Hall of Fame 86-year-old fight promoters Don King and Bob Arum renew their decades-old rivalry Saturday when US fighters Amir Imam and Jose Ramirez meet for the vacant World Boxing Council super-lightweight title.
Unbeaten Californian Ramirez, 21-0 with 16 knockouts, is backed by Top Rank boss Arum while New Yorker Imam, 21-1 with 18 knockouts, hopes to become King's latest champion in New York's Madison Square Garden.
It's the first fight where Arum and King fighters have faced each other since March 2011 when Puerto Rico's Miguel Cotto kept his World Boxing Association super welterweight world title with a 12th-round stoppage of Nicaragua's Ricardo Mayorga.
"Amir Imam is coming to Madison Square Garden, the Mecca of Boxing, in New York City, to take down not only Jose Ramirez but Bob Arum too," said the often bombastic King. "This is going to be a great fight, a fantastic fight."
Arum kept the focus on Ramirez, a 2012 Olympian and crop-picker's child in California's vast central growing region. He could become the third fighter to work with trainer Freddie Roach from his pro debut to a world title.
"Jose has worked hard to earn his world title shot and I know he and trainer Freddie Roach will come out blazing," Arum said. "Jose has been a longtime advocate of the Central Valley farmers, fighting for their water rights. I'm confident he'll become their first world champion boxer."
Ramirez, 25, has won his past four fights inside the distance, most recently stopping Mike Reed last November.
"I'm honored for the opportunity to be able to fight for a world title," Ramirez said. "I'm living my dream. I've sacrificed, worked, and challenged myself in a way most can't imagine. Physically and mentally I’ll be more than ready."
Imam, 27, has stopped three foes in a row since his lone loss in 2015 to Mexican Adrian Granados.
"I know what I’ve got to do to win this belt," Imam said. "This fight will be a clash of two fighters with a lot of knockouts and it will come down to who can stand up to that leather. If he does come straight forward, I will break him down and stop him."
The winner will likely face compatriot Regis Prograis to defend the crown for the first time after the American took an interim crown earlier this month by knocking out former world champion Julius Indongo of Namibia.