Top Rank first signed Jose Ramirez to a five-year contract in 2012, with the Las Vegas-based promotions giant holding high expectations for the Avenal native’s professional career.
The 2012 U.S. Olympian has delivered a 16-0 record with 12 knockouts, with a WBC Super Continentals title to boot.
Top Rank is looking for more, but not waiting to ensure Ramirez remains in its stable beyond that original deal.
Ramirez earned a two-year extension last week in advance of his April 9 fight against Manuel Perez (25-11-1, 6 KOs) – his first 10-round junior welterweight fight and one of the undercard features for the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley Jr. fight night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
“Very happy they’re giving me this opportunity to continue to be a part of Top Rank,” Ramirez said, “just continue to do what I do in Central California and what we do as the team in agent-promoter Rick Mirigian, the Latino Water Coalition and everybody that has been a part on putting fights in Central California.
“Top Rank is very happy with that and giving me the opportunity.”
Top Rank CEO Bob Arum said there was no hesitation when it came to the extension. Ramirez not only has proven his ability in the ring, but also as a fan favorite. His main-event bout on Dec. 7, an eight-round unanimous decision over Johnny Garcia, drew a sellout crowd of 13,120 at Save Mart Center.
“We’re absolutely convinced that the kid is going to be a world champion and a big star,” Arum said. “We wanted to extend the contract to make sure that we’re promoting him on a journey to the glory days that he’s going to have. We’re going to move Jose smartly towards a world title and we would use the Fresno area as his base and expose him in places like Las Vegas like we’re doing on April 9. We plotted out his plans as we go on, while his competition will be enhanced.”
There are provisions in the contract, Arum said, that allow Ramirez to continue to fight in the Valley as “many times as we can.”
“He’s maybe going to do one or two a year in the Valley,” he said. “It’s not going to preclude him from fighting on big stages like he will be on April 9.”
Scheduling some of Ramirez’s bouts in the central San Joaquin Valley was equally important for Mirigian, who has promoted several cards headlined by his top star.
“The deal from our side had to have three major components, elements to support Ramirez as a brand outside the ring,” Mirigian said, “exposure and high-profile fights and the ability to continue to showcase Ramirez in the Central Valley annually through the length of the contract. and all of these items were met.”
Arum praised Mirigian’s role in the negotiations.
“Rick is very smart,” he said. “He’s very aggressive and we discussed this with both Rick and Jose, and we reached an agreement.”
With the extension in hand, Ramirez said it’s a relief to continue to feel wanted.
“I’m very happy for the extension,” he said. “Obviously what’s going to happen next year … that worry is no longer there because now I know it’s a two-year extension. That worry is gone and my main focus is the April 9 fight.”