If any boxing lesson has been learned by Jose Carlos Ramirez in 2020, it’s to never count on a fight until you’re finally in the ring and hear the sound of the opening bell.

Still, the unbeaten and unified junior welterweight titlist can’t help but look forward to the mission he sought to complete when the year began.

A thrice-scheduled title defense versus Ukraine’s Viktor Postol (31-2, 12KOs) will finally see the light of day, with the two colliding Saturday evening live on ESPN+ from MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas. A win by Ramirez will not only satisfy one mandatory title obligation but will increase long-drawn interest in an undisputed championship clash with fellow unbeaten and unified 140-pound titlist Josh Taylor (16-0, 12KO).

With that looming overhead came the increased concern over clearing present day business from his schedule at the earliest possible convenience.

“It’s a fight that I wanted to make sure it happened sooner rather than later,” Ramirez (25-0, 17KOs) told BoxingScene,com of the need to get back into the ring by this point. “We wanted to fight on the closest date possible in order to be able to fight again before the end of the year.

“We want to get that Josh Taylor fight done after we fight Postol.”

The likelihood of a four-belt unification clash between the two strengthened after Scotland’s Taylor signed a promotional contract with Top Rank. Ramirez has been with the Vegas-based outfit since turning pro shortly after his serving on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Boxing team which competed in London.

Taylor currently has his own mandatory title defense to worry about, facing Thailand’s Apinan Khongsong on September 26 in East London, a bout that was rescheduled from May due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The same global health crisis twice delayed plans for Ramirez and Postol to meet, first due to square off February 2 in Haikou, China, and then plans for a May 9 ESPN headliner at Save Mart Arena in Fresno, where Ramirez—who hails from nearby Avenal, California—has emerged as a massive gate attraction.

The inability to permit fans in attendance limited where this weekend’s title fight could take place, as Top Rank has created “The Bubble” on MGM property in Vegas where it has been running closed-doors shows since June. That was never a concern to Ramirez, who simply just wanted to get back in the ring.

“It was never about where it took place or what other shows are (surrounding it),” Ramirez notes of the timing and location of his fight, which comes as part of a hectic schedule for Top Rank, armed with fight dates through October and potentially the rest of 2020. “I’ve been working hard this whole year. I just want to be rewarded, not just financially but the mental part of it as well. I’ve been away from my family while training for this fight. I just can’t wait to see them again.”

No matter the final outcome on Saturday, Ramirez will most certainly race home with his loved ones. A win, though—coupled with a similarly produced result by Taylor next month—could provide a straight path to his year-end vision.

“God willing, that’s the fight we get,” Ramirez states, not at all looking past present-day business but rather confident in the work he’s put in to provide that outcome. “We had a good talk with Mr. Arum. He wants that fight for the undisputed championship. Right now, there’s dispute as to who is the best in the division. After that happens, I will prove it to myself that I am the best. “Until then, I just have the mentality that I am the best. I can tell the fans that I’m the best, just like [Taylor] can tell the fans that he’s the best. He has two belts and I have two belts. So we need to get together, for the winner to get all four belts and prove to the world who’s the best in the 140-pound division.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox