2012 U.S Olympian Jose Ramirez (22-0, 16 KOs) outworked #1 WBC Amir Imam (21-2, 18 KOs) in beating him by a 12 round unanimous decision to win the vacant WBC light welterweight title on Saturday night on ESPN at Madison Square Garden in New York. The scores were 115-113, 117-111 and 120-108.
Imam was hurt several times in the fight, but he was able to come back each time to land some nice shots. Imam fought well enough to win rounds 4 and 8 decisively. There were a number of close rounds that could have gone either way.
The scoring by the judge [John Stewart from New Jersey] that had it 120—108 was a bit off by 4 to 5 rounds, but that kind of stuff happens. Thankfully, there were two good judges that were able to cancel out that bad score. There’s no question that Ramirez, but he didn’t deserve the win by 12 rounds. Come on, Iman did well enough to rate at least 3 if not 5 rounds tonight. When you see a score like that, it takes away from the fight. Imam had no chance of winning with a judge that scored it 120-108. The New York Athletic Commission needs to keep track of that judge to make sure he doesn’t continue to turn in wacky scores like that in the future.
Ramirez came out quickly in the opening seconds of round 12 in taking the fight to Iman and throwing a massive amount of shots. Ramirez was trying really hard for the knockout. He was also fouling as well in sticking his head into the face of Imam, shoving down on his head and punishing him. Ramirez quickly punched himself out after the first minute. This led to Imam coming back in the last minute of the round to land some big right hands. Imam landed some big counter shots in the 12th round. Ramirez took them fine, and fire back with left hooks and right hands to easily win the round. Imam’s right eye was badly swollen and his face looked in bad shape from the hard shots that he was hit with.
Round 8 was a good one for Imam. He landed some scorching right hands and left hooks that caught Ramirez coming forward.
Imam landed a big right uppercut in round 1 that snapped Ramirez’s head back hard. That shot would have knocked out a lot of fighters, but Ramirez took it and kept coming forward.
After the fight the ESPN commentators were getting a little carried away in saying that Ramirez had looked great. The fact is, Ramirez looked good, but not great tonight. He looked below the level of some of the current contenders like Regis Prograis, Josh Taylor and Terry Flanagan. I think Ramirez would lose to Prograis. That’s not a good match-up for Ramirez. A good fight for Ramirez would be former IBF light welterweight champion Sergey Lipinets. I think that would a real 50-50 affair. Lipinets has heavy hands, and Ramirez would need to come up with a different game plan than bum rushing all night long. That style of fighting is going to get Ramirez chewed up and spit out by the top fighters in the light welterweight division. Ramirez’s trainer Freddie Roach needs to train him on how to use more finesse, because he can’t keep fighting the way he does against the harder punchers like Prograis, Lipinets and against the crafty fighters like Josh Taylor. Mikey Garcia would be a bad fight for Ramirez as well.
Ramirez is the new WBC light welterweight champion, but he probably will hold onto the title for as long as his promoters at Top Rank don’t match him against contenders like Prograis. My guess is Top Rank will put Ramirez in a couple of voluntary defenses against bottom rung contenders before the World Boxing Council finally orders him to defend against Prograis.