Jose Ramirez isn’t the least bit interested in making back-to-back mandatory defenses of his 140-pound championships.
Ramirez’s obligatory defense of the WBC super lightweight title against Viktor Postol will be his first fight following the COVID-19 pandemic. He would’ve attempted to fulfill that commitment three months ago, but Ramirez-Postol has been postponed twice due to the coronavirus crisis.
If Ramirez overcomes Postol, however, he wants to face Josh Taylor in his following fight. England’s Jack Catterall (25-0, 13 KOs) is the mandatory challenger for Ramirez’s WBO junior welterweight title, but Ramirez wants nothing more than to battle Taylor, the IBF and WBA champion, for full supremacy in their division.
“It’s too early to tell [when it could happen], but that’s the fight I want next,” Ramirez told BoxingScene.com regarding a showdown with Taylor. “I know Jack Catterall’s been making some statements that he’s not gonna wanna take no step-aside money. He’s my mandatory for the WBO title. I inherited that mandatory when I beat [Maurice] Hooker. He was Hooker’s mandatory. But I’m not interested in Jack Catterall. I’m not interested in facing him at all. If I have to, I’ll be happy to get that fight out of the way. But I want Taylor next.”
A bout between the 27-year-old Ramirez (25-0, 17 KOs), of Avenal, California, and the 29-year-old Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs), of Prestonpans, Scotland, should be relatively easy to put together because Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. promotes Ramirez and co-promotes Taylor.
The Scottish southpaw also will have to successfully make a mandatory defense of his IBF belt against Thailand’s Apinun Khongsong (16-0, 13 KOs) before advancing to a more meaningful fight with Ramirez. Taylor and Khongsong were supposed to meet May 2 at SSE Hydro in Glasgow, but that match must be rescheduled as well.
Ramirez realizes Ukraine’s Postol (31-2, 12 KOs) is a formidable challenger, but if Ramirez and Taylor are successful in their respective defenses against Postol and Khongsong, Ramirez hopes the WBO grants him an exception to fight Taylor. The 2012 U.S. Olympian doesn’t want to get stripped of that title for failing to face Catterall, but he doesn’t want fans to accuse him of avoiding Taylor, either.
“The thing about that is if I make that decision [to fight Catterall] because there’s no other option, people will never understand that,” Ramirez said. “I’ve already seen the history of people loving to gossip on things that ain’t true, and they eat it up. So, they’re gonna probably think that, ‘Oh, I thought Taylor was next? You’ve been saying that you want Taylor next.’ So sh-t, man, I just don’t want people to be misunderstanding things. But people do it. Even though they know it’s not true, they’ll take it. Some media outlets also will take it and they’ll share it to fans. I don’t want that to happen. I wanna face Taylor. I know I can beat Taylor, and that’s it. So, if I have to wait for something to work out with Taylor, then I’ll just wait and fight Taylor.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.