Like a bowl of ramen, the boxing schedule is slowly heating up. Soon you will need a chopstick fan to cool it down. Yes, your correspondent is still in Japan and is still stretching his metaphors. There are three televised cards on this week, with the highlight being ShoBox’s year-opener headlined by featherweights Ronny Rios and Rico Ramos, who share rather bland initials.
Ronny Rios vs. Rico Ramos, Friday, Showtime, Indo Calif. Californians RR and RR are near the top of the class of featherweight prospects. Ramos (21-1, 11 KO) saw his stock plummet in January last year after a loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux in which he didn’t appear to try at all. Rigondeaux has a way of making people look like that, though, and Ramos bounced back in entertaining fashion in June against former beltholder Efrain Esquivias. Rios (19-0, 9 KO) hasn’t had those kinds of ups and downs, most recently defeating long time Manny Pacquiao sparring partner David Rodela in a barnburner. In that fight he demonstrated both patience and great conditioning. Neither of these guys is a big puncher, but they’re both willing to mix it up. Rios especially likes to go downstairs, which troubled Ramos in both the Esquivias and Rigondeaux fights. There’s a multiplicity of ways this fight could end up looking – with either man able to press or box – so it’s a bit of a head scratcher. But I’ll very tentatively pick Rios as the bigger and better conditioned man.
The Rest. Friday Night Fights on ESPN2 is headlined by lightweights John Molina (24-2, 19 KO) and Dannie Williams (22-2, 18 KO). Molina is coming off a shock first round loss to Antonio DeMarco and Williams is one fight removed from a decision loss to Hank Lundy. Both guys are fun and have something to prove, so it could be good… Fox Sports Net has should-be-retired junior welterweight Steve Forbes (35-11, 11 KO) against recent Pablo Cesar Cano victim Johan Perez (15-1-1, 12 KO) on Saturday… The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board’s #2 junior flyweight, Adrian Hernandez (25-2-1, 16 KO) faces Panama’s Dirceu Cabarca (13-6, 5 KO) the same night in Mexico City.