Coming off a wild weekend filled with upsets galore, Friday & Saturday will at the very least provide good action in the main events on ESPN+ and DAZN. Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez returns to the ring against what should be a game-replacement opponent in Julio Cesar Martinez. Also, Jose Ramirez tries to bounce back from his first career loss facing a crafty-vet in Jose Pedraza. This boxing podcaster really did want to see Juan Francisco Estrada in the trilogy but it is what it is as we know injures and Covid-19 can pop up at any time.
Let’s begin with the future first ballot hall of famer Roman Gonzalez taking on Julio Cesar Martinez. Lots of boxing media members believed Roman Gonzalez got robbed in his last outing with Estrada.
Personally this hack-of-a-scribe saw it as a closer fight but it should be noted that Juan Francisco is one of my favorite fighters in this current generation. To be fair the same could be said about that same press that adores Chocolatito. Anyway the rubber match is not happening so let’s preview and predict what could be a still tricky fight. On the surface Martinez is moving up in weight but height and reach won’t be a big difference.
Obviously we have to consider the age and wear on Gonzalez, that said Roman’s looked rejuvenated every since losing back to back to SRR. Martinez’s best bet is to attack the body on the older Chocolatito early and often. Rungvisai was able to hurt Gonzalez to the body and eventually beyond slowing Roman down Martinez could then target the head with left hooks among other shots. Also, Martinez has to find a way to use upper body movement on the way in to avoid getting tagged with counter shots and short punches during exchanges. Jesus does have a high guard which could lend itself to Gonzalez attacking Martinez’s body as well. Once Roman softens him up the potent upper cut should follow to damage up top.
Anytime we have to judge an aged fighter the chance increase of getting old overnight. However Gonzalez has defied those odds especially considering he’s at the lower weights. Roman’s big fight experience and underrated skill set in a bout that will have plenty of back and forth fire fights should be enough to secure the victory. All and all this should be a spirited fight and with the odds basically near a 50-50 so let’s hope it plays out in the ring. Roman wins a close fight say 8-4 but it will be competitive in most of the rounds.
My Official Prediction is Roman Gonzalez by Unanimous Decision.
On Friday night Jose Ramirez versus Jose Pedraza should give us a decent gauge to see where the former unified 140-pound champ is after coming up short in his quest to becoming undisputed. Although Ramirez was dropped not once but twice last May by Josh Taylor the fight was still very close scoring it round by round. Back in September of 2019 Pedraza lost a somewhat competitive bout against Jose Zepeda. To his credit Jose has put together 3 wins in a row as he faces another stiff opponent. This fight is scheduled for 12-rounds and will be streamed live on ESPN+.
Pedraza has enough skill that it will take some rounds for Ramirez to catch up to and during those early rounds Jose will need to take advantage. Coming out of the blocks fast could make Ramirez get a bit desperate in the 2nd half of the fight lending to the possibility of reaching with his punches. Pedraza has an in and out style that can be very effective as he’s able to land clean quick punches when darting in and then escaping just out of the pocket. Pedraza will need to use angles instead of going straight back which will likely be part of the issue at some point.
As we know Jose Ramirez tends to take a few rounds to warm up his offensive engine. He has a solid jab when he uses it as well as good fundamentals enabling him to set up flush shots. We also know when Ramirez has his man hurt he tends to jump on him but with accurate punching instead of just flinging random shots. The key will be for him to work the body and use both straight punching and overhands to break through to defense of Pedraza. After the opening couple of rounds featuring Ramirez potentially missing on his power punches to the head a series of attacks will change the tide in his favor. It could be one-clean shot that turns the fight as well but it will happen.
A stoppage is possible but the craftiness and ability to survive with his feet and a clinch should allow Pedraza to make it the final bell. After six rounds don’t be surprised if your scorecard reads 3-3 or 4-2 if Ramirez can establish his jab and body work early enough. Ramirez is coming off competitive fights with Taylor, Postol, Zepeda, and before the stoppage Hooker was right in it. As long as Pedraza doesn’t get into survival mode to early this should give us an interesting style matchup from a skill vs. power perspective.
My Official Prediction is Jose Ramirez by Unanimous Decision.
Written by Chris Carlson Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio & Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio