Jose Ramirez has mostly motored through the 13 fighters he has faced in his pro boxing career, but that might change when he steps back into the ring in two weeks.
The Avenal boxer and 2012 U.S. Olympian will face Robert Frankel of Albuquerque, N.M. on the “Fight for Water 4” card May 9 at Selland Arena.
Frankel is known as a career spoiler, stopping Bobby Pacquiao, the brother of Manny, in 2008. Bobby Pacquiao has since retired.
“Certainly Jose’s toughest opponent,” Top Rank matchmaker Bruce Trampler said. “Frankel has fought world champions … tons of credentials.”
Among the former champs with whom Frankel has tangled: Lamont Peterson, David Diaz and Paul Spadafora.
Ramirez (13-0, 10 KOs) has taken note.
“It’s going to be a good fight because of his experience,” Ramirez said this week. “He fought a lot of good fighters and went the distance. He won some but lost some. He’s capable of giving me a lot of rounds of experience. I feel really, like strong and feel fast, and I feel like my speed and power are going to be effective.”
Frankel (33-15, 6 KOs) has not been knocked out since 2008. He is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Robert Rodriguez in September. Frankel’s last four fights have gone the distance — two eight-rounders and two to 10.
“I have trained hard for this fight,” Ramirez said, “and fighting at home always motivates me even more, I will be ready come May 9 to give my hometown a title defense. I’m training hard to stay sharp.”
Top Rank CEO Bob Arum said Ramirez could vault into contender status with a win.
“I heard something about that,” Ramirez said. “I always take each fight like it’s my last. I’m focused and this is my biggest fight to date. Get that win and get ready for what comes after.”
Said Ramirez’s agent/promoter Rick Mirigian: “This is the fight that can catapult Ramirez to the next level. Prospect to contender he goes.”
• Among others on the card: Oxnard’s Irving Garcia (nephew of trainer Robert Garcia and world champ Mikey Garcia), who fights in the co-main event; Daniel Valdivia of Tulare and Joe Lopez of Fresno; and the pro debuts of Alex Rojas (Fowler) and Julian Lopez.
• Mirigian said Mexican boxing legend Erik Morales will attend the fights. Morales retired in 2012 with a 52-9 record with 39 KOs. That includes a win over Manny Pacquiao in 2005. He is the first Mexican-born boxer to win world titles in four weight classes.
• Tickets, at $18-$110 with a select number of VIP floor tables that seat 10, can be purchased at the Selland box office.