By Ryan Maquiñana
With only two days until Adrien Broner’s second junior lightweight title defense against Eloy Perez, the only man to spar both heated rivals within the past year offered his take on sharing the ring with them.
“I’ve done four rounds with Broner and more than 11 with Eloy,” said amateur lightweight star Jose Ramirez.
After the 132-pounder won the Olympic Trials last August, he earned a ticket to USA Boxing headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., where he worked with new head coach Joe Zanders, consultant Freddie Roach, and Broner.
“When Broner’s in front of you, he throws punches kind of like [Floyd] Mayweather,” Ramirez said. “He rolls with his shoulder to block your shots and then throws off of that. He’s calm, even when you’re on top of him, and he has good power.
“Joe Zanders and Freddie Roach were telling me to use my feet and move, but I wasn’t ever in trouble. I was very calm, and both told me they were impressed with that, and that’s how I feel like I gained everyone’s respect.”
Ramirez is from Avenal, a central California city close to Perez’ current hometown of Salinas. As a result, the precocious amateur has sparred with the title contender on a couple occasions as he prepares for U.S. Nationals, a “reload” tournament that Ramirez needs to win to earn his spot on the Olympic Team for good.
“Eloy is smaller than Broner, bodywise, but he has skills,” Ramirez said. “He’s a thinking man’s fighter. He picks his moments and uses his quick hands to catch you inside when you’re coming in.”
The 11-time national tournament winner and sophomore at Fresno State University refrained from predicting a victor for Saturday’s clash, but prognosticated a tactical 12-round affair.
“It’s going to be a good fight. They’re both technically sound. It will probably go all the way. I’m not sure who will win, but I think it will go all 12 rounds. Adrien Broner is a very offensive fighter. He hides behind his shoulder and uses his body and backfoot to get distance.
“On the other hand, Eloy Perez is always thinking, moving around, using feints, goes back and forth. He fights with a rhythm. The winner is going to have to be really patient and not force things because both of them are good enough to take advantage of the other’s mistakes. It’s going to be a good fight.”
Ryan Maquiñana writes a weekly column for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (CSNBayArea.com). He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and Ring Magazine’s Ratings Panel. E-mail him at [email protected], check out his blog at norcalboxing.net or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.