Jose Ramirez retained his WBC and WBO Super Lightweight titles with an unconvincing majority decision win against the tough Viktor Postol inside the Top Rank Bubble in Las Vegas on Saturday.
The fight was twice postponed due to the pandemic, but it was third time lucky in Sin City, as Ramirez edged towards an undisputed showdown against Josh Taylor with victory.
Ramirez (26-0, 17 KOs) began with plenty of upper body movement and landed with a couple of decent left hands towards the end of what was a relatively quiet first round.
Postol (31-3, 12 KOs) was wary of the champion’s power, as he took a right hand well, early in the second, but the Ukrainian was doing well staying out of range in the main, using good footwork to make Ramirez miss, whilst landing single shots of his own.
The former world titlist got through with a right hand in the third, but was then met with an attack from Ramirez that left him off balance.
Postol’s jab and long, straight punches were frustrating the Californian, who mainly charged in as he attempted to unsettle ‘The Iceman’.
Ramirez, 28, is used to dictating matters on his terms and the 36-year-old wasn’t allowing that to happen, sticking to the perimeter of the ring to avoid any danger.
Neither man was getting on top of the fight, and rounds were difficult to score, with the volume coming from Ramirez, but the accuracy coming from the veteran.
The second half of the fight saw Ramirez click into some sort of gear, firing to head and body of his opponent with more regularity, which meant Postol wasn’t able to use his jab to as good effect, as he had been doing previously.
Both sensed the fight was up for grabs heading into the championship rounds, but Postol was still proving a hard man to pin down, forcing Ramirez to constantly go on the hunt.
Inevitably, the fight went to the scorecards, where it was always going to be a case of what the judges liked. Dave Moretti scored a 114-114 draw, but he was over ruled by Tim Cheatham and Steve Weisfeld, who scored 115-113 and 116-112 for Ramirez respectively.
The win won’t really have terrified Scotland’s Josh Taylor, who holds the other two portions on the world title puzzle, the WBA ‘Super’ and IBF belts.
Taylor must come through Apinun Khongsong in London next month for an Undisputed championship match to take place between the pair, although Ramirez will also have to tackle his WBO mandatory, Jack Catterall in due course.
“I went in there a little too cold,” said Ramirez to ESPN after his tough encounter.
“I’m much stronger than most guys think. I just got to not lose confidence in myself and stick to what I do best and box, let my hands go, and not hesitate too much.
“There was a little bit of hesitation throughout this fight”.
“I felt like I was just in a sparring session. I think I could’ve made the fight a lot easier, but we live and learn.”
Outstanding performance from postol!! Ramirez… hmmmm 🤔not so much 👎🏼👊🏼
— Josh Taylor (@JoshTaylorBoxer) August 30, 2020
Arnold Barboza Jr (24-0, 10 KOs) shined on the undercard, dominating the experienced Tony Luis (29-4, 10 KOs) on the way to a wide points win.
Three scores of 99-90 moved Barboza closer to a showdown with Top Rank stablemate Alex Saucedo.
Elvis Rodriguez (9-0-1, 9 KOs) again notched a big knockout win, this time a third round wipeout of Cody Wilson. Wilson (9-3, 6 KOs) was down three times in all in their Welterweight clash.
Raymond Muratalla (10-0, 8 KOs) remained unbeaten with a seventh round stoppage of Cesar Valenzuela (15-7-1, 5 KOs) at Lightweight, but had to come off the canvas in the second to eventually seal victory.
Muratalla’s brother Gabriel (5-0, 4 3 KOs) had to do the same in his Bantamweight contest with Justice Bland (2-1).
The preschool teacher overcame a flash first round knockdown to win 38-36 on the three judges’ cards.
Elsewhere, Middleweight prospect Javier Martinez moved to 2-0, with a unanimous decision win over Rance Ward (4-2-1, 2 KOs)