Jose Ramirez is in the Philippines. No, not for a vacation.
The Avenal pro boxer is there again to train with future Hall of Famer Manny Pacquiao (58-6-2), who will return to the boxing ring Nov. 5 in Las Vegas against Jessie Vargas (27-1, 10 KOs) for Vargas’ WBO world welterweight title.
Pacquiao last fought April 9 and defeated Timothy Bradley Jr. by unanimous decision. After the fight, Pacquiao retired and then ran for a seat in the Philippine Senate. He was elected in May.
Pacquiao’s boxing retirement was brief, and Top Rank announced in July he would be returning to the ring.
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This is Ramirez’s second time training with the eight-division world champion in the Philippines, as the 24-year-old from Avenal prepares for his Dec. 2 fight at the Save Mart Center against an opponent to be named later.
“I’m happy to see what I’ve developed since then,” said Ramirez, who last fought July 9 and defeated Tomas Mendez by knockout. “Like any fighter, I would like to see he (Pacquiao) shows respect to me inside the ring throughout the sparring. I want to see that sign. A fighter with that experience and showing respect to me as a fighter inside the ring … that’s a good accomplishment and will bring my confidence up.”
Ramirez’s promoter/agent Rick Mirigian said his fighter will never decline a chance to spar with Pacquiao. Both boxers are trained by Hall of Famer Freddie Roach.
“The ability to spar and train with one of the best fighters the sport has ever had and travel across the world is what goes in to becoming a world champion,” Mirigian said. “Ramirez is no stranger to hard work and sacrifice.”
Ramirez (18-0, 13 KOs) didn’t believe Pacquiao would stay retired coming off his victory.
“That last fight was a confidence-booster for him,” he said. “He beat Bradley, and that was a good win for him. There was no doubt in his last fight.”
Locals sign – Madera native Bryan Lua and Isidro Ochoa of Fresno both signed with Las Vegas-based Top Rank.
Lua’s amateur record was 100-5 with 10 national titles at 132 pounds. Ochoa comes from the Fresno PAL program and had 110 amateur wins with 12 national titles. He recently won the Desert Invitational in Indio.
The 18-year-olds will be trained by Robert Garcia and Tommie Avila.
“These two elite prospects will now look to stabilize the future of the sport in the Central Valley in the future,” Top Rank matchmaker Bruce Trampler said. “Their signings are key pieces to Top Rank’s explosion the past four years out here and its future.”
Me-N-Ed’s strike a punch – Mirigian struck a deal with local chain Me-N-Ed’s to have 200,000 pizza boxes distributed throughout the central San Joaquin Valley that include a box-topper that will give fans two free ticket vouchers to the Dec. 2 event. The promotion will begin Thursday.
On the card – Besides Ramirez, Daniel Valdivia of Tulare, Saul Lomas of Fresno, Kalisto Madera of Stockton and former two-time lightweight world title challenger Raymundo Beltran will be on the card, with more to be finalized later.
Tickets – Mirigian said an estimated 6,000 seats have been sold, while floor seats are sold out.
Fresno boxer victorious – Super welterweight Marcos Hernandez (9-0, 2 KOs) earned a unanimous victory over Detroit’s Antonio Urista (7-2, 2 KOs) in their eight-round bout Sept. 13 in Nice.