By Ryan Maquiñana
When the brass at Thompson Boxing informed Eddie Gonzalez that former 122-pound titleholder Rico Ramos would be available to fight his client Efrain Esquivias Jr. on June 23, the Southern California-based manager’s answer was swift.
“I didn’t think twice about it,” Gonzalez said. “I used to train Rico as an amateur. He came out of our program when he was about 17 years old.”
Esquivias is no slouch in his own right, having pushed his record to 16-0 with nine knockouts as a pro. However, unlike Watts native Ramos (20-1, 11 KOs), he has yet to fight for a world title belt, which explains why the talented puncher from Carson, Calif., is coming in as the underdog.
Still, Gonzalez was confident that his fighter would pull off the upset at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City, Calif.
“I think it shook him up a little when he found out I was on the other side,” Gonzalez said. “Having worked with Rico for many years, there are some things that we know that we can expose. For one, he’s open to getting hit with body shots and uppercuts on the inside, but that’s still up to Efrain to take advantage of that knowledge.”
Already entering his thirties, the clock is ticking on Esquivias to prove he’s more than a prospect.
“I’ve wanted this fight for him for a long time, and Efrain knows this is a huge opportunity,” Gonzalez said. “He’s 16-0, but he’s already 28 years old, and fighting a former world champion is the type of fight to show where he’s really at right now.
Ryan Maquiñana writes a weekly boxing column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and on the Ratings Advisory Panel for Ring Magazine. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.