By Keith Idec
Jamal James didn’t score the knockout he sought Friday night.
Otherwise, though, his hometown showcase went pretty well. James mostly out-boxed Abel Ramos, entertained a supportive crowd and fended off Ramos’ late rally to win a majority decision in their 10-round welterweight fight. Two of the three judges scored the fight for James in the main event of an FS1 telecast from The Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The taller, rangier James won by the same score, 96-94, on the cards of judges John Mariano and Patrick Morley. The third judge, Mike Fitzgerald, scored the James-Ramos match even (95-95).
The 29-year-old James (23-1, 10 KOs) won his third straight fight since Cuba’s Yordenis Ugas beat the Minneapolis native by unanimous decision in a 10-rounder in August 2016. The 26-year-old Ramos (18-3-2, 12 KOs), of Casa Grande, Arizona, has lost two of his past three fights.
Ramos, who seemingly got stronger as the fight continued, never stopped trying to score the knockout he seemingly needed to overcome a deficit on the scorecards. He threw power punches right until the final bell, but couldn’t hurt James, who appeared tired in the final few rounds.
A relentless Ramos hit James with a left hook late in the ninth round, which made James fire back with an overhand right that landed.
Ramos came on during the eighth round, particularly with body shots that temporarily slowed down James. But James caught Ramos with an overhand right just before the 30-second mark of the eighth.
Ramos clipped James with a left hook just before the two-minute mark of the seventh round. James came back to hammer Ramos with body blows later in the seventh and landed a straight right to the side of Ramos’ head toward the end of that round.
James was successful throughout the sixth round. He didn’t connect with as many flush punches in those three minutes, though, as he did during the fifth round.
An aggressive James applied pressure throughout the fifth round, when he landed right hands and body shots that often kept Ramos from getting off shots of his own.
James’ jab was effective early in the fourth round. He drilled Ramos with a straight right hand with 40 seconds to go in the fourth, which made Ramos try to come back to show he wasn’t hurt.
James picked up early in the second round where he left off in the first, and connected with two right hands that knocked Ramos into the ropes. Ramos rocked him with a left hook at the 2:17 mark of the second, though.
James fell to the canvas several seconds later, but Nelson ruled that was the result of a push, not a legitimate knockdown. After regaining his composure, James made the rest of the second round competitive.
James came out strong in the first round. He established his jab and landed multiple hard right hands that got Ramos’ attention.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.