Boxing returns to the central San Joaquin Valley in March. But you won’t find Jose Ramirez on the card. There is a good reason for that.
Ramirez agent/promoter Rick Mirigian is trying to secure a spot in Australia if the Manny Pacquiao/Jeff Horn fight is there. Nothing has been finalized by Top Rank.
If that doesn’t work out, Mirigian said it’s either Las Vegas, China or Arizona in April or May for the Avenal native and former U.S. Olympian.
“Top Rank is the biggest company in the world, so we are jockeying for a spot with a lot of high-end fighters for a big fight,” Mirigian said. “We feel we have the edge because our fans, sponsors and our supporters, none of these other fighters have, and Las Vegas is just 45 minutes away (on flight).”
Ramirez sees a potential fight in Australia as a chance to grow his brand globally. He fought in China in 2015.
“My goal is to have my first fight (of the year) in April,” said Ramirez, who’s coming off a KO of Issouf Kinda in December to run his record to 19-0 with 14 KOs. “I think that’s the best scenario and our goal is Rick trying to negotiate and get it done with Top Rank.”
Ramirez also would like to share billing with Pacquiao, whether it’s in Australia or elsewhere, since they are both trained by Hall of Famer Freddie Roach.
The Ramirez camp hopes to hear from Top Rank within the next two weeks. Ideally, he would fight four times in 2017, adhering to this rough schedule:
▪ First bout in April or May at a venue to be determined;
▪ the second fight at Lemoore’s Tachi Palace Resort & Casino, where tickets would be limited for a June or July card;
▪ a third potentially outdoors at Chukchansi Park, sometime in September;
▪ then close out the year at Save Mart Center in December.
Setting up Chukchansi Park as a fight venue, possibly for a major TV card, has been on Mirigian’s mind for a while.
“We have done well when we held boxing events at the Save Mart Center and Selland (Arena),” he said. “We will need some help to land this massive fight as the cost goes way up to get it here. Imagine the revenue that will flow downtown and the positive TV time Fresno and downtown would get to millions.”
And then there’s the ultimate goal, with Ramirez still marching toward a world title bout. He is eying the winner between Ricky Burns and Julius Indongo in a WBA/IBF junior welterweight title unification fight.
“That’s what I’m looking for,” Ramirez said. “If the opportunity comes, I can challenge one of them for the title. It’s the best scenario for me to become a world champion.”
Tachi hosts March fights – Andy Vences and Daniel Valdivia will co-headline the March 10 card at Tachi.
Vendes will face Angel Hernandez in a 10-round junior lightweight bout. Valdivia of Tulare faces Douglas Ataide in an eight-round junior middleweight clash.
Timothy Bradley Jr. will be in attendance.
Tickets are $38 to $128 and can be purchased at www.tachipalace.com or the casino gift shop.