No matter what happens on Saturday night, Jose Carlos Ramirez is confident that he has already survived his toughest test.

It will have been 13 months since his last fight—his biggest win to date, no less—as Ramirez is finally set for a unified junior welterweight title defense versus Ukraine’s Viktor Postol. The bout airs live Saturday evening on ESPN+ from the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, coming on their third try after fight dates of February 2 in Haikou, China and May 9 in Fresno, California were canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

On the boxing side, nothing mattered more to Ramirez than making his way to the ring on the earliest available date. Of course, if that couldn’t happen he would understand as the one thing he’s make sure to fully grasp during these past few months is the value of patience and the reminder of God’s plan.

“I feel like I grew up in my head,” Ramirez (25-0, 17KOs) told of his greatest personal growth in a pandemic-stricken 2020. “We are living in a time where a lot of things are happening. It’s created a lot of frustration, a lot of anger.

“What it’s done for me, though, is it’s brought me closer to God and back to the Bible. It brought me back to reading the Gospel. It’s taught me to stay patient, with my family and my career. Stat patient with my life and being mature about things. Understanding why things happen and pray for the welfare of people.”

Ramirez has endured the equivalent of nearly three full training camps for his first fight since a 6th round knockout of Maurice Hooker in their battle of unbeaten 140-pound titlists last July. The plan for 2020 was to get through a pair of sanctioning body-ordered mandatory title defenses—first with Postol (31-2, 12KOs) and the WBC, then England’s Jack Catterall (25-0, 13KOs) for the WBO—before ending with a mouthwatering showdown with Scotland’s Josh Taylor (16-0, 12KOs) to determine junior welterweight supremacy.

The ongoing global health crisis has managed to interrupt in a big way, but never once breaking Ramirez’s spirit. If anything, it challenged him to change his way of thinking or at least revisit the choices he’s always made to get to where he is today both in and out of the ring. 

“It’s taken away the pressure I used to feel. I feel like I’m at peace,” Ramirez insists. “Many more blessings are coming my way. I’m just looking at the positive things. Doing that, I feel like nothing is distracting me. Nothing is against me right now, and moving forward as well.

“I’ve become a man through what fate has thrown me and when faced with adversity. You gain experience from that as well. I’m just ready for this fight. It’s made me ready to go into the ring and just show how far I’ve come in my boxing ability.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox