IBF/WBA light welterweight champion Josh Taylor (18-0, 13 KOs) stayed unbeaten with a narrow 12 round unanimous decision win over WBC/WBO champion Jose Ramirez (26-1, 17 KOs) on Saturday night in their undisputed championship fight at the Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada.
(Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images)
The scores were 114-112, 114-112, and 114-112. Taylor knocked Ramirez down in the sixth and seventh rounds.
- In a surprisingly listless performance, highly ranked light welterweight contender Jose Zepeda (34-2, 26 KOs) labored to a dull 10 round unanimous decision over journeyman Hank Lundy (31-9-1, 14 KOs) in the co-feature bout. The scores were 98-92, 98-92, 98-92. The fight looked a lot closer than the wide scores handed down, but h well. What’s sad is Zepeda is expected to fight the winner of the main event between Josh Taylor and Jose Ramirez. Based on this performance, Zepeda has little chance of beating either of those guys. Zepeda is usually a lot better than this, but he just looked like he unmotivated for this contest. Against an old warhorse like the 37-year-old Lundy, you got to be ready to fight because he’s not going to lay down for anyone, as Zepeda discovered tonight.
- Light welterweight Kenneth Sims Jr (16-2-1, 5 KOs) defeated highly hyped prospect Elvis Rodriguez (11-1-1, 10 KOs) by an eight-round majority decision. The scores were 78-74, 78-74, 76-76. This arguably a huge blow for Top Rank, as they’ve brought the hard-punching Rodriguez along slowly, and he clearly wasn’t ready for this kind of a step up.
- Featherweight Jose Enrigue Vivas (21-1, 11 KOs) defeated Louie Coria (12-5, 7 KOs) by a narrow eight-round unanimous decision. The judges scored the contest 75-74, 75-74, 75-74. Boxing 247 also had it by the same 75-74 score. In the third round, Coria showed off his power in knocking Vivas down two times. In the fourth round, Vivas lost a point for a low blow. However, Vivas’s pressure and boxing ability made the fight a closer fight than it otherwise would have been.
- Undefeated lightweight prospect Andres Cortes (14-0, 7 KOs) kept his perfect record intact with an eight-round unanimous decision victory over Eduardo Garza (15-4-, 8 kOs). The scores were 77-75, 78-74, 79-73.
- Featherweight prospect and two-time Olympic Gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez (7-1, 4 KOs) defeated Ray Allen (10-5-1, 5 KOs) by a six-round unanimous decision. The scores were 60-53, 60-53, 59-54. The win for the 27-year-old Cuban Robeisy was his sixth consecutive since losing his pro debut by a surprising four-round split decision to Adan Gonzales in August 2019. Robeisy came back last year to avenge his loss to Gonzalez in beating him by a one-sided six-round unanimous decision.
- Undefeated lightweight prospect Raymond Muratalla (12-0, 10 KOs) stopped Jose Luis Gallegos (20-11, 15 KOs) in the fifth round. The referee halted the contest at 1:40 of the fifth.
- Middleweight prospect Javier Martinez (4-0, 2 KOs) defeated Calvin Metcalf (10-6-1, 3 KOs) by a fourth-round stoppage. The bout was halted at 1:33 of the fourth.
Two undefeated junior welterweight kings, one undisputed title. The stakes don’t get any higher.
WBC/WBO champion Jose Ramirez, the pride of California’s Central Valley, will fight Scotland’s IBF/WBA champion Josh Taylor for the undisputed world championship Saturday, May 22. The winner will become only the second undisputed junior welterweight champion of the four-belt era, joining pound-for-pound great Terence “Bud” Crawford.
Promoted by Top Rank, Ramirez-Taylor will be televised live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (and simulcast on ESPN+) starting at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT. The location, venue, and undercard information will be announced shortly.
“This is the best boxing has to offer, two elite fighters in the prime of their careers colliding in a legacy-defining matchup for the undisputed championship of the world,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “It’s a true 50-50 fight, one that the fans and both fighters demanded.”
Ramirez (26-0, 17 KOs) has been a world champion since March 2018, when he toppled Amir Imam via unanimous decision to win the vacant WBC strap. Following the Imam victory, he hired noted trainer Robert Garcia, and the duo has combined to go 4-0 in world title fights. Ramirez knocked out Maurice Hooker in July 2019 to unify world titles and defended his belts last August with a majority decision over former world champion Viktor Postol. Ramirez, a proud son of Mexican immigrants who hails from Avenal, Calif., is an agent of social change in his community. He’s devoted his time and resources to myriad causes, including cancer research, water rights for area farmers, and COVID-19 relief for Central Valley field workers.
“I look forward to making history by becoming the first boxer of Mexican descent to hold all four major world title belts,” Ramirez said. “I dedicate this fight to the Central Valley farm workers, who are out there every day helping feed the world. This fight is big, but nothing is bigger than getting vaccinations to the farm workers right now in the Central Valley.”
“No excuses, no fake social media promises, no grandstanding. This is the best fighting the best at their absolute best,” said Rick Mirigian, Ramirez’s manager. “Jose will have his hand raised in the end, solidifying his status as a Hall of Famer.”
Like Ramirez, Taylor (17-0, 13 KOs) fought as a lightweight at the 2012 London Olympics, where he advanced to the Round of 16. While he didn’t turn pro until 2015, “The Tartan Tornado” won the Commonwealth 140-pound title in only his seventh pro bout. Taylor toppled Postol by unanimous decision in 2018 and won the IBF world title the following year with a decision over Ivan Baranchyk. He unified the IBF and WBA titles in October 2019, edging Regis Prograis by majority decision in a brutal masterpiece. He made his first defense as a unified champion last September, blasting out mandatory challenger Apinun Khongsong in the first round. Taylor hopes to make a little history of his own as the first undisputed, four-belt Scottish champion.
Taylor said, “I’m excited it’s been finalized and over the line. I can’t wait to get in there for the biggest fight of my career. Fighting for the undisputed title is something all boxers dream about.”
Ramirez-Taylor will headline live broadcast on ESPN & ESPN Deportes (simulcast on ESPN+) starting at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT – Fight fans outside the US can watch the fight live on FITE.