By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Jose Ramirez read and heard criticism even after he dismantled Mike Reed four months ago.
Ramirez knocked out the previously undefeated Reed in the second round of their November 11 bout to ensure his title fight against Amir Imam on Saturday night. As impressive as that dominant performance might’ve been to some, others minimized Ramirez’s win because Reed was unproven against championship-caliber fighters.
“It’s not easy to make all the fans happy,” Ramirez told BoxingScene.com before a press conference Thursday at Madison Square Garden. “There’s always something that you’re lacking, there’s always something that you missed. But for me, I know my job and I’ve been doing it for 17 years. I didn’t start boxing two years ago. I started when I was 8, I went through the Olympics and I’m here now. I believe in my potential and my skills, and I have faith I’m gonna do good in this sport.”
If Ramirez (21-0, 16 KOs) can overcome Imam (21-1, 18 KOs), the Avenal, California, native will win the vacant WBC super lightweight title Terence Crawford gave up last year. ESPN will televise their 12-round, 140-pound title fight as the main event of a tripleheader scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
“He’s a technical fighter,” Ramirez said of Imam. “He moves the jab properly and he works the right hand behind that. I hope he comes ready and I hope we make it a great fight for the fans. We have a great game plan to go out there and do, and I hope it works. And if it doesn’t, those are the obstacles and adversity I’m willing to go through to become a world champion. I’m not too much worried about what he’s gonna bring to the table. I know what I’m gonna bring to the table.”
The 25-year-old Ramirez, a 2012 Olympian who’s trained by Freddie Roach, is confident he is ready to beat Imam and take on the best boxers within the 140-pound division.
“I really wanna fight the best, honestly,” Ramirez said. “Despite whether people believe I’m ready or not ready, I believe I’m ready and that’s all that really matters. … I really do wanna make a statement at 140 pounds. That’s the goal.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.