INDIO, Calif. – Ronny Rios didn’t make the statement he had hoped to against Rico Ramos but the featherweight prospect remained undefeated and beat the first former titleholder of his pro career.
Rios (20-0, 9 knockouts) outworked Ramos to a unanimous 10-round decision in a ShoBox: The New Generation main event at Fantasy Springs Casino, but he wasn’t as dominant as Fritz Werner’s terrible 100-90 scorecard suggests. Pat Russell’s 96-94 card and Fernando Villareal’s 97-93 tally were more indicative of what happened in the ring, which is not to say that Rios did not perform well.
The rugged 23-year-old Santa Ana, Calif. native did not fight with his usual aggression against Ramos but he worked his jab more efficiently in the early going, consistently beat the former WBA 122-pound beltholder to the punch and attacked the body effectively during the middle rounds of the bout.
However, after doing more moving and holding over the first half of the generally uneventful bout, Ramos (21-2, 11 KOs), a 25-year-old speedster from the Watts area of L.A., stepped up his workrate and began landing clean right hands. Ramos, who won the WBA title with a come-from-behind-KO of Akifumi Shimoda in 2011 and then lost the belt to Guillermo Rigondeaux last January, was the busier of the two in the late rounds.
Rios, who had trouble cutting the ring off on the stick-and-moving Ramos down the stretch, appeared to take his foot off the gas pedal, which made for a close fight in the opinion of many observers.
The loss was a tough break for Ramos, who was once a highly touted Southern California amateur boxer and pro prospect.
He was clearly moved too fast to a world title, won it almost by luck (a “Hail Mary” one-punch KO), and was then completely outclassed and humiliated by an ultra-talented Cuban amateur legend. Since the Rigondeaux fight, he has fought two undefeated fighters (Rios and Efrain Esquivias, who he narrowly outpointed last June).
Although Ramos’ confidence was obviously shaken Rigondeaux, he exhibited flashes of talent and tenacity against both Esquivias and Rios, perhaps enough for his management (Al Haymon and company) to give him one more chance at redeeming his career. For now Ramos is an example of “too much, too soon” that Rios’ management (Frank Espinoza and company) may want to take heed of.
Rios has potential but the second half of the Ramos fight proves that he’s still a work in progress.
In the co-featured bout of the Showtime broadcast, junior middleweight prospect Daquan Arnett remained undefeated with a unanimous eight-round decision over previously unbeaten Brandon Quarles.
Arnett, a 20-year-old amateur standout from Winter Park, Fla., won by scores of 78-73, 77-74, 76-75. He was the busier fighter throughout the bout but he was buzzed by overhand rights in the third and fourth rounds. Quarles (9-1-1, 2 KOs), of Alexandria, Va., was game but he did more stalking than punching as he was outjabbed by Arnett while he looked to land one big right hand over the second half of the bout, which petered out in the final three rounds.
On the non-televised undercard, junior featherweight prospect Randy Caballero looked the sharpest of his three-year pro career in stopping former title challenger Luis Maldonado in four rounds. Caballero (18-0, 10 KOs), of nearby Coachella, Calif., gave his fans a reason to cheer by dropping the capable Mexican veteran with a hook in the first round and a body shot in the fourth.
Maldonado (38-10-1, 29 KOs), who gave prospect Ivan Morales a tough fight in his last bout last September, was game as usual but the 34-year-old technician was outboxed and outfought throughout the non-televised fight.
Prior to Caballero-Maldonado, another junior featherweight prospect, Julian Ramirez (6-0, 5 KOs), of Los Angeles, made quick work of Sergio Najera (4-9), stopping the Mexican journeyman on cuts midway through the first round.
Heavyweight prospect Dominic Breazeale made quick work of Caleb Grummet (3-3-1, 2 KOs), stopping the undersized and outclassed Michigan journeyman 45 seconds into the second round. Breazeale, a 2012 U.S. Olympian from Alhambra, Calif., improved to 3-0, 3 KOs.
Santiago Guevara, an unbeaten lightweight from Montebello, Calif., improved to 5-0, 3 KOs, with a third-round stoppage of Tijuana journeyman Juan Zuniga (4-9-1, 1 KO).
In the opening bout of the Golden Boy Promotions card, Los Angeles heavyweight Gerald Washington improved to 6-0, with 4 KOs, with a unanimous decision over Atlanta journeyman DJ Hugley (1-6-1, 1 KO).
Photos / Tom Casino-SHOWTIME