The Showcased Beatdown: A Jose Ramirez vs. Danny O’Connor Preview

By Paul Magno on July 3, 2018
The Showcased Beatdown: A Jose Ramirez vs. Danny O’Connor Preview
Fight fans watching this one might be better served looking PAST this match-up.

Ramirez is getting a chance, with this ESPN exposure for an expected highlight reel performance, to put his name at the very top of the division…

Jose Ramirez (22-0, 16 KOs) makes the first defense of his WBC junior welterweight title this Saturday against Danny O’Connor (30-3, 11 KOs) at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California (broadcast live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10:30 p.m. ET)—and it probably won’t be the least bit competitive.

Fight fans watching this one might be better served looking PAST this match-up while tuning in. The 140 lb. division is quickly and quietly becoming packed with top tier talent and it’ll be interesting to see how bright Ramirez’s star shines when given the opportunity to slam through a relative “gimme” of a defense.

Awaiting Ramirez at 140 are mega-talents Regis Prograis and Josh Taylor, as well as tough, top-tier opposition like Kiryl Relikh, Maurice Hooker, Terry Flanagan, Antonio Orozco, Alex Saucedo, Sergey Lipinets, Viktor Postol, and Ivan Baranchyk (among others). Ramirez is getting a chance, with this ESPN exposure for an expected highlight reel performance, to put his name at the very top of the division when it comes to asking price and negotiating leverage.

The popular Fresno-area attraction and 2012 US Olympian is an ultra-confident and tenacious pressure fighter whose best weapons are a dogged body attack and a solid overhand right.

Not gifted with truly heavy hands or with elite-level athleticism, there’s reason to believe that Ramirez may falter when stacked up against an opponent gifted with high-end speed and reflexes.

In his March contest with Amir Imam for the vacant title, Ramirez outworked and out-pointed his foe, but clearly struggled to walk his way into range against the quicker, more mobile opponent. The 25-year-old’s flimsy résume and relative lack of pro seasoning certainly don’t help in this area, nor did a long-time association with trainer Freddie Roach (who has since been replaced by Robert Garcia). Ramirez’s ability to will his way past opposition and simply outwork them won’t likely carry him too far into increasingly deep divisional waters if he doesn’t make some essential tweaks to his game. He is very good at what he does, but he will need to do more.

But Ramirez won’t have to worry about any of this against O’Connor.

The 33-year-old fighting firefighter from Framingham, Massachusetts is always going to be tough and well-intentioned, but there’s really not much else there beyond true grit slung from a southpaw stance.

A 2008 US Olympic alternate, O’Connor was a well-regarded amateur who has yet to make much of an impact beyond the regional New England level as a pro.

“Danny Boy” is just a basic fighter with unremarkable hand and foot speed, who doesn’t always employ real leverage on his punches and, therefore, deserves the description of “arm puncher.” Although he aspires to be a “boxer,” he has several stylistic flaws in his game, including a high susceptibility to right hands thrown at all angles—something which could be his undoing against Ramirez. A brutal one-punch, fight-ending, 41-second KO loss to light-hitting Gabriel Bracero in 2015 highlighted that deficiency, but O’Connor has been caught flush by right hands many, many times against various opponents, who simply didn’t have the power or couldn’t find the sweet spot to produce a stoppage.

O’Connor, though, is excited for his first world title shot and promising to not disappoint.

“I have been waiting for this opportunity since the day I put my first pair of gloves on,” O’Connor said. “I embrace the chance to do battle with a great warrior such as Jose Ramirez. I believe we have a legitimate shot at winning the world title and fulfilling my lifelong dream.”

Unless something crazy happens, however, Danny Boy’s dream will be left unfulfilled. Even when stretching one’s imagination to consider all possible scenarios, it’s hard to dream up a legitimate path to victory for the challenger.

The homecoming Fresno-area hero has been diplomatic and polite in the lead-up to this title defense, which, as of this writing, was a 42-to-1 betting mismatch. A less mature young man would already be looking past this Saturday’s challenge.

“He seems like he is a veteran fighter,” Ramirez said. “He seems like a tough fighter that can take some punches and can continue fighting. I am just getting myself ready to fight a very good Danny O’Connor. I think that moving forward in my career I have even more of statement to make. I am pushing myself even harder in training and I am more mentally and physically strong now than ever.”

But no matter how the publicity tries to push this bout as a legitimate fight, the reality is that fans are simply seeing a showcase event staged in front of Ramirez’s rabid and loyal fans. The WBC’s decision to wedge O’Connor into the no. 15 slot of their rankings in order to make this an actual title defense should also not be brushed aside for those wondering how this clear mismatch became a world title bout.

Ramirez will get his chance to shine this Saturday and bask in the warmth of his fans’ love. And fans will get another chance to see how this blue collar battler may stack up against the new junior welterweight elite.

Ramirez-O’Connor may not offer much in the way of true competition, but there will be intrigue if one can look past the underdog being pummeled in the ring.

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  1. El Conscripto 06:44am, 07/04/2018

    TSA should quarantine him and not let him fly out of Boston! Paul Pender was a fireman too but at least he knew how to rabbit punch like a son of a gun and he proved it when he was in with Sugar Ray Robinson!

  2. Kid Blast 05:13pm, 07/03/2018

    This could be a dangerous mismatch. Danny took one of the worst KO’s I have ever seen from Gabe Bracero. Many thought he was seriously hurt. Thankfully, he wasn’t but that punch was career-altering imo. Also, Danny has no power whatsoever while his opponent does. Finally, Danny rarely fights outside of New England.

    This one has the makings of a “don’t go to the refrigerator and I went on record some time ago to this effect.

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