By Keith Idec
Four days after Jose Ramirez’s last opponent couldn’t make weight, his handlers have secured another challenger who has repeatedly struggled to make the 140-pound limit.
According to a Yahoo! Sports report Tuesday night, Ramirez will defend his WBC super lightweight title against Antonio Orozco on September 14 in Fresno, California. ESPN will televise Ramirez-Orozco from Fresno State University’s SaveMart Center.
“I think [Ramirez-Orozco] is a terrific fight,” Top Rank president Todd duBoef told Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole. “Stylistically, it is a can’t miss.”
The 30-year-old Orozco, the WBC’s No. 3-ranked super lightweight contender, is undefeated and a more credible opponent than Danny O’Connor. But like O’Connor last week, Orozco has had serious trouble making weight for 140-pound bouts in the recent past.
Orozco (27-0, 17 KOs) was treated for severe dehydration the day he was supposed to weigh-in for a December 2016 fight against Fidel Maldonado Jr. in Indio, California. Their fight was canceled, which made Orozco consider a move up to the welterweight limit of 147 pounds.
He ultimately remained at super lightweight, but failed to make weight for one of his three 140-pound fights scheduled since the Maldonado match was canceled. Orozco reportedly was seven pounds overweight the day he was supposed to weigh in for a 140-pound fight against Roberto Ortiz last year in Inglewood, California.
Orozco didn’t make it to the California State Athletic Commission’s scale for that September 23 bout, either, and it also was canceled. Orozco made the 140-pound limit for his two bouts between those two canceled contests and won both of those fights convincingly.
He defeated KeAndre Gibson by fourth-round technical knockout in the first of those two bouts in April 2017. Orozco then beat Martin Honorio by unanimous decision in his last fight, March 16 in Los Angeles.
The 25-year-old Ramirez (22-0, 16 KOs), of Avenal, California, was supposed to fight the 13th-ranked O’Connor on Saturday night at SaveMart Center. O’Connor (30-3, 11 KOs), a southpaw from Framingham, Massachusetts, was so severely dehydrated by Friday that he was temporarily placed in the intensive care unit at an area hospital.
Promoter Bob Arum’s matchmakers understandably couldn’t find a replacement for O’Connor on such short notice. That forced Ramirez to watch a card that was built entirely around him from a ringside seat Saturday night.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.