By Keith Idec
Jose Ramirez is confident a younger, energetic trainer will bring more out of him.
According to Ramirez, that’s why he switched trainers recently, from Freddie Roach to Robert Garcia. Roach trained Ramirez for his first 22 professional fights and guided the 2012 Olympian to a world title in his last outing, a unanimous-decision defeat of Amir Imam on March 17 in New York.
The undefeated Ramirez is working with Garcia for his first defense of the WBC super lightweight championship July 7. Ramirez (22-0, 16 KOs) is scheduled to make an optional defense that night against Danny O’Connor (30-3, 11 KOs) at Save Mart Center in Fresno, California.
Ramirez explained his decision during an ESPN+ interview between bouts Saturday night at Save Mart Center.
“It just comes to a point in my career where I want something to be brought out of me more,” Ramirez said. “You know, there’s always more fire, there’s always more tools, more different things you could learn. And Robert’s a young, hungry trainer who’s still very motivated to train.
“And the excitement that I could see in his face and his expressions, to be able to train me, you know, that excited me as a fighter, you know, to be trained by someone like him. And the chemistry and the fire and the drive to work together is there. That’s gonna push and bring more out of me.”
Garcia, the older brother and trainer of four-division champ Mikey Garcia, is 43. Roach is 58.
The 25-year-old Ramirez didn’t disparage Roach, a Garcia rival who also lost Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao from his stable of fighters recently.
“Me working with Freddie, it was an honor for me and he’s always gonna be part of my career,” Ramirez said. “A lot of the things I learned are thanks to him, and I’m gonna continue using them as part of my tools, in my toolbox, in fights. So I’m very thankful that I had the opportunity to train with someone like Freddie Roach.”
Ramirez, of Avenal, California, is heavily favored to beat O’Connor, a southpaw from Framingham, Massachusetts.
O’Connor has won four straight fights, but his last loss was a first-round knockout to light-punching Gabriel Bracero (24-3-1, 5 KOs) in October 2015 in Lowell, Massachusetts. The Bracero bout took place at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds, a division above the weight at which O’Connor will challenge Ramirez.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.