By Chris Williams
WBC light welterweight champion Jose Ramirez (22-0, 16 KOs) will be defending his title against unbeaten #3 WBC Antonio Orozco (27-0, 17 KOs) on September 14 on ESPN at the Save Mart Arena in Fresno, California.
Top Rank has strategically placed the Ramirez-Orozco fight one day before the far bigger fight between IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin vs. Saul Canelo Alvarez on HBO PPV on September 15 in Las Vegas, Nevada. By Top Rank putting Ramirez vs. Orozco one day before the Canelo-GGG II fight, they appear to be counting on getting some of the casual boxing fans to see this fight. Without the Ramirez-Orozco fight being staged directly in front of the GGG-Canelo II fight, it would likely attract very little interest because Ramirez isn’t popular with the casual boxing fans. Ramirez is still an unknown at this point. He didn’t help himself gain popularity by choosing not to take part in the World Boxing Super Series light welterweight tournament.
Ramirez’s last scheduled fight against near bottom ranked #13 WBC Danny O’Connor fell through last Saturday night at the 33-year-old O’Connor had to be hospitalized after suffering from dehydration while trying to make weight for the fight last Friday. The 2012 U.S Olympian Ramirez had to pull out of the fight due to it being too close to the fight to find a replacement opponent to face him on short notice.
30-year-old Orozco is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, and they were able to put together a deal with Ramirez’s promoters at Top Rank quickly. At one time, Orozco was viewed as a future world champion, but since his controversial 10 round unanimous decision win over 35-year-old Humberto Soto in 2015, he’s lost a lot of hype behind his career. Soto appeared to do more than enough to deserve a victory over Orozco, but the judges scored it for the Golden Boy fighter. It didn’t matter. The boxing public had seen the fight and they felt that Orozco had lost the fight. Since then, Orozco hasn’t been that active with his career, fighting only four times in the last three years in beating Miguel Acosta, Abner Lopez, Keandre Gibson and Martin Honorio. Orozco has been kept in the slow lane by Golden Boy Promotions in being matched against weaker opposition rather than the tougher opposition in the division. At this point, Orozco is no longer seen in the same light as he was three years before his fight against Soto.
Ramirez will be fighting in front of his boxing fans in Central California at the Save Mart Center in Fresno.
Ramirez recently won the vacant WBC light welterweight title in beating Amir Imam by a 12 round unanimous decision last March. The fight was closer than the one-sided scores that were turned in by the judges that worked the fight a Madison Square Garcia in New York.
“We were able to close the deal,” Ramirez’s promoter Bob Arum said to ESPN.com about him working out a deal with Orozco’s promoter Eric Gomez of Golden Boy Promotions. “We’ve agreed to the terms, and the contracts went out [Tuesday night]. This is a real fight with two guys from California fighting in California, and everybody is pumped up for it.”
It’s too bad Arum didn’t show the same type of enthusiasm when Regis Prograis was trying to get a fight against Jose Ramirez. Arum should have made the Prograis vs. Ramirez fight. I don’t think Ramirez would have lasted more than three or four rounds at best, but Arum still should have made the fight. It looks bad that Ramirez didn’t enter the World Boxing Super Series tournament to compete against Prograis
and Josh Taylor. Those guys want to fight Ramirez in the worst way, but they unfortunately can’t do that due to him choosing not to enter the tournament.
The 140 lb. division has improved immensely in the last three years. Orozco was considered one of he most talented fighters at light welterweight from 2012 to 2015, but nowadays he’s not even viewed as being among the top 10 by a lot of boxing fans. The best fighters at 140 in this era are these fighters:
– Regis Prograis
– Josh Taylor
– Kiryl Relikh
– Sergey Lipinets
– Mikey Garcia
– Adrien Broner
– Alex Saucedo
– Jose Ramirez
– Ryan Martin
– Ivan Baranchyk
– Anthony Yigit
– Jack Catteral
– Viktor Postol