By Francisco Salazar
Even before his January 24th bout against Derrick Wilson, Julian Ramirez seemed to have one way to fight in his previous fights: Press forward and land punches until his opponent goes down.
While fight fans do appreciate and love knockouts, Ramirez understood that can only get him so far and he would have to improve his overall game.
Rather than try for a knockout, Ramirez surprised fight fans and media alike in his bout against Wilson.
He hopes to build upon what he did when he faces Carlos Rodriguez in a scheduled eight round bout tonight at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Il.
The bout will precede the main event bout between unbeaten Ronny Rios and Andrew Cancio. Both bouts will be televised live on a "Golden Boy Live" telecast on Fox Sports One and Fox Sports Deportes, beginning at 9PM ET/ 6 PM PT.
Derrick Wilson posed a formidable threat to Ramirez when they squared off in Indio, CA almost three months ago. Wilson had pulled wins over unbeaten prospects and had his sights set on doing the same to the 21 year old Ramirez.
Rather than trade with Wilson, Ramirez displayed a disciplined game plan to box, which included an improved ring generalship and defense. The end result was a one-sided eight round unanimous decision over Wilson.
Ramirez (10-0, 6 KOs) dropped Wilson in the first round during the fight.
The win showed that Ramirez is more than just a brawler or a fighter who only goes for the knockout.
"(The Wilson fight) showed I can box and maintain my composure," Ramirez told Boxingscene.com over the phone on Friday. "I know I had the power in the later rounds, but I showed I was smart in the ring. In a way, I was happy I didn't finish him early so people could know me. I liked my performance."
Facing Rodriguez could be more of a mental challenge than a physical one for Ramirez.
Rodriguez was stopped in his last bout at the hands Joseph Diaz on December 13th.
While he is still young as a pro, Ramirez understands he cannot have an off-night and has to continue building upon his previous bout. In other words, he will not overlook Rodriguez.
"I was at the fight when JoJo (Joseph Diaz) fought Rodriguez," recalled Ramirez, who is managed by Joel De La Hoya. "He (Rodriguez) is a tough guy. I'm not taking him lightly. He could've prepared better for this fight. I'm ready for whatever he brings because I fought so much in the amateurs that I've seen many styles."
Fighting for bigger purses and title belts are ultimate goals for Ramirez. He is eager to share those goals with his family and friends, many of whom have watched his fights near his hometown of East Los Angeles.
Ramirez has also fought abroad in Las Vegas, San Antonio, and Mexico.
Tonight will be the first time Ramirez will be fighting east of the Mississippi River and unfortunately not all of his family will make the trip to watch him fight.
However, Ramirez could count on two people to support him at each fight. His parents will be cheering him from ringside, as they have been since his amateur days.
"I'm very close with my parents. They've been there since my amateur days. They've even been there when I played baseball and basketball when I was little. It means a lot to me that they're always there for me."
The sky is the limit for Ramirez, who could get better with each passing fight.
He has Golden Boy, Joel De La Hoya, and a fan-friendly style that could attract more fans and television dates in the future.
While he has thought about fighting as often as possible, Ramirez knows patience in boxing will go a long way.
"I'm building my name little by little. I'm being patient because I know my time will come."
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing