While participating in his first public workout since having signed a long-term promotional contract with Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, Mexican-American amateur sensation Jose Ramirez met Manny Pacquiao at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, Calif., on Wednesday, where Pacquiao is training with Freddie Roach for his HBO-Pay Per View-televised fourth bout with Juan Manuel Marquez on Dec. 8 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Considered to be among the premiere prospects in the 2012 Olympic Games in London despite being eliminated following his first-round victory, Ramirez, 20, went 145-11 as an amateur, winning 11 national titles.
Arum said that Ramirez will make his professional debut on the undercard of Pacquiao-Marquez.
The No. 1-rated amateur lightweight in America, Ramírez was a 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials champion, as well as a Junior Olympic National titlewinner in 2010 and 2011, and a USA Boxing National titleholder in 2011.
Top Rank has also signed two-time Olympian Oscar Valdez, 22, who represented Mexico in the 2008 and 2012 games and made his pro debut with a second-round knockout of Mexican featherweight countryman Angel Prado on Nov. 3 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 at the 2012 Olympic Games. Verdejo won twice prior to losing to eventual gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko, of Ukraine.
Ramirez is co-managed by Armando Mancinas and Rick Mirigian.
TYSON MARQUEZ-BRIAN VILORIA BOUT TO BE BROADCAST ON WEALTHTV
Saturday night’s flyweight bout between WBA titleholder Hernan “Tyson” Marquez (34-2, 25 KOs) and WBO beltholder Brian Viloria (31-3, 18 KOs) will be broadcast on WealthTV in the United States and www.wealthtv.com beginning at 9 p.m. Eastern Time.
Marquez-Viloria begins a five-week stretch for WealthTV and www.wealthtv.com, which will also feature a Nov. 30 clash between heavyweight David Price (14-0, 12 KO’s) and Matt Skelton (28-6, 23 KOs), a winner of five straight fights, with stoppage victories in his past three.
On Dec. 1, WealthTV will show heavyweight Tyson Fury (19-0, 14 KO’s) against Kevin Johnson (28-2-1, 13 KOs), and on Dec. 6, there will be a re-broadcast of last month’s unanimous-decision victory by WBC junior lightweight titleholder Gamaliel Diaz over Takahiro Ao, and, on Dec. 8, super middleweight James DeGale (13-1, 9 KOs) will face an opponent to be determined.
On Dec. 14, former light heavyweight titleholder Jean Pascal (26-2-1, 16 KOs) returns to the ring opposite Aleksy Kuziemsky (23-4, 7 KOs), light heavyweights Eleider Alvarez (10-0, 6 KOs) and Edison Miranda (35-8, 30 KOs) will meet, and middleweight knockout artist David Lemieux (27-2, 26 KOs) will be back in action.
“We have some terrific fights over a five week stretch,” said WealthTV president Charles Herring. “WealthTV promised the boxing fans that we’d be one of the most active networks in providing the highest quality bouts from all over the world without any associated premium channel fees.”
“The next several weeks provide just a glimpse into what we have planned for 2013. And U.S. boxing fans that don’t receive WealthTV via their cable provider can watch these fights for just 99 cents a month on wealthtv.com. We aren’t aware of another network that offers high quality fights for such a price.”
OMAR HENRY PULLS OUT OF SHOWTIME FIGHT DUE TO GALLSTONES
Omar Henry, of Oakland, Calif., has withdrawn from his scheduled, Nov. 16 middleweight clash of unbeatens against Juan Ubaldo Cabrera and is under observation for gallstones at Broward Health Medical Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Showtime and promoter Don King announced on Wednesday.
“I arrived in South Florida from California on Tuesday,” said Henry, 25. “I went for a run and began to experience strong pains. I went to the hospital. There is no way I can fight.”
Henry was initially intended to face James de la Rosa (21-1, 12 KOs), of San Benito, Texas, before being scheduled against Cabrera (20-0, 14 KOs), a winner of six of his past nine bouts by stoppage.
Instead of Henry (12-0, 9 knockouts), the ShoBox: The New Generation card will be headlined by Miami lightweight Angelo Santana (13-0, 10 KOs), a 24-year-old southpaw from Cuba who will be after his seventh consecutive knockout victory against Juan “Johnny” Garcia (13-0, 8 KOs), a 30-year-old resident of Holland, Mich.
The show will be broadcast from Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla.
Santana is coming off June’s career-best, third-round technical knockout victory over highly-regarded Justin Savi, who entered their bout with a mark of 26-1 that included 18 knockouts.
“Garcia is a good fighter and I have respect for him,” said Santana. “We will put on a great show for all the fans at Gulfstream Park and watching on Showtime.”
Garcia is coming off upset decisions over previously unbeaten William Jackson in November, and Yordenis Ugas in March.
“I am from Michigan, and when I left there this week, there was snow on the ground. Now I’m in Florida where it’s warm and sunny,” said Garcia.
“Santana and I are both 13-0, so it doesn’t get much better than that. The fights are being held outdoors at Gulfstream Park. I can’t wait to fight.”
The broadcast will open with junior middleweights Joey “Twinkle Fingers” Hernandez (22-1-1, 13 KOs), and James “Shotgun” Winchester (15-5, 5 KOs).
“I’m glad my fight will be seen on Showtime,” said Hernandez. “Now people around the country will see why I have gained so many fans in South Florida. Winchester says he’s ready to fight, but this is going to be over within three rounds.”
Winchester is an upset-minded veteran who plans to make the most of this opportunity.
“I didn’t come to lose. I came to win. I am fighting a guy called ‘Twinkle Fingers.’ I can’t believe that,” said Winchester. “When I get done with him, he’s going to be ‘Twinkle Toes.’ All he’s got is a mouth. I come from the street, and I don’t play. You’ll see what I mean on Friday.”
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com