Top Rank Inc. CEO Bob Arum has promoted some of the biggest names in boxing.
When Jose Ramirez was about to begin his quest at the 2012 U.S. Olympics, Arum wasn't about to lose sight of the Avenal-born boxer and wanted to sign him immediately to a five-year contract after he finished competing in London.
Ramirez signed on the dotted line and has produced a 10-0 record with eight knockouts since turning pro in November 2012. He will next fight Aug. 2 in Las Vegas against an opponent to be named later.
Ramirez's latest victory came May 17 when he stopped Jesus Selig in the second round on the "Fight for Water 2" card at Selland Arena in Fresno.
An 11-time national champion, Ramirez went 145-11 as an amateur, including titles at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team trials and back-to-back championships at the U.S. Nationals.
He went 1-1 at the London Games, losing a 15-11 decision to Uzbekistan's Fazliddin Gaibnazarov in the second round, but that didn't stop Arum from declaring Ramirez his top target.
Arum talked about why he signed Ramirez to a Top Rank contract.
Question: What were some of the characteristics that drew you to Jose Ramirez?
Answer: We were impressed at least on two levels: 1. We thought that he was a splendid young man with a lot of character and somebody who's not being an embarrassment to the sport, but really enhance the sport because he was a very intelligent, personable young man of good character. That was the first thing that we discovered when we met with him personally.
We were aware of his ability as a fighter because we had tracked his amateur career. We had watched film on it. We knew that he can deliver in the ring based on what we had been seeing in his amateur career, including making the Olympic team and performing at the Olympics and so we were excited about him on these two levels.
Is there anything that you were surprised about Ramirez since signing him?
The one thing we weren't aware of and was a real bonus is how really popular he was in the Fresno area. It's one thing for a kid to have a good character and to be a really good amateur, but to be followed so well in his home area is a really, really big bonus.
How soon did you realize how popular he is in the Fresno area?
That became obvious early on. Promoter/agent Rick Mirigian had told us about that from the beginning, but that's something that we didn't really know until we saw how well he can draw in his home area and the kind of attention he was getting.
What are some of the things that you are impressed or perhaps surprised about with Jose early in his career?
I'm really surprised how articulate he was and how he composed himself with a cause like these water rights. He's got involved on that level and not many fighters do that, so that's like a Manny Pacquiao thing.
I'm used to Manny being involved with these things in the Philippines and I'm proud to see Jose following and doing the similar things and I think it's really great.
Looking ahead to the rest of the year for Ramirez. What kind of plans do you have for him?
I would like to give Jose more exposure and have him on the card that we're putting together in Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands. That would give him an opportunity to fight a professional fight outside the country in Asia.