The Case for Jose Luis Ramirez in the Hall

By Ted Sares on October 12, 2011
The Case for Jose Luis Ramirez in the Hall
Ramirez resided in Culiacan, the same Mexican town that gave boxing Julio Cesar Chavez

After losing a televised fight to Hector Camacho in 1985, the culturally intellectual Ramirez moved to Paris for two years to get his bearings…

Second in a Series of Five

“To be a Mexican fighter you first have to be a warrior.”—Marco Antonio Barrera

The rap on Ramirez was that he was a bit slow and ponderous, but if that’s true, what does it say about the 82 opponents he KO’d?

Record: His boxing record is an “old school” 102-9 with 82 KOs and his KO percentage a great 74%.

Level of Opposition: Outstanding. It included many former champions and Hall of Fame inductees. He fought such notables as Pernell Whitaker and Edwin Rosario each twice, Ruben Olivares, Hector Camacho, 26-0 at the time, Terrence Alli, Charlie “Choo Choo” Brown (who had taken the IBF Lightweight Title in 1984 from Melvin Paul), Julio Cesar Chavez, and Cornelius Boza Edwards. He also did battle with Juan Martin Coggi, Vicente Saldivar, Aurelio Muniz, Irish Frankie Crawford, Jose Torres, Manuel Hernandez, Bostonian John Rafuse and Dominican Cocoa Sanchez (who had whipped Jerome Artis and Rocky Ramon). To his great credit, he had a penchant for going into his opponent’s home town to fight.

Chronology: He resided in Culiacan, the same Mexican town that gave us Julio Cesar Chavez. They would later become gym mates and close friends.

Ramirez won 43 of his first 44 professional fights in Ciudad Obregon, Mexico. He fought under the radar and was underrated, but he climbed steadily up the boxing ladder and rankings and become a two-time world Lightweight champion. Moving from featherweight to lightweight (after having lost to the great Ruben Olivares, 82-9-1), he met another legend in Alexis Arguello, 69-5 at the time, and managed to deck him in round six, but lost a razor thin 10-round split decision in Miami. He then faced Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini for the North American Lightweight belt, and lost a 12 round decision in Warren Ohio near Ray‘s hometown.

In May 1983, Jose Luis fought heavy handed Edwin “El Chapo” Rosario for the world Lightweight championship at the Coliseo Roberto Clemente in San Juan Puerto Rico. He lost a 12-round unanimous but close decision with each card reading 113-115. In 1984 in a rematch also in San Juan, he took it out of the judges’ hands by stopping Rosario, 24-0, in four rounds. Ramirez launched an all-out attack and trapped “El Chapo” on the ropes giving the referee no alternative but to stop the action. The Mexican had landed 17 straight heavy punches. He was now a World Lightweight champion for the first time after having fought many great fighters in their own backyards and in many different countries.

After losing a televised fight to Hector Camacho in 1985, the culturally intellectual Ramirez moved to Paris for two years to get his bearings. While there, he went 12-0 with 7 wins coming by stoppage. These included impressive nods over former world champions Cornelius Boza Edwards and tough Charlie “Choo Choo” Brown. He also won back the vacant WBC World Championship belt by beating rugged Terrence Alli in St. Tropez, France. Before moving back to Mexico, he beat future Hall of Famer and multiple world champion Pernell Whitaker in a hotly disputed decision that went as follows: Judge Harry Gibbs 113-117, Judge Newton Campos 118-113, and Judge Louis Michel 116-115. Most thought Whitaker had been robbed, but his quick and stylish combinations failed to do much damage or even bother Luis, even those that landed flush. With Pernell always backpedaling and retreating, Ramirez pressed the action, but he could not overpower him.

Meanwhile, Chavez had taken the WBA’s championship by beating Rosario, and in a unification bout between the two friends and neighbors, Ramirez, who is a godfather to one of Chavez’s sons, lost an 11-round technical decision to Chavez, 62-0 at the time, in October 1988 at the Las Vegas Hilton. When Ramirez, 101-6 coming in, was cut on the forehead in a clash of heads, it went to the scorecards. Chavez, who was a 9-1 favorite, said before the fight: “At first I didn’t want to take the fight because we are so close, almost like brothers.” Chavez was in front by only two points on the scorecards of two of the judges. Judge Rudy Jordan had it 96-94, Judge Lou Tabat 95-93 and Judge Art Lurie 98-91

In 1989, he attempted to win the IBF belt from Whittaker in Pernell’s home town of Norfolk, VA, but lost a 12-round decision. He then lost a 12-rounder to the great Juan Coggi, 43-1-2, for the WBA’s world Jr. Welterweight title in Argentina, after which he called it a career. Five of his nine losses had been to Hall of Fame fighters—Alexis Arguello, Ruben Olivares, Edwin Rosario, Pernell Whitaker, and Julio Cesar Chavez, and to Hector Camacho who may also be a future inductee. He was stopped only once in 111 fights. Jose Luis Ramirez was all about fighting tough hombres with gaudy old school records.

Ramirez is a member of the less recognized World Boxing Hall of Fame and undoubtedly will also be inducted into the Latino Boxing Museum and Hall of Fame in Cumana, Venezuela, but he has not been inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, NY.

This purpose of this article is not to make a case for his induction as much as it is to show respect to a great fighter who fought in the rich tradition of other great Mexican warriors. Hombres like Chavez, Olivares, Carlos Zarate, Ricardo Lopez,  Marco Antonio Barrera, Vicente Saldivar, Kid Azteca, Jose Becerra, Humberto “Chiquita’’ Gonzalez, Pipino Cuevas, Salvador Sanchez, Miguel Canto, Lupe Pintor, Erik Morales, Guadalupe Pintor, Jose Medel, Rodolfo “Gato” Gonzalez, Raul Macias, Mando Muniz, Alfonso Zamora, Juan Manuel Marquez, Chango Carmona and many others.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Julio Cesar Chavez VS Jose Luis Ramirez

Hector Camacho vs. Jose Luis Ramirez (Clip One)

Hector Camacho vs. Jose Luis Ramirez (Clip Two)

Edwin Rosario vs Jose Luis Ramirez


Pernell Whitaker vs. Jose Luis Ramirez II

Alexis "El Flaco Explosivo" Arguello vs Jose Luis Ramirez (part 1)

Alexis "El Flaco Explosivo" Arguello vs Jose Luis Ramirez (part 2)

Alexis "El Flaco Explosivo" Arguello vs Jose Luis Ramirez (part 3)

Alexis "El Flaco Explosivo" Arguello vs Jose Luis Ramirez (part 4)

Alexis "El Flaco Explosivo" Arguello vs Jose Luis Ramirez (part 5)

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  1. Antonio Santiago 01:16am, 09/07/2016

    Ted= excellent article!  I have written to the IBHOF several times to advocate for Jose Luis but so far zilch. I saw him in his first attempt against Edwin Rosario-as a 10 year old who had no idea how to score I thought Rosario won fair and square but now I have it 114-114 on you tube. i was there in person for that first fight.

    Ramirez was an all time great who belongs in the IBhoF Great job amigo!

  2. "Old Yank" Schneider 09:54am, 10/15/2011

    Ted—I pray for a speedy recovery for you.

  3. pugknows 08:47am, 10/15/2011

    Yes, MRBILL, I talked with his wife and he is on call to go in today. The issue is pneumonia.

  4. MRBILL-HARDCORE XXX 05:47pm, 10/14/2011

    I just got a memo saying Ted is going into the hospital tomorrow for an undisclosed ailment…. More to follow….

  5. raxman 04:16pm, 10/13/2011

    Absolutely loving your recent articles Ted - its like going to boxing fan school! my question for you is what are you trying to say about the Boom-Boom Mancini fight - i reckon that line about being near his hometown could have had “hint-hint"next to it. i tell the kids at my gym how they missed out on real boxing like i saw following the sport from early 85(15th april to be exact) as i did. then i read your stuff and i realise that its me that missed out as i only got in on the tail end. little did we know when watching the tyson ppv numbers explode we were also seeing the end of any purity the sport had. articles like these are a bitter sweet reminder of that

  6. JC45 03:58pm, 10/13/2011

    Gday Ted. I’d have Ramirez in the hall . Check out his resume. Its unbelievable.  Far more impressive than many so called modern greats.

  7. MRBILL-HARDCORE XXX 01:04pm, 10/13/2011

    I liked to to watch Jose L. Ramirez box / fight on reg. TV back in the 1980s. He was a straight forward figher who applied pressure and got hit in return, too. No, his skills weren’t great, and, his speed stunk, but he was a fun fighter nevertheless…. Does he make the grade in New York? Its real iffy… however, I’ll support his induction….

  8. TEX HASSLER 10:59am, 10/13/2011

    Ramirez was a great fighter who fought top opposition,. He is one of the last fighters to have over 100 fights and he avoided no one as far as i know. He deserves our respect and has mine. In his prime he would be a champion today.  Like David Ball said, ” I would put hin in Canasota if I had a vote” The fact Ramirez was stopped only once in 111 fights speaks volumes about his skill and toughness! Thanks for reminding us of Ramirez Mr. Sares and this is an excellent article.

  9. Joe 06:10am, 10/13/2011

    No brainer here.  The case is made.  If you don’t think so remember Sylvester Stallone is in the IBHOF.  Yeah, that guy Rocky.

  10. David Ball 05:28am, 10/13/2011

    Another thought provoking piece Bull. JLR was one of my faves and I’d definitely put him in Canastota if I had a vote.

  11. Joseph Herron 04:41am, 10/13/2011

    Ramirez was indeed a warrior!!  He was a smaller version of Jose Luis Castillo.  His inside fighting was superb and his heart was second to none!!  Good call, Ted!!

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