Former WBC and WBO super-lightweight champion Jose Ramirez returned to the win column on Friday night by overcoming Puerto Rico’s Jose Pedraza via unanimous points decision.
All three judges saw the 29-year-old Ramirez as a 116-112 victor, giving him eight rounds to the former super featherweight and lightweight titlist’s four. Ramirez, who lost his last fight for the undisputed 140lbs crown to Scotland’s Josh Taylor last year, moves to 27-1 (17 KOs), while Pedraza drops to (29-4, 13 KOs).
The 29-year-old Ramirez – fighting in front of a home Californian crowd at Fresno’s Save Mart Center – applied pressure throughout the contest, and although the skilled Pedraza made him miss at times, he landed enough to edge most of the early rounds. The wily 32-year-old Pedraza rallied in the mid-section of the fight, landing some hurtful shots in round seven in particular, but Ramirez maintained his composure and finished strongly in the final two rounds.
Ramirez’s former foe Taylor has announced a move up to 147lbs, indicating the four alphabet belts that the Scot holds will imminently become available. After the Pedraza win, Ramirez signalled his intention to stick around at 140lbs and regain world honours.
“I’m ready to stay active and stay motivated,” he said. “There’s a lot of really great fighters coming up to 140. There’s a lot of really good fighters at 140 right now.
“Jose Pedraza is a smart, experienced fighter. He was going to find a way to survive and put up a fight…My hat’s off to him and his team. He was well-prepared.
“I was a little tense coming into this fight because of my last fight. Fighting at home, last minute, I got a little more tense than I thought I was going to be. I went out there and just boxed, had fun in there. I played it smart, used my jab, and I think I won more than eight rounds.”
Image: Mikey Williams/Top Rank