TIGER RAMIREZ ROARS

Jose dom­i­nates Orozco in bat­tle of un­beat­ens, writes Jack Hirsch

Boxing News - - Action -

TO the 14,000 fans at the Save Mart Arena, it was not Canelo Al­varez and Gen­nady Golovkin who had the spot­light over the week­end, but their cham­pion

Jose Ramirez, who was mak­ing the first de­fence of his WBC su­per-light­weight ti­tle.

Ramirez, from nearby Ave­nal, was de­prived of box­ing in this venue in July, when op­po­nent Danny O’con­nor failed to make weight and was taken ill on short no­tice. Pro­moter Bob Arum promised to bring Ramirez back quickly, in a show­case fight it was pre­sumed – but in­stead matched him tough against San Diego’s

An­to­nio Orozco, who like Ramirez en­tered the ring with a per­fect record.

Ramirez was like a tiger charg­ing out of a cage when the open­ing bell rang, but so was Orozco. It made for an ex­cit­ing, al­beit one-sided en­counter.

It was Ramirez’s first fight was un­der the tute­lage of trainer Robert Gar­cia, having pre­vi­ously been with Fred­die Roach. Ramirez was quick to dole out credit to his new men­tor while also prais­ing Roach, but the truth is his tal­ent level is such that who­ever works his cor­ner prob­a­bly has min­i­mal im­pact be­yond de­vis­ing a sound strat­egy.

And even then, Ramirez’s dura­bil­ity and over­all foot and hand speed let him get away with mis­takes without pay­ing a price - as in the fourth round, when Orozco landed a boom­ing right over the top that did not even make the cham­pion blink. A mo­ment later Orozco launched a wide right, but Ramirez’s own got in­side that and dropped the chal­lenger on his back, where he took a nine count from ref­eree Marcos Ros­ales.

Ramirez mixed his at­tack to the head and body, cut­ting his op­po­nent over the right eye in the sixth, but the gritty Orozco coun­tered with clean shots in the seventh as he tried to box a lit­tle more in­stead of just charg­ing in.

But the suc­cess he en­joyed in that round was short-lived. A left hook to the body dropped Orozco in the eighth. He got up quickly but briefly sagged on the ropes when Ramirez went down­stairs again. It looked like it would be stopped at any mo­ment, but Orozco fiercely fought back.

In the 10th round he landed a three­p­unch com­bi­na­tion that a fighter with a less sturdy chin than Ramirez might not have ab­sorbed as well.

It went the 12-round dis­tance with judges Alan Krebs, David Suther­land and Zac Young all in ac­cord at 119-109. The mar­gin was spot on yet not re­flec­tive of how com­pet­i­tive this one was.

“Fresno, I hope you got the fight you wanted,” said Orozco in the ring af­ter­wards. We all did.

The best night of Jamel Her­ring’s pro­fes­sional ca­reer was ru­ined with one minute to go in the 10th and fi­nal round when op­po­nent John Mo­ralde from the Philip­pines, led with his head, open­ing a bad gash over the New York fighter’s right eye.

Un­til then it had been a glo­ri­ous night for the US army vet­eran who was a team­mate of Ramirez’s at the 2012 Lon­don Olympics. In at­ten­dance was a large con­tin­gent of mil­i­tary men cheer­ing Her­ring on, not to men­tion friend and sta­ble­mate Ter­ence Craw­ford, who hollered ad­vice through­out.

Her­ring, who won the va­cant USBA su­per-feath­er­weight ti­tle in this fight, handed out a box­ing les­son to a re­luc­tant Mo­ralde, earn­ing a 100-90 clean sweep on the score­cards of judges Daniel San­doval, Chris Migliore and Fer­nando Vil­lareal. Rudy Bar­ra­gan ref­er­eed.

Her­ring moved in and out all match, do­ing as he pleased. He was un­marked when the un­for­tu­nate cut oc­curred so near the end. Keep your eye on Alexan­der

Be­sputin, the Rus­sian man­aged by Egis Kli­mas. South­paw Be­sputin won the va­cant USBA wel­ter­weight ti­tle halt­ing Mex­i­can Alan Sanchez at 1-44 of the ninth in a 10-rounder. Sanchez is a com­pe­tent boxer but Be­sputin’s skill set is so high that he could never en­joy any suc­cess be­yond mov­ing around the ring and ex­tend­ing the match.

Gabriel Flores Jnr, 18, is be­ing groomed for big things by Top Rank, so credit to them for match­ing him in a risky fight against fel­low Cal­i­for­nian

Roger Gu­tier­rez. Flores was shock­ingly dropped in the open­ing round by a loop­ing right to the ear, but re­grouped to win the rugged six-rounder unan­i­mously by scores of 59-54 twice and 58-54.

THE VER­DICT Ramirez proves his pop­u­lar­ity in his Cal­i­for­nia base.

Photo: MIKEY WIL­LIAMS/TOP RANK

CLASS ACT: Ramirez tears into Orozco

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