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Jose Ramirez vs. Amir Imam: Stats & Stakes

By Cliff Rold

Jr. welterweight might be getting fun in a hurry.

Despite the exit of champion Terence Crawford, the reload is in full effect. Mikey Garcia now has a title in class. Regis Prograis impressed last week by blitzing former unified titlist Julius Indongo.

And now we head to the Garden (Theatre) for an intriguing clash for a vacant WBC 140 lb. strap. Jose Ramirez is a ticket seller with a TV friendly style that might make him a star. Amir Imam was once viewed as a very promising rising talent who might be overlooked based on only a single loss.

This is the sort of fight where we could all be pleasantly surprised no matter the outcome.

ramirez-imam-weights (1)

Let’s get into it.

Stats and Stakes

Jose Ramirez

Age: 25

Title: None

Previous Titles: None

Height: 5’10  

Weight: 139 lbs.

Stance: Orthodox

Hails from: Avenal, California

Record: 21-0, 16 KO?

Press Rankings: #6 (Boxing Monthly), #8 (Ring), #10 (TBRB)

Sanctioning Body Rankings: #3 (WBC) 

Record in Major Title Fights: 1st Title Fight

Last Five Opponents: 107-24-2 (.818)

Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced: None

Vs.

Amir Imam

Titles: None

Previous Titles: None

Age: 27

Height: 5’10 ½ 

Weight: 139 ¼ lbs.

Stance: Orthodox

Hails from: Albany, New York

Record: 21-1, 18 KO, 1 KOBY

Press Rankings: Unrated

Sanctioning Body Rankings: #1 (WBC)

Record in Major Title Fights: 1st Title Fight 

Last Five Opponents: 106-60-5 (.626)

Current/Former World Champions Faced: None

The Case for Ramirez: While he competed at the 2012 Olympics, Jose Ramirez didn’t come out of the Games with the same expectations as someone like teammate Errol Spence. He was seen as a raw project to develop and develop he has. Ramirez presses the fight but he doesn’t do so without thought. His jab has become a smart weapon. It’s not always the quickest, but he sticks with it and can turn it over into a hook suddenly. Ramirez works the body well and, to date, has been a good finisher. In Imam he has a fighter who can match his height and he can’t afford to let Imam get comfortable in being first. That might not be easy. If the quicker Imam starts to bank some rounds, Ramirez can’t get frustrated into mistakes. Imam can punch. Ramirez can too and showed real finishing chops in his last outing against the undefeated Mike Reed. He knows Imam was down against Fidel Maldonado and stopped by Adrian Granados. Imam often fights out of the pocket and that could play to Ramirez’s advantage if he stays patient.

The Case for Imam: Imam has serious punching power and can show off good defensive technique. The difference between being a teammate of Ramirez’s at the 2012 Games was Imam’s inability to defeat Spence; his foundation is solid. With two fights in 2017, the most recent in November, inactivity shouldn’t be too big an issue. Much of Imam’s chances could come down to his mental approach. If he has shaken off the Granados loss, a fight where he took a lot of leather, he will find Ramirez hittable. Imam fights taller than Ramirez does and that could help the New Yorker get some nice leverage on his right hand. While much has been made of Imam’s vulnerability, Ramirez was on the floor against unheralded Johnny Garcia in 2015. If Ramirez starts to land will Imam go back to his lone loss and wilt under the pressure? Or does he plant his feet and find a needed career saver?

The Pick

Ramirez has, if nothing else, been developed well. His improvement in the ring the last couple years has been substantial and his cultivated ticket selling in Central California is Top Rank doing one of the things they do best. Neither guy has truly been proven yet as a professional and this fight may ultimately be seen as just a step towards proof, belt or not. Is Ramirez a local attraction who can’t make it to the big stage? Is Amir Imam able to catch as well as take? They’re all fun questions and this should be a fun fight. If both men come off the floor, it won’t be a surprise. The feeling here is Ramirez is a little more durable in a fight where what happens at close quarters should tell the tale. The pick is Ramirez in a grinding, physical affair. 

Rold Picks 2018: 5-4

Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by steeve steel on 03-17-2018

Going with Iman by KO... if he can stop posing between combos and be disciplined.

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