By Keith Idec
Mike Reed didn’t hesitate when promoter Top Rank offered him a chance to fight Jose Ramirez in the popular 2012 Olympian’s hometown.
A sellout crowd in excess of 14,000 is expected Saturday night at Save Mart Center in Fresno, California. They’ll pack that arena on Fresno State University’s campus to strongly support Ramirez, who’s from nearby Avenal, California, for the most important fight of Ramirez’s career to date.
Reed isn’t the least bit intimidated by the thought of entering unfriendly territory for this 10-round battle between unbeaten junior welterweights (ESPN; 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT).
“My motivation is to turn the crowd against him,” Reed told BoxingScene.com. “I look at it as an opportunity to fight in front of one of the biggest crowds I’ve fought in front of. There will be 13,000 or 14,000 people there. They normally sell it out. If you’re a fan of the sport, you’re a fan of the sport. You have your favorites that you root for, but you can be swayed in a different direction. So that’s my job. That’s what I plan to do. I wanna sway the crowd, dominate the fight so much that by the end of the fight they’re cheering for me.”
Reed, a southpaw from Waldorf, Maryland, isn’t concerned, either, about Ramirez getting preferential treatment on the scorecards if their fight goes the distance.
“If I knock him out, we won’t have to worry about that,” Reed said. “But we were promised fair judges and Top Rank doesn’t really have anything to lose in this fight. They promised us fair and neutral judging, and I think that’s what we’ll get. Top Rank wins either way. If I win, Top Rank wins. If he wins, Top Rank wins.”
Bob Arum’s Top Rank promotes Ramirez (20-0, 15 KOs) and Reed (23-0, 12 KOs). Ramirez is guaranteed a shot at the vacant WBC super lightweight championship if he defeats Reed, who expects to receive that championship chance if he wins.
Ramirez commended Reed for his willingness to fight in his home territory.
“It shows that he’s taking any opportunity, the way every fighter should,” Ramirez said. “As a fighter, I respect other fighters doing that. I think sometimes fighters feel they have what it takes, which is fine.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.