Efrain Esquivias and Rico Ramos will be going toe-to-toe this Saturday at the Sportsman’s Lodge in Studio City, but both junior featherweights will be coming in with very different states of mind.
Ramos (20-1, 11 KOs) is the former WBA 122-pound titleholder, but he is coming off an embarrassing knockout at the hands of two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux. Rather than taking on a soft opponent in order to get an easy victory, Ramos chose to fight the undefeated and quickly rising Esquivias (16-0, 9 KOs).
Esquivias is hungry for a victory against a well-known fighter like Ramos, and he knows that a convincing win will put him one step closer to his goal of a world title.
This will be the first time that these fighters have faced each other as professionals, but they are not complete strangers in the ring. They fought three times as amateurs, with two wins going to Ramos and one to Esquivias. All three fights were contested split-decisions that could have gone either way. The second of Ramos’ victories was especially controversial in Esquivias’ eyes, and Carson, Calif. resident said that “It will be in the back of my mind, it will be motivation to train hard and to get that victory.”
Esquivias also said that he expects Ramos to come out with an extremely aggressive demeanor to make people forget about his recent defeat.
“I think [the Rigondeaux knockout] is going to make the fight tougher,” Esquivias said. “He’s going to try to prove to the whole world that he’s still hungry and that he’s not a ‘scared fighter,’ as people have called him. I think he’s going to go for the knockout. And it will work to my advantage because he’s going to stand in there and fight.”
it should be an entertaining and physical battle, as Ramos will not be able to hold anything back. Esquivias considers his own style to be a hard-hitting one.
“I throw a lot more punches; I apply a lot of pressure,” he said. “[Ramos] doesn’t like to get hit.”
Whether Esquivias’ words will hold true or not will be decided on Saturday night, but it is clear that both fighters understand the magnitude of this fight. Ramos is looking for redemption and another shot at the title, while Esquivias wants to use a victory on Saturday as an opportunity to secure a fight with a big name, such as WBC 122-pound titlehlder (and frequent sparring partner) Abner Mares.
Neither fighter views losing as an option.