Luke Santamaria was so eager to build more momentum off the biggest win of his career, he moved out of his weight class to battle Abel Ramos’ undefeated, highly regarded, 21-year-old nephew.
Santamaria admits that jumping up seven pounds to the junior middleweight division is temporary. He just felt that this was an opportunity he couldn’t turn down because his 10-round fight with Jesus Ramos will be part of the Gervonta Davis-Rolando Romero undercard Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“I’m excited to put on a great show and shock the world once again,” Santamaria told Premier Boxing Champions’ Ray Flores during an open workout Wednesday at Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn. “We accepted the fight right away because we know it was gonna be a great fight. So, you know, we’re excited.”
Santamaria upset Abel Ramos by unanimous decision in their 10-round welterweight fight February 5 in Las Vegas. Jesus Ramos doesn’t think Santamaria did enough to deserve that victory, but judges Lisa Giampa (98-92), Dave Moretti (96-94) and Patricia Morse Jarman (96-94) all credited him for beating Abel Ramos on the Keith Thurman-Mario Barrios undercard at Mandalay Bay Resort Casino’s Michelob ULTRA Arena.
The 24-year-old Santamaria suspects he’ll need to approach Jesus Ramos more carefully than Abel Ramos because he is bigger than his uncle and a harder puncher.
“[I need to] just box, you know, try to control that power and that’s [it] pretty much,” said Santamaria, who has outpointed Devon Alexander and Abel Ramos in back-to-back bouts. “You know, it’s gonna be a great fight and I’m gonna take him to school, boxing school.”
Santamaria (13-2-1, 7 KOs), of Garden Grove, California, feels fresher entering this bout because he hasn’t had to drop down to the welterweight limit of 147 pounds, the division in which he feels most comfortable.
“I feel better,” Santamaria said. “It’s not the weight class [where] I’m gonna keep fighting. I did it just to fight Jesus. But once the fight’s over, we’re gonna go down. But I feel great. You know, I get to eat more and I get to cut less, so it’s cool.”
Jesus Ramos (18-0, 15 KOs), of Casa Grande, Arizona, is an 11-1 favorite to defeat Santamaria, according to Caesars Sportsbook.
In his most recent appearance, Jesus Ramos knocked out Mexican southpaw Vladimir Hernandez (13-5, 6 KOs) in the sixth round on the Thurman-Barrios undercard. Jesus Ramos and Santamaria will square off in the second of three fights Showtime Pay-Per-View will televise as part of the Davis-Romero undercard (9 p.m. ET; $74.99).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.