By Keith Idec
Amir Imam and Jose Ramirez each held a piece of the WBC super lightweight title as they posed for photos following their weigh-in Friday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.
Once they separated, both boxers seemed confident about leaving The Theater at Madison Square Garden with that title late Saturday night. Imam, 27, and Ramirez, 25, will fight for the vacant WBC 140-pound championship Terence Crawford relinquished last year to advance to the welterweight division.
The top-ranked Imam (21-1, 18 KOs), of Albany, New York, weighed in at 139.2 pounds. The third-ranked Ramirez (21-0, 16 KOs), of Avenal, California, stepped on the New York State Athletic Commission’s scale at 139 pounds.
Whoever wins the Imam-Ramirez match is obligated to face WBC interim 140-pound champ Regis Prograis in his following fight. New Orleans’ Prograis (21-0, 18 KOs) dropped former IBF/IBO/WBA champ Julius Indongo (22-2, 11 KOs) four times on his way to a second-round knockout that earned the strong southpaw the WBC interim title a week ago in Deadwood, South Dakota.
Imam and Ramirez will headline an ESPN tripleheader set to start at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. The four fighters who’ll partake in the other two televised fights made weight as well Friday afternoon.
Ukraine’s Oleksandr Gvozdyk weighed in at 174 pounds for his 12-round, 175-pound title fight against Mehdi Amar. France’s Amar officially weighed 174 pounds, too.
The heavily favored Gvozdyk (14-0, 12 KOs) and Amar (34-5-2, 16 KOs) will fight for the WBC’s interim light heavyweight title.
Northern Ireland’s Michael Conlan (5-0, 4 KOs) got on the NYSAC’s scale at 126¼ pounds for his scheduled eight-rounder against Hungary’s David Berna (15-2, 14 KOs), who weighed 125.2 pounds. Conlan, a 2016 Olympian, figures to draw much of the capacity crowd to The Theater on St. Patrick’s Day.
Below are the official weights for the five non-televised fights Saturday. Those bouts can be viewed on ESPN3, available on ESPN.com, beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT.
Felix Verdejo (23-0, 15 KOs), San Juan, Puerto Rico, 135½ pounds, vs. Antonio Lozada Jr. (38-2, 32 KOs), Tijuana, Mexico, 135¼ pounds, 10 rounds, lightweights.
Jose Pedraza (22-1, 12 KOs), Cidra, Puerto Rico, 136.6 pounds, vs. Jose Luis Rodriguez (23-11, 13 KOs), Monterrey, Mexico, 136 pounds, 10 rounds, lightweights.
Christopher Diaz (22-0, 14 KOs), Barranquitas, Puerto Rico, 129 pounds, vs. Braulio Rodriguez (19-2, 17 KOs), Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 129.6 pounds, 10 rounds for Diaz’s NABO super featherweight title.
Jose Gonzalez (8-0-2, 2 KOs), New York, New York, 123 pounds, vs. Adan Gonzales, Denver, Colorado, 122.2 pounds, 6 rounds, super bantamweights.
Joseph Adorno (5-0, 5 KOs), Allentown, Pennsylvania, 131½ pounds, vs. Ivan de la Madrid (3-2), Puerto Rico, 131½ pounds, 4 rounds, super featherweights.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.