INDIO, Calif. – Luis Ramos had to work very hard to win his ShoBox debut.
The 23-year-old lightweight prospect remained undefeated by outpointing Reymundo Beltran at Fantasy Springs Casino on Friday, but he had to deal with his share of adversity.
Ramos (21-0, nine knockouts), who won by scores of 97-93, 97-93 and 96-94, overcame hard shots from the crafty veteran, a nasty cut from an unintentional headbutt, and fought the 10-round distance for the first time in his career.
Beltran (25-6, 17 KOs) outworked Ramos, according to CompuBox, but the younger fighter landed more punches for a higher punch-connect rate (45 to 30 percent).
It was a competitive scrap that many ringside observers thought could have been a draw.
Ramos, of Santa Ana, Calif., admits that it was too close for comfort after struggling with the 30-year-old Los Mochis, Mexico native in the final three rounds.
“I was a little nervous before the decision was announced because I knew it was a close fight,” Ramos said. “He was tough with a great record, but I think I proved that I can handle an experienced fighter.”
Ramos dealt with Beltran by alternating an aggressive fight with a stick-and-move strategy, but he couldn’t avoid older man’s counter punches. And he couldn’t avoid accidental head clashes, either, one of which produced a cut over his right eye in the third round.
“I think my cutman did a good job on the cut,” said Ramos, who needed nine stiches to close his wound. “It bothered me a little when the blood first started pouring but I didn’t panic and I think I pulled through.”
Ramos tried to increase his pressure in rounds four and five, but he found that Beltran was able to take his best shots and return fire.
“I’m not going to lie, he did buzz me a few times,” Ramos admitted. “He came well prepared. He spars with Manny Pacquiao, so I knew he was ready for speed and that he’s durable.”
Ramos proved that he’s got some durability, too, as the two traded power punches on even terms in the seventh and eighth rounds. The final two rounds were close, as Ramos pitted his speed and lateral movement agaisnt Beltran’s excellent timing and accurate counter punching.
Ramos views the tough final two rounds as an education.
“I’m going to grow from this experience,” he said. “This fight makes me want to work harder because I know if I want to step it up to the next level, I’ve got work on some of the technical stuff in the gym. But I’m ready to do that and I can’t wait until my next fight.”
In the co-featured bout of the Showtime boradcast, Omar Figueroa stopped fellow unbeaten lightweight prospect Michael Perez after six rounds.
Perez’s corner stopped the bout prior to the seventh round after their fighter was outworked and rocked a few times over the previous four rounds.
“It was my legs,” said Perez (15-1-1, nine knockouts), of Newark, N.J. “I had no legs from round two. I had no power.”
Figueroa (14-0-1, 11 KOs), of Weslaco, Texas, didn’t suffer from any power outage. The 22-year-old swtich-hitter the aggressor throughout the brisk scheduled 10 rounder that was marred only by frequent clinches, which were usually initiated by Perez.
Figueroa repeatedly buzzed Perez with hooks and short crosses, but the 21-year-old Puerto Rican always fired back after being hurt.
“I was a little disappointed because I hit him with my best shots but he didn’t go down,” said Figueroa, who absorbed some good body shots from Perez early in the bout but discouraged his foe from continuing the body attack by targeting Perez’s midsection himself.
“I wanted a good fight. He’s a tough opponent, but I had no doubt that I would win and I proved I could deal with this and much more.”
He did indeed.
On the undercard of the Golden Boy Promotions card, welterweight prospect Michael Finney (8-0, 7 KOs) went the distance for the first time with a six-round unanimous decision over Hector Orozco (4-10).
Finney, of Las Vegas, dropped Orozco in the first round but had some trouble with the aggressive, combination-punching style of the tough Minnesota journeyman in the late rounds of the bout, his first since last March and his first bout with new trainer Roberto Garcia.