Jose Ramirez delivered the statement he needed to make.
There was no place like home for the former WBC and WBO junior welterweight titlist, who scored an eleventh-round knockout of Richard Commey. Ramirez scored two knockdowns in the fateful round, the second of which produced a full ten count at 2:31 of round eleven in their WBC junior welterweight title eliminator Saturday evening at Save Mart Arena in Fresno, California.
Ramirez had plenty to prove as the main event came after he twice turned down a shot to fight for his old WBC junior welterweight title including a rightly criticized withdrawal from an ordered fight with defending champ Regis Prograis. There was no place like home for the former unified titlist, who entered the familiar ground to raucous cheers from his regional fans who turned out in full force.
“It’s always an honor to fight here in Fresno,” Ramirez—who hails from nearby Avenal—said of his tenth career appearance in the city and sixth in this venue. “La Raza, we’re a family here in the Central Valley. We’re family oriented and it’s an honor to showcase my talent in front of my people.”
The local hero did his part to deliver. Commey made it easy for Ramirez, beginning with his struggle to make the 140-pound limit for the sanctioned title eliminator. The former IBF lightweight titlist hit the scales on four separate occasions, weighing 140.6, 140.4 and 140.2 pounds before he finally got to the 140-pound mark just inside the two-hour extended limit.
Once the bell sounded to begin the fight, Commey walked directly toward Ramirez and was willing to trade. Ramirez repeatedly made him pay with right hands upstairs. A left hook snapped back the head of Commey which set up a rally along the ropes. Commey managed a straight right hand that caught Ramirez on the chin in an otherwise lopsided round.
Ramirez continued with his persistent attack throughout round two. Commey was still able to sneak in a right hand but every punch he threw—even the ones that landed—left him open for a relentless body attack dished out by Ramirez who was determined to deliver a knockout finish.
Commey was determined to crash home a game-changing right hand. The former IBF lightweight titlist used his shoulder to partially deflect Ramirez’s incoming shots before letting go with overhand rights. Ramirez was unbothered by the approach and charged forward to pin the visiting boxer along the ropes.
A subtle adjustment by Commey briefly slowed the pace in round four. Commey managed to smother Ramirez’s punches which allowed him to fire off right hands on the inside. This time, Ramirez took the bait as he walked into a right hand and left hook. Commey ripped a left hook downstairs, only for Ramirez to drive him to the ropes and connect with a trio of hooks downstairs.
Ramirez fed off the cheers from the crowd as he rediscovered a consistent home for his right hand in round five. Commey refused to relent, riding out a Ramirez right before he responded with a brief flurry of body punches.
Both boxers exchanged jabs in round six. Commey threw his while he fought in reverse, cognizant of getting pinned against the ropes. Ramirez missed with a power shot along the ropes, as Commey took the action to the center of the ring. Ramirez adjusted his attack and was able to connect with right uppercuts.
Action slowed in round seven, understandably slow after a fiercely fought first half of the fight. Ramirez saved his best moments for the end of the round. The pace slightly picked up in round eight, which saw Commey fight behind his long jab and Ramirez throw in spurts. Neither landed anything of consequence until the end of the round when Ramirez scored with a combination.
Ramirez dramatically and permanently changed the course of the fight in round eleven. A by Ramirez left Commey unsteady before tumbling to the canvas. Referee Jack Reiss issued the standard eight count and assessed the fallen boxer before he allowed the action to continue.
Commey was still unable to fully gather his faculties, as he clinched Ramirez before the two fell to the canvas. Reiss allowed additional time to tick away as he ensured that both boxers were okay before he allowed for the fight to move forward. Ramirez dodged a right hand by Commey and ripped a left hook to the body. Commey was forced to a knee, where he took the full ten count.
The loss left Commey winless in his last three starts as he fell to 30-5-1 (27KOs). His last victory came in February 2021 when he stopped Jackson Marinez in the sixth round. Since then have come a lopsided loss to Vasiliy Lomachenko, a draw with former two-division titlist Jose Pedraza and now the second stoppage defeat of his career.
Ramirez advanced to 28-1 (18KOs) with his second straight win since the end of his unified title reign in a points loss to Josh Taylor (19-0, 13KOs) in their May 2021 undisputed championship. It was his first fight in more than a year after a win over Pedraza in this very venue last March.
“It’s always hard,” Ramirez said of returning from the lengthy layoff, which included marrying his longtime partner. “There came a point in my career where I became comfortable with throwing a high volume of punches. I wanted to make a statement and show that I was the stronger guy in there.
“But I want to stay active and I want to be back by September.”
Compubox credited Ramirez with outlanding Commey, 191-to-157, along with 34% of his power punches. The win leaves him in line as a future challenger for Prograis—if he wants the fight.
“I want any world champion,” insisted Ramirez. “Regis Prograis. I want the winner of Josh Taylor and Teofimo Lopez (June 10 at Madison Square Garden). If Regis is serious about the fight, let’s sit down and talk – and stop the BS. Let’s sit down and make the fight happen. Have your management sit down and make the fight happen if your serious about it.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
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