Former world champion Terence Crawford relinquished his four titles in boxing’s super lightweight division.
Who will take the reigns next in the division?
All three were among those who worked out Wednesday at Selma Auto Mall ahead of Saturday’s fight card at Save Mart Center.
It is a marquee lineup that will be broadcast on ESPN, with Ramirez facing Reed in a 10-round main event.
If Ramirez wins the super lightweight bout, he will move on to fight for a WBC world title against Imam (20-1, 17 KOs) of Albany, N.Y.
Imam is No. 1 in the WBC, with American Regis Prograis rated second, followed by Ramirez, Viktor Postol of the Ukraine and Mexico’s Omar Figueroa.
For now, Imam chooses to focus on the opponent immediately in front of him. On Saturday’s undercard of the Top Rank/ESPN promotion in Fresno, that’s Johnny Garcia (19-5-1, 11 KOs).
“I want to get through this fight,” Imam said. “He’s a good opponent, so I have to look out for him and worry about whoever wins the next fight.”
Ramirez (20-0, 15 KOs) is rated No. 3 by the WBC and No. 5 by the WBO at 140 pounds. Reed (23-0, 12 KOs), a 24-year-old southpaw who says he doesn’t hold Ramirez in high regard, is ranked No. 10 by the WBO.
Reed expects a hostile crowd.
“I’m pretty sure everyone wants to see Jose win,” he said. “Our styles will make a good fight, and the 15,000 (expected to attend Saturday) will eventually turn on him because it will be such a performance by me.”
Ramirez knows what is at stake, with a win setting up a title fight against Imam likely in 2018.
“I have to finish this right,” Ramirez said. “I've been setting myself goals, but as I remember as a young kid. watching the (Julio Cesar) Chavez fights. The WBC belt – the world title belt I dreamed of having one day.
“For me, I feel excited and hungry to tell myself if I got here, finish this right. We have to go through Mike Reed, and hopefully fight for the world title. I self-motivate myself and say I can’t take a step back.”
Fight for Water 7
Bouts at Save Mart Center for Nov. 11, 2017
Welterweight (8 rounds): Juan Ruiz (20-0, 12 KOs) vs. Alexander Besputin (7-0, 5 KOs)
Super featherweight (10 rounds): Andy Vences (19-0, 11 KOs) vs. TBA
Super lightweight (8 rounds): Maxim Dadashev (8-0, 7 KOs) vs. Clarence Booth (15-3, 8 KOs)
Super lightweight (8 rounds): Arnold Barboza Jr. (17-0, 6 KOs) vs. Dario Ferman (14-3, 11 KOs)
Featherweight (6 rounds): Vislan Dalkhave (9-0, 2 KOs) vs. Fernando Fuentes (13-7-1, 4 KOs)
Middleweight (6 rounds): Quilisto Madera (7-0, 4 KOs) vs. Even Torres (6-5, 5 KOs)
Lightweight (4 rounds): Bryan Lua (1-0) vs. TBA
Tickets: $33-$150 at the Save Mart Center box office and select Save Mart Supermarkets or www.ticketmaster.com
Dave and Buster’s Fresno
2:30 p.m. Friday
212 East River Park Circle