By Francisco Salazar
Antonio Orozco made weight on Thursday leading up to his world title bout tonight against WBC junior welterweight titleholder Jose Ramirez.
So far, Orozco has shut up his critics, those who predicted he would not be able to make weight.
The 30-year-old Orozco believes he is more than a fighter that cannot make weight. A win over Ramirez will validate his stance as one of the best fighter at 140 pounds.
Orozco will face Ramirez in a 12 round bout at the Save Mart Center in Fresno. The fight will headline a three-fight 'Top Rank Boxing on ESPN' telecast (10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT).
Orozco weighed in at 139.4 pounds. Ramirez tipped the scale at Thursday's weigh-in at 138.4 pounds.
In his last bout on Mar. 16, Orozco (27-0, 17 knockouts) won an eight round unanimous decision over former junior lightweight contender Martin Honorio.
Ramirez was originally scheduled to face Danny O'Connor on July 7, but the fight was cancelled the day before the fight after O'Connor allegedly passed out from dehydration. O'Connor had to be taken to a Fresno area hospital.
A few weeks after the fight, Top Rank approached Golden Boy Promotions, which represents Orozco. After the fight was verbally agreed to, an official announcement was made that Ramirez-Orozco was on.
Orozco, who resides in San Diego, believes his fight against Ramirez will steal the show this weekend.
"He's aggressive," said Orozco earlier this week. "I feel like he has a very fan-friendly style. He has a style that brings out fighters to fight. It's what we like."
Orozco has had issues with weight in the past. Orozco was scheduled to face Fidel Maldonado in December of 2016, but he passed out the morning of the weigh-in from dehydration.
Orozco may make weight, but some wonder whether he can rehydrate well enough to not expend so much energy in a fight. Orozco took time earlier this year to educate himself on rehydration and to work with a strength and conditioning coach.
"Earlier in the year, I left for Guadalajara, Mexico and I just have a different view of things. I met a nutritionist down there and made 140 (pounds) in March. I'm on the same regimen."
"What happened before, there are things that people don't know. Besides the point, I'm over that. It's done and over with. But, I'm not worried about it. I got bigger things to worry about, and that's what focus is on. I've had my downs and I've had my ups, and this is an opportunity I'm going to let go."
Orozco, who is managed by Frank Espinoza, may be the underdog, but he believes he will dethrone Ramirez and become a world titleholder.
"I'm ready. This is an opportunity that every fighter wants to get to, and mine came at the right moment. Things happen for a reason. I'm here in Fresno in front of a great champion. That's all I can tell you."
Francisco A. Salazar by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing