By Keith Idec
Now that he has made weight, Antonio Orozco is ready to put forth the type of fan-friendly fight with Jose Ramirez that many experts expect Friday night in Fresno, California.
“We just both wanna go out there and do what we have to do to win,” Orozco told BoxingScene.com. “And if it turns into that type of fight, you know, being one of those fights, then it’s one thing off the check list. Everybody wants to have their Gatti-Ward moment, and hey, it might be Friday night.”
Orozco referred to the legendary trilogy the late Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward produced in 2002 and 2003.
The 26-year-old Ramirez (22-0, 16 KOs), of Avenal, California, will make his first defense of the WBC super lightweight title against San Diego’s Orozco (27-0, 17 KOs). For the 30-year-old Orozco, it represents a high-profile opportunity to put all of his well-publicized problems making weight in recent years behind him.
ESPN will air their scheduled 12-round, 140-pound title bout as the main event from Fresno State University’s Save Mart Center. The televised action is set to start at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
A capacity crowd in excess of 14,000 is expected to heavily favor Ramirez, who has become very popular in California’s Central Valley for his activism within the community.
“We know it’s in his hometown,” Orozco said. “We know he’s gonna have the crowd. You know, it’s him and I at the end of the night and, you know, we’re just looking to put on a good show.”
Ramirez was supposed to make his first title defense July 7 against Danny O’Connor (30-3, 11 KOs). That fight was canceled two days earlier because O’Connor was so severely dehydrated from trying to make weight he was hospitalized.
A replacement couldn’t be found on such short notice, which led promoter Bob Arum to reschedule Ramirez’s first title defense for Friday night.
In addition to the Ramirez-Orozco bout, ESPN will televise a 10-round super featherweight bout between Jamel Herring (17-2, 10 KOs), of Coram, New York, and the Philippines’ John Moralde (20-1, 10 KOs). A six-rounder that’ll pit 18-year-old lightweight prospect Gabriel Flores (9-0, 5 KOs), of Stockton, California, against Roger Gutierrez (7-1-1, 4 KOs, 1 NC), of Pacoima, California, also will be part of the broadcast.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.