By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Regis Prograis was more impressed with Jose Ramirez’s second-round knockout of Mike Reed than what he saw Saturday night.
The WBC interim super lightweight champ still commended Ramirez’s performance against Amir Imam. Ramirez (22-0, 16 KOs) consistently pressured Imam (21-2, 18 KOs), hurt him several times and won their 12-round, 140-pound title bout by unanimous decision in The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Prograis took mental notes from ringside because he has earned a shot at Ramirez’s title. The strong southpaw from New Orleans, who won the WBC’s interim 140-pound championship March 9, will challenge Ramirez sometime later this year (https://www.boxingscene.com/arum-wants-ramirez-prograis-take-interim-fights-on-same-card--126339).
Whenever Prograis meets Ramirez, he realizes he’ll encounter an extremely determined champion.
“He looked good,” Prograis said. “It was a good fight. He looked real good. He pulled it off. I felt like he was gonna win, though. He got hit with a couple of shots, but he looked good. I really thought he was gonna knock [Imam] out. I didn’t think he was gonna see the final bell. I didn’t, because [Imam’s] eye was all busted up. I thought he was gonna knock him out.”
After getting an up-close look at Ramirez, Prograis determined that the 2012 Olympian from Avenal, California, is a better fighter than Julius Indongo. The 29-year-old Prograis (21-0, 18 KOs) knocked out Indongo (22-2, 11 KOs), a former IBF/IBO/WBA champ from Namibia, in the second round to win the WBC’s interim title March 9 in Deadwood, South Dakota.
Prograis also noticed numerous flaws in the aggressive Ramirez’s game.
“I see a lot of holes,” Prograis said. “He just got hit more, and somebody like me, I’m a big, big puncher, and I’m a body puncher, too. So I feel like if I hit him with some clean shots, it could possibly be over. But he did get hit by Imam. Imam is a big puncher, too, and he withstood it. He got hit by some big shots, and he took it. He went through ‘em. He does have a chin, though. I can definitely say he does have a chin. He bit down. Imam was hitting him with some good body shots, and he bit down and he came back and he beat him.”
Ramirez’s chin impressed Prograis enough that the confident fighter didn’t predict a knockout.
“I don’t know, man,” Prograis said. “He withstood Imam’s shots, but I do think I can hurt him. I do think I can hurt Ramirez. It’s always different when you get in there. You can watch boxing all day long, but until you get in front of that person, and they hit you and you’re hitting them, you never know what’s gonna happen.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.