Jose Ramirez recently went to Los Angeles with agent/promoter Rick Mirigian to meet with Top Rank chief Bob Arum.
Ramirez’s request: a place on the undercard for the Manny Pacquiao/Tim Bradley Jr. III fight on April 9 in Las Vegas.
Never mind being put in any kind of headliner role in support of the main event. Ramirez didn’t care about that. He just wanted to be on the card for what could be Pacquiao’s last professional fight.
Arum agreed. That was settled.
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A few days later, it was Arum who reached out to add a little more icing to Ramirez’s first 10-round bout.
The 2012 U.S. Olympian had just finished a shower at his parents’ home in Avenal when he looked at his cellphone. He saw multiple texts from Mirigian, telling him Arum had more good news.
“I called Rick and he tells me, ‘You’re going to be on the television portion of the fight and here, Arum wants to talk to you,’ ” Ramirez recalled. “Arum says, ‘Jose, let me tell you, this guy (Mirigian) will not leave the office until I put you on the televised portion of the fight.’ ”
Ramirez (16-0, 12 KOs) will meet Manuel Perez (25-11-1, 6 KOs) in the scheduled 10-round junior-welterweight bout at MGM Grand Garden Arena. His fight likely will open the pay-per-view telecast at 6 p.m.
Arum said there will be three undercard fights on PPV. The others: Arthur Abraham/Gilberto Ramirez for Abraham’s WBO super-middleweight title, and Oscar Valdez/Evgeny Gradovich in a 10-round featherweight bout.
We discussed it, and he’s going to be on the pay-per view telecast, which is a huge step up for him as far as promoting him and so forth.
Top Rank CEO Bob Arum
“We discussed it, and he’s going to be on the pay-per-view telecast,” Arum said, “which is a huge step up for him as far as promoting him and so forth.”
Mirigian had to turn to his skills of persuasion in his negotiations with Top Rank.
“They had a Top Rank lawyer, and I was explaining to the lawyer Jose’s value is far more than anyone on the entire undercard, that no can bring the fan base and bring the support like he can,” Mirgian said. “I just went down the list and showed him different groups that would support Jose if he was on that portion and what it would do for Jose. The lawyer argued on some points, but I was able to articulate myself and he read of some of the (success and support).”
Ramirez, who did his part by being the main draw in December on a six-bout card that drew a hugely impressive 13,120 to Save Mart Center, was more than grateful.
“I wanted to be on the undercard, not on the TV card, but when this came about to be on the pay-per-view card, it gave me more excitement,” he said.
Ramirez is coming off an eight-round unanimous decision over Johnny Garcia in that December bout, capturing the vacant WBC Continental Americas super-lightweight title. Ramirez is the WBC’s No. 18-rated boxer in the super-lightweight division. He had several four- and six-round fights before advancing to eight-rounders in 2014.
Another win will catapult him into world title contention.
“I really think he’s made tremendous progress,” Arum said. “(Trainer) Freddie Roach is high on him and Manny, and they’ll be working together at Wild Card (Roach’s boxing club in Los Angeles) at the same time. It makes a hell of a lot of sense.”
Ramirez will be Pacquiao’s main sparring partner and begins training Monday. His trek to this 10-round fight began in December 2012, when he made his pro debut at the same venue. That night, he was way down the list on a card headlined by Pacquiao’s fight with Juan Manuel Marquez IV. Scheduled to fight four rounds (but finishing Corey Siegwarth in the first round), Ramirez was never in consideration for a TV spot.
Now, he’ll get the TV time while knowing the stakes are raised.
What a better way to fight on the pay-per-view card. I know how hard I’m willing to work, so I’m definitely going to show a stronger showing than my last fight.
“I’ve fought on the stage before but not before millions around the world watching,” Ramirez said. “What a better way to fight on the pay-per-view card. I know how hard I’m willing to work, so I’m definitely going to show a stronger showing than my last fight.”