place,” said Tessitore about Ramirez fighting at home in Fresno.
“He hasn’t needed this place to win his title,” said Kriegel.