Ramos Steps up in 2012
By Steve Kim, MaxBoxing (Jan 4, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
Luis Ramos
In what is the 2012’s inaugural edition of “ShoBox,” lightweight Luis Ramos steps up in class as he faces seasoned veteran Ray Beltran at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California for the NABA USA lightweight title. What this fight really represents for the 23-year-old native of Santa Ana, California, is the transition from young prospect to legitimate contender. After a productive 2011 that saw Ramos defeat the likes of Jose Hernandez, Francisco Lorenzo and David Rodela, he now takes on the toughest foe of his career.
In a similar situation back in May, Beltran gave then 19-0 Sharif Bogere all he could handle en route to a somewhat controversial decision loss to the Ugandan hopeful. Beltran is no gimme.
“Y’ know, I don't see it as the toughest fight because I think all my fights I've been in have been tough,” he told Maxboxing last week, “but I'm going in there with the mentality that this is the biggest challenge in my life. So I'm ready and I'm excited to face [Beltran]. That's what I live for and if I didn't like challenges, I wouldn't be doing it but I'm excited and I'm looking forward to it.”
Ramos admits, “I don't know much about him. I just know that he's Manny Pacquiao's sparring partner; that's about it. Other than that, I don't know much about him. I haven't seen videos or anything about him. I mean, once I'm in there, I'll figure it out. That's what I do. Once I'm in there, it's just different and with no headgear- gloves weigh less- smaller gloves, it's easier to read a fighter.”
Last March, Hernandez took Ramos to the brink in what was a tightly contested eight-rounder. Ramos won a majority decision in a fight that some observers believed could have easily gone the other way. It's all part of the learning process of a nascent prizefighter.
“I think my team and my management, Frank Espinoza and Golden Boy, have brought me up pretty good. The one mistake I made was where I fought Hernandez and I was overweight. But I think I've done pretty good and my trainer, Hector Lopez, has done a pretty good job with me throughout my career. So for me, it's just exciting and I think there's a lot more out there to prove and to earn. But I think for 2011, we didn't do that bad and we're going to keep progressing each year,” said Ramos.
Eric Gomez, matchmaker for Golden Boy Promotions, says, “His manager, Frank Espinoza, who's one of the best managers in the game- he's been around for awhile; he's got the experience; he's had some top fighters- he told us, ‘Look, I want this year to be a big year for [Ramos]. I think midway through the year or three-quarters of the year, he can be ready for a championship or some sort of world title’- I agree with him. We've done our job. We've had Luis Ramos for about two years. We developed him, put him in there with some tough guys and he's passed every test. So it's that time. It's going to be a breakout year for him and I think we're going to start with a bang.”
2012 is a pivotal year for Ramos, beginning with a fight the manager knows is the most evenly-matched contest he's positioned his client in thus far. “This is the start of a big year for Luis. This is where he's going to make a statement and right now, he's at that level where he's now on “ShoBox” and I see good things for him but he's right there. I think this is the first step, right here on January 6th. This is the first step for Luis Ramos to get to that next level.”
Like the proverbial jack-of-all-trades, Ramos is a well-rounded southpaw, who's pretty good at a lot of things yet not quite exceptional in any particular facet. From this point forward, he figures to be in long-distance affairs more like his fight with Hernandez and not quite like his fifth round stoppage of Rodela. “I knew personally that this was going to be a tough fight for Luis. Coming off that good win versus Rodela, I knew I had seen a different Ramos. I certainly think he has the ability to move up,” said Espinoza, who consulted with the fighter and trainer in taking this assignment. “We have to fight fights like these and win against fighters like this in order to get to where he wants to go.”
That's the bottom line, if you want to go anywhere in this business, you're expected to beat gatekeepers like Beltran.

“It happens with all the top prospects,” explained Gomez. “They come to a stage in their career where they have to fight these tough fights and they have to shine and they have to pass the test and I think this is going to be it.''
All this is music to Ramos' ears. “It's exciting. I never thought I'd be in a situation like this but right now, that's the direction I want to go. It's going to get tough from here on out and I believe that I'm moving from a prospect to a contender now. I want to be one of those top, elite athletes like a [Floyd] Mayweather, [Juan Manuel] Marquez, all those guys.” If he passes this test on Friday night, Gomez says, “Then we can start looking at the top ten guys, the guys we can pursue to get him ready, to get him in a position to possibly fight for a title. Who those guys are, I don't know yet. We have to wait and see what happens January 6th but we'll know which way to proceed, if we can be aggressive or step off the pedal a little bit.”
Ramos understands the challenge ahead of him.
“I knew that starting my career, it was going to be pretty easy but then as you keep going and climbing up the ladder, challenges are going to get tougher. Opponents are going to be a lot harder,” he said, “but I'm excited. That's what I do and that's what I live for. I love taking on challenges. It doesn't matter what it is but I'm ready.”
Espinoza, who, in the past, has guided the likes of Enrique Sanchez, Israel Vazquez, Martin Castillo and most recently, Abner Mares to championships, knows where he'd like to see Ramos at the end of this new year: “Right on the verge of winning a world title.”
Unlike the abomination that was last week’s edition of “ShoBox,” this week’s version is much more representative of what this franchise is all about. Not only does it have an attractive main event, it has an opening bout pitting a pair of unbeaten lightweights in 21-year old Michael “The Artist” Perez, 15-0-1 (9), and 22-year-old Omar Figueroa, 13-0-1 (10), against each other.
“We want to set the tone for the year. We want to make good fights,” said Gomez of their 2012 debuts. “Look, I wish we could make all the fights but there's always circumstances. They come up behind every fighter, every fight, every manager. But with this fight here, both guys want to make a statement. Both guys wanted a big fight. They wanted to be showcases. They want to be on “ShoBox” and this is setting the tone. The loser is not necessarily going to be in a bad position if he loses in a good fight. I just think it's the right time, the right place, the right TV channel for them to fight each other.”
Usually, fighters and their managers want it both ways, be on this platform but against soft opposition. According to Gomez, “With these guys, it was different. We came to them with this possibility and, look, we represent so many fighters and a lot of these fighters we represent- they want to fight each other. They don't care that they're both with Golden Boy. They don't care they're with so-and-so manager. What they care about is that they have something or that fighting them means something.

“And that's what happened in this case. That boxing's an individual sport, it doesn't matter if you're with the same promoter or not. These guys wanted to fight each other and they've been keeping tabs on each other and they've been willing to fight any of the top guys. We have top prospects and it was just a perfect time for them to fight each other.”
I'm trying to gather more info but it looks like the “Solo Boxeo” series will no longer be exclusive to Golden Boy Promotions and could be moving off its traditional Friday night slot and to a new network...Speaking of which, according to the Maxboxing schedule (put together expertly by our very own Marty Mulcahey), Telefutura has a card this Saturday night from Hollywood, Florida featuring Ed Paredes versus Michael Lozada...The February 24th edition of “Friday Night Fights” which has a main event of JC Burgos-Cristobal Cruz could be staged at the Galen Center at USC. Fight on!...Loved the Duck Vader helmets of Oregon in the Rose Bowl...Justin Blackmon of Okie State is Baby T.O. The Rams need to draft him and get Sam Bradford some help...I can't believe Norv Turner got another reprieve in San Diego but I do agree with the Eagles bringing back Andy Reid...

More of Steve's recent work below his contact info...

I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com and I tweet at www.Twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing.

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