TIGER RAMIREZ ROARS
Jose dominates Orozco in battle of unbeatens, writes Jack Hirsch
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.
CLASS ACT: Ramirez tears into Orozco