Jose Ramirez looking to unify the 140-lb division

WBC/WBO super lightweight world champion Jose Ramirez is staying ready. The 2012 U.S. Olympian has not fought since knocking out Maurice Hooker last July in a title unification bout. He was supposed to fight Viktor Postol Feb. 2 in China (Feb. 1 prime time in the U.S.), but it became the first major bout to be impacted by COVID-19. The May 9 makeup date in Fresno also fell by the wayside.

Ramirez is self-quarantining with his family in California’s Central Valley, but he is awaiting the call for the third — and hopefully final — Postol fight date.

He recently spoke with Top Rank’s Crystina Poncher. This is what he had to say.

CP: How have you dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic?

JR: “Obviously, it’s the second time my fight gets postponed. There’s a lot of frustration there because of the sacrifices we go through. I’ve been training for the same fight since November. I trained through the holidays, which is always difficult.

“Me having my boy, I want to spend as much time with him now that he’s getting older by the second. It’s hard. I had a plan for 2020, just like any other fighter. I had a plan to fight three times. I was happy that I was going to start early and hopefully move to the {welterweight} division next year. It throws me off. It sets me back. Everything happens for a reason, I believe. Right now, we just have to stay safe. We have to go through this crisis.”

CP: How do you keep yourself from feeling defeated after going through two training camps {without a fight}?

JR: “I’m just staying focused. I’m staying optimistic with everything, with doctors, with everyone, the first responders. I think everyone is working hard to get together to go through this fast and get everything back to normal. Right now, I believe this is something that requires everyone to be on the same page, to really practice {self-isolation} so we can stop the spread of this virus.

“I do know that my fight will be one of the first fights back when all this is over.”

CP: Once the Postol fight is rescheduled, would you like to try and stay at 140 pounds and get more belts, or is a move up to 147 imminent?

JR: “I owe it to myself to fight for all the belts just because if I were to go up to the next weight class, people will still doubt who the best 140-pounder is, just because there is another guy with two belts (WBA/IBF world champion Josh Taylor}. There are some other fighters that I didn’t get to face at 140. I really want to prove a lot of people wrong. I want to do it for myself. I know I can be the best 140 in the world. I know I can see myself with all four belts. It’s just a matter of time, and once I do that, I think that’s going to put my name more out there worldwide. It’s going to definitely make a stronger impact when I do move to 147, knowing that the undisputed champion at 140 is moving up to 147. I think that’s going to make more noise.”

CP: Any interest in WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford?

JR: “I’ll take any route that leads me to fight for a world title. Crawford is an excellent fighter, so yeah, I would definitely be honored to share the ring with him. I think I’ll show him something new. I think I’ll bring something out of him. By the time I do make that decision to move to 147 and put that extra muscle on me, on my body, I’ll be a much stronger Jose Ramirez. I can see myself developing into a better welterweight than super lightweight. I do have the height. I do have the body frame. I think once I put the extra seven pounds on, it’s going to be a huge difference in a very positive way.

“After Crawford, I plan to stay in the welterweight division for quite a while, definitely fight all the top names out there, and see how I do. I think I have what it takes to stay at this level of competition for a long time.”

CP: Would you ever be up for a fight with Regis Prograis down the line?

JR: “Definitely. I think if the fight with Regis takes place, it might take place at 147, though, because I have (super lightweight} fights lined up. I really want to move up after that.”

Jose Ramirez and Central Valley Community Leaders Join Forces to Assist Agricultural Workers

California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-33-20 last month, declaring a state of emergency ordering all individuals living in the State of California to stay home “except as needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors.”

Agriculture is considered one of the 16 critical infrastructure sectors, with agricultural workers critical to keeping our daily lives functioning. The hardworking members of the Central Valley who work in the fields, packing houses, processing plants, dairies, animal farms, and other supporting industries make up this critical infrastructure.

Unified super lightweight world champion Jose Ramirez and his team are partnering with area farmers, packing houses, farm labor contractors, Dr. Juan Bautista and Dr. Ignacio Guzman, County Supervisor Richard Valle, Nisei Farmers League, Waste Management, Fresno State, Super Mercado, and Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino to provide these unsung heroes with appreciation boxes that include essential household items such as toilet paper, facial tissue, detergent, cleaning supplies, other non-perishable items, and preventative health items and educational information.

Ramirez and his team have committed to a minimum of 1,000 boxes and have a goal of producing at least 5,000 boxes. In addition, 10,000 face masks have been secured for workers and their families.

“Agricultural workers are our neighbors, friends and the glue that holds our communities together. Without their essential work, life would be very difficult during this COVID-19 pandemic. They are at work while stores run out of toilet paper and other essential items,” Ramirez said. “These workers are fighting hard for us night and day to keep food on the shelves. They are risking everything, and we want to fight for them right now and show our support.”

Over the next 14 days, donations will be accepted for the appreciation boxes. Ramirez and others will be giving these boxes to the workers in person to show their appreciation and support. Also included will be a signed picture from Ramirez with a personal note and a pair of free tickets to his next fight in the Central Valley.

“The Central Valley is a special place full of dedicated men and women who are out in the fields helping to sustain Americans through this trying time,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, Ramirez’s promoter. “Jose and community leaders across the Central Valley are rallying together for a wonderful cause.”

If you are a large or small business and wish to join this amazing cause by donating items for the creation of these appreciation boxes, please e-mail Rick Mirigian at rmirigian@gmail.com or call (559) 614-5686.

For monetary donations, a GoFundMe page (Ag Workers Support Fund) has been created by The Bautista Foundation, or they can be given directly to The Bautista Foundation. No gift is too small, and 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit the agricultural workers risking their health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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