LAS VEGAS – Jose Ramirez admits he wasn’t at his best when he beat Viktor Postol by majority decision August 29.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused two postponements of their mandated 140-pound title fight, which forced Ramirez and Postol to train three times for it. Ramirez told BoxingScene.com that he was “mentally exhausted” by the time they fought for his WBC and WBO championships.
The thing Josh Taylor assumes Ramirez won’t admit is that he underestimated Ukraine’s Postol, a former WBC super lightweight champion who was 36 when they fought at MGM Grand Conference Center. Taylor beat Postol by unanimous decision in a competitive 12-round bout in June 2018, and therefore knew Postol (31-3, 12 KOs) would pose problems for Ramirez (26-0, 17 KOs).
“I wasn’t surprised,” Taylor told BoxingScene.com. “I knew that Viktor Postol was still a very live dog in the fight, and I knew he was gonna be very tricky. I just don’t believe they thought he was still a good fighter. They didn’t think he was the same. They thought that he was old, and things like that. But I knew it was gonna be a competitive fight.”
Judge Dave Moretti scored Ramirez-Postol a draw, 114-114. The two other judges – Tim Cheatham (115-113) and Steve Weisfeld (116-112) – scored that fight for Ramirez.
Those same three judges have been assigned by the Nevada State Athletic Commission to work the Ramirez-Taylor fight Saturday night.
“I watched [Ramirez-Postol] again the other day and I thought [Ramirez] was very, very, very fortunate to come away with that decision,” Taylor said. “Let’s put it that way. I actually could’ve made a case for Postol winning the fight by a round.”
Nevertheless, Scotland’s Taylor (17-0, 13 KOs) expects the best version of Ramirez when they fight for Taylor’s IBF and WBA and Ramirez’s WBC and WBO titles.
“I don’t believe the performance was very good,” Taylor said. “I do believe he’s a better fighter than that. I’m gonna give him the benefit of the doubt, with the fight being postponed and having three camps and stuff like that. At the same time, so did Postol, had the same thing happen to him. So, I mean, I wasn’t too impressed.
“But, you know, listen, it is what it is. You can only go off his last performance. It wasn’t too great. I’ve watched the fight and I’m past thinking about it. That was it. It’s all about May 22nd.”
ESPN will televise Taylor-Ramirez as the main event of a tripleheader from The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. If it doesn’t result in a draw, the winner will become just the sixth fully unified male champion in any division during boxing’s four-belt era.
In the 10-round co-feature, junior welterweight contender Jose Zepeda (33-2, 26 KOs, 2 NC), of La Puente, California, will fight Philadelphia’s Hank Lundy (31-8-1, 14 KOs). The broadcast is set to start at 8 p.m. EDT with an eight-rounder in which Dominican junior welterweight prospect Elvis Rodriguez (11-0-1, 10 KOs) will square off against Chicago’s Kenneth Sims Jr. (15-2-1, 5 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.