Mexican-American amateur sensatio Jose Ramirez, considered to be among the premiere prospects in the 2012 Olympic Games in London despite being eliminated following his first-round victory, has signed a long-term promotional contracts with Top Rank, the company’s Presiden Todd duBoef, and CEO Bob Arum announced on Friday.
“We are ecstatic to sign Jose Ramírez to a promotional contract,” said Arum. “We considered Jose to be the leading prospect among the fighters comprising the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team.”
A 20-year-old who began boxing at the age of 8, Ramirez went 145-11 as an amateur, winning 11 national titles. As a lightweight, Ramirez, of Avenal, Calif., surpassed Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Shane Mosley to become USA Boxing’s all-time record-holder.
Arum said that Ramirez will make his professional debut on the undercard of the HBO-Pay Per View-televised fourth bout between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez on Dec. 8 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“I feel very blessed to have the team that I have around me and that Top Rank will make my team even stronger,” said Ramirez, whose first professional bout with be a four-rounder. “I feel I’m in great hands with Top Rank and they care about their fighters.”
Arum said Ramirez’s opponent will be determined by Hall of Fame matchmake Bruce Trampler.
“Jose’s fan-friendly style of fighting – always on the attack and throwing lots of punches – is a perfect fit for Top Rank,” said Trampler. “We have very high expectations for him.”
The No. 1-rated amateur lightweight in America, Ramírez was a 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials champion, a national champ, as well as a Junior Olympic National titlewinner both from 2010 through 2011, and a USA Boxing National titleholder in 2011.
“After structuring one of the most complex and detailed agreements, we are thrilled to include the premier 2012 U.S. Olympian to our Top Rank stable,” said duBoef.
“We have followed Jose’s highly-decorated amateur career and look forward to paving and developing a path for his professional career.”
Top Rank has also signed two-time Mexican Olympian Oscar Valdez, 22, who represented Mexico in the 2008 and 2012 games and debuted with a second-round knockout of Mexican featherweight countryman Angel Prado on Nov. 3 in Centro de Usos Multiples in Hermosillo, Mexico.
Valdez lost in the 2012 quarterfinals to eventual silver medalist John Joe Nevin of Ireland, whom he forced to take a standing eight-count following a debilitating body shot. Oscar Valdez is trained by his father, Oscar Sr., and managed by Frank Espinoza.
Top Rank also has signed 19-year-old Felix Verdejo, a Puerto Rican lightweight winner of two fights at the 2012 Olympic Games. Verdejo won twice prior to losing to eventual gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko, of Ukraine.
“We’re really thrilled to sign Jose,” said Arum. “We had targeted three former Olympians as guys that we wanted to sign, and we were fortunate to sign all three of them.”
Ramirez is co-managed by Armando Mancinas and Rick Mirigian.
“I am excited about our relationship with Top Rank because they believe in Jose and they have faith that Jose will excel in the sport,” said Mancinas, who is also Ramirez’s coach. “Their history of developing fighters should prove beneficial for Team Ramírez.”
Five other members of the U.S. Olympic team will make their Showtime-televised professional debuts under the Golden Boy banner of Friday night’s Showtime ShoBox: The New Generation card’s “Night Of The Olympians.”
Those featured Olympians, Dominic Breazeale, Marcus Browne, Terrell Gausha, Errol Spence Jr. and Rau’shee Warren, will be on the undercard to the main event between undefeated featherweight prospect Gary Russell Jr. and Roberto Castaneda.
“After countless meetings, months of research and preparation, it was decided that as Top Rank raised boxing’s superstars in the past, that they are poised to do the same with the next generation of the sport’s elite,” said Mirigian, who is also Ramírez’s deal agent.
“The structure, stability, partnerships and experience Top Rank has in place is second to none. They stepped up and showed they share the same belief in Ramírez as we do, and historically, they don’t just sign anyone as they deal in quality, not quantity. I look forward to working close with them to create the sport’s next superstar and usher in a new generation of boxing.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com