Jose Ramirez says Maurice Hooker is in for a rude awakening when they clash for the WBO and WBC World Super-Lightweight titles tomorrow night at College Park Center in Arlington, Texas, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.
Ramirez (24-0 16 KOs) defends his crown for the third time after two wins in his hometown fortress of Fresno, California and now hits the road for the biggest night of his pro career against Hooker (26-0-3 17 KOs).
The London 2012 Olympian has translated his amateur prowess into a seamless path to World title glory, and the inspirational 26 year old believes that pedigree has cultivated a skillset that will be too much for the rangy hometown star to handle in this 50-50 blockbuster.
“I want to overwhelm him as I think I have things that he’s never seen in another fighter,” said Ramirez. “That has to do with overall ring IQ, speed, power, rhythm and pace when I fight, a little bit of everything. My amateur experience allows me to be able to do that, as some fighters expect only one aspect of me, one good punch or my power, but then my speed shocks them, they believe I just come forward but then my angles surprise them. You must be able to adapt in a moment in these big fights and I know that I can do that to take control of this fight.
“He’s got reach, he keeps distance well and takes his time to put his punches together. He’s hungry and humble, he’s a family man and he’s pushing himself to do it for them. I have qualities that I know can work against a fighter like Maurice and we’re working on them hard.
“Boxing is a lonely sport. It’s very mentally demanding and we know the sacrifices that we’ve gone through to get here and we know what is coming, we’re both in for a tough fight, so the least we can do outside the ring is respect each other.
“I’m not the type of fighter to talk to get under someone’s skin or to get hype over the fight, I won’t be someone I am not and never will be, but when I go in the ring I don’t recognize myself, I become something else. He knows he’s in for a tough fight too and that’s why he’s showing me respect and that’s who he is outside the ring too. Watching him at the first press conference show up with his wife and kids, that showed me the type of guy he is and that’s my entourage too, my son and my family. We’re similar but once the bell rings it all goes away until the final bell.
“This is the perfect time for this fight, everything plays out for a reason. We’ve both defended our titles a few times so why not go now? I’m only 26 and feel that I have a long career ahead of me still no matter what happens, so this fight can only put me in a better position. If it’s a great fight we can do it again and I think we’ve both earned this.
“I’ve done very well in my career financially and this fight only helps me secure that even more for my family, and winning this fight brings history in my community, I don’t think anyone from where I’m from has been an Olympian, a World champion and unified, so it’s a massive accomplishment on the line and that only encourages me more to push for the things that I fight for, to motivate people to get up and work hard.
“Not too many people become Olympians, and not too many World champions become unified. I’ve already achieved one of those things as an amateur and now I want to achieve unification as a pro.”
Hooker and Ramirez clash on a bumper night of action in Arlington, as Tevin Farmer defends his IBF World Super-Featherweight title against mandatory challenger Guillaume Frenois. Tramaine Williams takes on Yenifel Vicente for the vacant USBA Super-Bantamweight title and a trio of unbeaten talents look to continue their 100 per cent KO records in Nikita Ababiy, Arthur Biyarslanov and Houston’s Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams.
Heavyweight Joey Dawejko meets Rodney Hernandez over ten rounds and there’s action for two Dallas fighters in Javier Martinez and debutant Darius Bagley.
Tickets for the bumper night of World championship action are on sale now from $25 from www.utatickets.com