Freddie Roach recognizes improvements in Jose Ramirez since Ramirez began working with trainer Robert Garcia two years ago.
Ramirez replaced Roach with Garcia less than two months after he won the WBC super lightweight title in March 2018. The 28-year-old Ramirez has gone 3-0 since parting ways with Roach, including a sixth-round knockout of Maurice Hooker in their title unification fight last July.
Ramirez (25-0, 17 KOs) will encounter an opponent Roach trains Saturday night, when he’ll make a mandatory defense of his WBC 140-pound crown versus Viktor Postol at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
“He’s developed into a good body puncher,” Roach told BoxingScene.com, “and he tries to break people down and knock them out toward the end of fights with big hooks and so forth. For us to win the fight, we just have to out-box him and be smarter. That’s all.”
Ukraine’s Postol is 36, but Roach is confident that the rangy, experienced ex-champion can out-point the favored Ramirez in their 12-round bout.
“You’ve got a boxer and a puncher,” Roach said. “We’re the boxer, and that’s how we’re gonna win the fight. We’re gonna out-box him.”
Postol (31-2, 12 KOs), a former WBC super lightweight champion, has lost only 12-round unanimous decisions to Terence Crawford and Josh Taylor. Crawford (36-0, 27 KOs) and Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs) arguably are the best boxers in their respective divisions, welterweight and junior welterweight.
Postol pulled off an upset the last time he challenged for the WBC super lightweight title. His 10th-round knockout of Lucas Matthysse occurred nearly five years ago, though, and Postol hasn’t fought in the 16 months since he defeated France’s Mohamed Mimoune by unanimous decision in a 10-rounder in Las Vegas.
Ramirez, of Avenal, California, hasn’t boxed in the 13 months since he stopped the previously unbeaten Hooker (27-1-3, 18 KOs). The 2012 U.S. Olympian also will defend the WBO junior welterweight title he took from Hooker when he opposes Postol in the main event of an eight-fight card ESPN+ will stream, starting at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT.
Ramirez-Postol has been postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
They were first scheduled to fight February 1 at Mission Hills Resort Haikou in Haikou, China. It was rescheduled for May 9 at Save Mart Center in Fresno, California, but it was pushed back 3½ more months.
If Ramirez tops Postol, his promoter, Bob Arum, intends to match him against Scotland’s Taylor in a 140-pound championship unification match. Taylor also must defeat Thailand’s Apinun Khongsong (16-0, 13 KOs), the mandatory challenger for his IBF title, on September 26 in London to keep that fight viable.
Roach believes Postol was more competitive against Taylor in June 2018 than the judges indicated (119-108, 118-110, 117-110). Taylor dropped Postol in the 10th round, but Postol previously hurt the younger southpaw twice during the second half of the seventh round.
“He fought a very good fight,” Roach said of Postol. “The thing is, I really rate Taylor because Taylor beat a couple of my other [fighters]. Taylor is a very good fighter, and I thought [Postol] put on a great performance. That’s kind of like the performance I would like to see in this fight, also.”
Noel Galang – Kamao TV