By Francisco Salazar
No pressure tonight, Ronny. You are facing a former world champion under a bigger stage than what you are accustomed to and in the biggest fight of your career thus far.
That fighter is Ronny Rios, an unbeaten fighter with talent, but has not been tested thus far in his career. That will change tonight as he will take on Rico Ramos in a scheduled 10 round fight at the Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino in Indio, CA.
The bout will headline a Golden Boy Promotions card and be televised live on Showtime as a “ShoBox: The New Generation” main event.
The Rios-Ramos fight is an evenly-matched fight that has boxing experts and fans anticipating a very good fight. Despite Ramos winning a world title belt as a super bantamweight, these same boxing experts and fans view Rios-Ramos as a toss-up.
Despite Ramos moving up to fight Rios as a featherweight, the Santa Ana resident believes he has what it takes to defeat the former super bantamweight world title holder.
“I think they may be underestimating me or they think that I’m made for him,” Rios told Boxingscene.com over the phone this week. “I am the taller fighter and I’m going to psychologically wear him down. I want to give excitement, but I want to be smart and have him come to me.”
Rios (19-0, 9 KOs) is coming off a ninth round stoppage victory over David Rodela on July 28th. The Golden Boy Promotions fighter, who is managed by Frank Espinoza, has fought and beaten modest opposition throughout his professional career.
However, Ramos has fought the better opposition. Ramos’ only defeat was when he was stopped by Guillermo Rigondeaux last January in his only defense of the world title belt.
Rios has been eager to fight a noteworthy opponent as a victory could propel him for the limelight. He will get that opportunity on Friday, noting that he will not waste this opportunity.
“I’ve put a lot of work in for this fight,” said the 22 year old, whose 15 year old brother is an amateur boxer. “I’m a young and hungry guy. I don’t think too much about the past in what I’ve down and instead, I look at what I’m about to accomplish.”
Rios even played out what he intends to do to Ramos when the opportunity arises.
“I know that he was stopped against Rigondeaux. His confidence may not be there. That’s why I feel confident that I’m going to take his best and counter.”
“I’m not one to brag and I’m not looking past him to other fighters in the featherweight division. My focus on Friday is only on Rico and getting the exposure that a victory over him would bring.”
Although he is 22, Rios maintains a sense of humility that few fighters his age possess. It is why Rios has been mentioned around boxing circles as one of the good guys in boxing, one who could have a casual conversation with people.
It is an attitude that draws people to Rios outside of his family and friends. Rios has made more fans in recent fights, particularly for his out-of-ring behavior.
“I like reading books and watching movies just like anyone else would. I think a lot of people follow me because I could relate to them. I like to be myself the same way others do to. I don’t like negativity and it shows with the people I have around me.”
Win or lose, Rios will be commended for taking on a tough assignment against Ramos. Whereas some young fighters tend to pad their records or fight soft opposition, Rios wants to face the tough challenges out there. It will only get him better and give his career exposure.
Frank Espinoza, Rios’ manager, has a keen eye for talent and wants his fighters to pass serious tests at some points in their careers.
While pressure may break fighters down, it has given Rios motivation and hunger to perform. Pressure? What pressure?