Jose Ramirez returned to the friendly Central Valley confines and got back on track. Ramirez defeated former two-weight world champion Jose Pedraza by unanimous decision (116-112 3x) Friday evening at Save Mart Center in the junior welterweight main event.
Ramirez (27-1, 17 KOs) returned to the win column following last May's decision loss to Josh Taylor in a showdown for the undisputed title. Pedraza (29-4, 14 KOs) had some success in the middle rounds, picking Ramirez off at range and rolling off shots against the ropes. Ramirez was ahead by two points on all three judges' cards entering the 11th, and he amped up the pressure in the final two rounds, outlanding Pedraza 28-14.
The fight served as a WBC title eliminator, giving Ramirez a clear path to a title shot if Taylor, as expected, vacates all four titles and campaigns at welterweight.
Ramirez will now hang back and fight whoever is necessary to secure another world title at 140-pounds.
Ramirez said, "I was a little tense coming into this fight because of my last fight. Fighting at home, last minute, I got a little more tense than I thought I was going to be. I went out there and just boxed, had fun in there. I played it smart, used my jab, and I think I won more than eight rounds.
"Jose Pedraza is a smart, experienced fighter. He was going to find a way to survive and put up a fight. He was there boxing towards the end of the fight. My hat’s off to him and his team. He was well-prepared. It was a great fight. I got to see where I am right now.
“[I'm ready to fight] against anybody at 140… I’m going to go back, work and stay focused and stay active. That’s one thing that’s affected me these last couple of years. I’ve trained so many times for a little bit of fights. My inactivity, my discouragement throughout training camps, it really took a big toll on me. I’m ready to stay active and stay motivated. There’s a lot of really great fighters coming up to 140. There’s a lot of really good fighters at 140 right now."