The War Report: Pillars of strength (Week 45, 2017)

Photo by Mikey Williams / Top Rank

Before 13,838 supporters at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California, Jose Ramirez made a statement in his stoppage win over Mike Reed on Saturday night, not only solidifying his position as a clearcut junior welterweight contender, but showing he has the value needed for a prizefighter’s sustenance.

Photo credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank

Born and raised in nearby Avenal, Ramirez (21–0, 16 KOs) wasted no time in trying to get his opponent out of there, and within five minutes of action, the 25-year old became the man of California’s Central Valley in the ring by giving the people what they want. Reed (23–1, 12 KOs), Waldorf, Maryland, seemed to enjoy a ring walk that was mucked with their boos. The 24-year old prospect entered the fight confident having been steadily active since his 2013 debut, but the hollow arenas that seem to follow various boxing undercards was no comparison to this. It also may’ve been the underlying reason why he looked around in disgust win it was stopped.

Photo credit: German Villasenor / Undisputed Champion Network

Careless to the fact that Reed was somewhat thought of a complex southpaw with plenty of amateur experience, Ramirez pressed forward with haste creating an exciting first round where he was receiving shots as well. Early in the second round, a left hand from Ramirez clipped Reed on the temple and into a wobble backward leaving his back against the ropes bottled up. Ramirez let his hands go with no need to anticipate a return, and after mixing in a few body shots, a final left to the head sent Reed to the canvas for a knockdown. He seemed okay once getting up well in time of Reiss’ count, but Ramirez proceeded to let off hellacious combinations that led to Reed falling forward when trying to find a clinch. This wasn’t ruled a knockdown by Reiss, but it could’ve been. Regardless, Reed stayed bottled up once time resumed and once Ramirez had the gall to load up on three consecutive left hooks to the body, Reiss realized Mike hadn’t thrown a punch in the past 40 seconds or so since the initial left hand to the temple. Then at the 1:43 mark, Reiss stepped in right after Reed was hit clean with the left. Reed was aware enough to complain, but only he and his team were the ones doing that as the crowd went wild.

It wasn’t the best stoppage, but it wasn’t the worst. Throughout the history of boxing, however, it was an instance that always tends to favor wild crowds.

This wasn’t the first time Ramirez packed the place, but as the main event of an ESPN card, it was really the first time boxing fans across the country realized what was happening in Central California through the sport. Many of those who showed up to support Ramirez were those who depend on the region’s agriculture, and their fight for water amidst one of the worst droughts in the state’s history. Much of their backing is in response to Ramirez’s help to their cause and although it’s expected to be a continuous fight, he will do so by quenching their thirst for action while they help nourish is career by showing up.

With the victory, Ramirez puts himself in line to fight for the vacant WBC junior welterweight title — a belt previously held by Terence Crawford — who is moving up in weight after becoming the undisputed champion at 140-pounds. Ramirez will get his title shot in the first quarter of 2018 according to Bob Arum, his promoter (Top Rank), and with the benefit of his local draw, there’s no doubting it’ll be a part of the movement. Ramirez and his backing won’t see an exact stranger either as Amir Imam fought on the undercard that same evening (Forced a stoppage of Johnny Garcia).

Ramirez, Arum, and Imam | Photo credit: Mikey Williams

Ramirez-Imam is a solid fight between contenders on paper, and is a big fight that will surely be back on ESPN, but whatever happens in the ring, as we were reminded Saturday night, it will be heightened thanks to one of boxing’s underrated intangibles.

Fight of the Week

Yuandale Evans SD10 Luis Rosa (126) | November 10 — Cleveland, Ohio

Photo credit: Stephanie Trapp / Showtime

Honorable mention

Liam Smith MD12 Liam Williams (154) | November 10 — Newcastle, England

KOs of the Week

Conor Benn KO2 Brandon Sanudo (147) | November 11 — Uniondale, New York

Alex Saucedo KO3 Gustavo Vittori (140) | November 11 — Fresno, California

Photo credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank

Fighter of the Week

Jose Ramirez (21–0, 16 KOs)

Photo credit: German Villasenor / Undisputed Champion Network

Results

From this past week and in order of weight

World title bouts

IBF 175 | Artur Beterbiev KO12 Enrico Koelling | Beterbiev wins the vacant IBF light heavyweight title previously held by the now retired Andre Ward

Photo credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank

Notables

200+ — Jarrell Miller TKO9 Mariusz Wach — Junior Fa TKO1 Fred Latham

175 — Nadjib Mohammedi UD10 Hakim Zoulikha

168 — Hadillah Mohoumadi UD12 Christopher Rebrasse (117–111 x2, 115–113)

160 — Daniel Jacobs UD12 Luis Arias (118–109, 119–108, 120–107) — Willie Nelson TKO1 Alexis Hloros

154 — Liam Smith MD12 Liam Williams (117–111, 116–112, 114–114) — Charles Conwell UD6 Roque Zapata (60–51 x2, 60–53)

147 — Amir Imam TKO4 Johnny Garcia — Samuel Vargas SD10 Jussi Koivula (97–90, 95–92, 93–94) — Carlos Ocampo TKO7 Dario Ferman — Cletus Seldin TKO3 Roberto Ortiz — Conor Benn KO2 Brandon Sanudo — Maxim Dadashev TKO4 Clarence Booth — Alexander Besputin KO7 Juan Ruiz — Radzhab Butaev UD8 Janer Gonzalez (80–72, 79–73, 77–75)

140 — Jose Ramirez TKO2 Mike Reed — Alex Saucedo KO3 Gustavo Vittori

135 — Andy Vences KO2 Jairo Ochoa

130 — Josh Taylor KO9 Miguel Vazquez

126 — Yuandale Evans SD10 Luis Rosa (96–94, 97–93, 94–96)

122 — Thomas Patrick Ward UD10 Sean Davis (117–112, 118–111 x2)