The Weekender

Jose Ramirez (left) and Jose Pedraza weigh in Fresno, California.
(Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

As the world continues to revolve on its fragile axis we try to seek some refuge from world events with a packed boxing weekend.

First up tonight (Fri 4 Mar) from Fresno, California, USA is the excellent junior-welterweight (140lb/10st) contest between Jose Ramirez and Jose Pedraza. Promoted by Top Rank and shown live in the US on ESPN+ this is a continuation and welcome addition to the perennial Mexico v Puerto Rico fistic rivalry.

Up until a year ago the Californian-Mexican, Ramirez was the WBC world champion until he was dethroned by Scotland’s Josh Taylor in a massive unification fight. This remains the sole defeat on his 26-1 (17 KO’s) record. Puerto Rican, Pedraza (29-3, 14 KO’s) is a two-times world champion and having recently recovered from long COVID is confident of victory.

Ramirez is the bigger puncher of the two and until the Taylor fight was looking the next big thing. Pedraza is more a box-puncher and technically very astute on the back foot. It’s an excellent match up between two world class operators and we expect the busy Ramirez to eventually catch up with Pedraza somewhere around the 10th round and win by stoppage.

Main interest on the undercard is the pro-debut of Tokyo 2020 silver medallist at super-heavyweight USA’s Richard Torres Jr. He faces Allen Melson over six rounds and should come through unscathed.

Saturday night (5 Mar) sees the return of modern boxing legend Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez against Julio Cesar Martinez.

Promo courtesy of Matchroom Boxing.

Gonzalez (50-3-0, 41 KO’s) is a four-weight world champion and former Ring magazine pound-for-pound #1. Now in the twilight of his career he’d been scheduled to face Juan Francisco Estrada in a trilogy fight at junior-bantamweight for the Ring magazine title. But, with Estrada contracting COVID and having to pull out, he’s been matched quickly by Matchroom Boxing with the WBC world flyweight champion Martinez (18-1, 14 KO’s).

Nicaraguan ‘Chocolatito’ at 34 is the older man but has a wealth of big fight experience to draw on. The Mexican, Martinez at 27 is an excellent operator and will pose his challenger plenty of problems.

If Gonzalez can use his superior experience and guile, along with his heavy punching we see him winning on a close points decision and then moving onto the third fight with Estrada and boxing immortality.

The fight and full card will be available on the DAZN streaming site in the early hours of Sunday morning (UK time).

Have a great boxing weekend and keep safe.

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