By Chris Cella
This Friday night live from the Little Creek Casino Resort in Shelton, Washington, former titlists Rico “Suave” Ramos will take on Oscar “Fantasma” Gonzalez in a 10-round featherweight bout. As a prelude to the excitement the main event is anticipated to deliver, super middleweight prospect Farah Ennis will go to battle with the Mexican powerhouse Francisco Sierra as the opening bout. The action begins live on ESPN2 at 9 p.m. Eastern.
Rico Ramos (21-2, 11 KO) was moving his way up the stacked super bantamweight division before colliding head on with Guillermo Rigondeaux in January of last year, who stopped the belt holder with a vicious body shot in the sixth round of their scheduled 12-round bout, claiming the belt. It was the first loss of Ramos’ career, and since has gone 1-1 (losing to Ronny Rios this past January). Despite losing two of his last three bouts, Ramos is still holds a strong name in the division, and needs an impressive performance against Gonzalez to reestablish himself as a top contender and earn another title shot. He possesses speed and power in both hands, and the opportunity to shine on ESPN’s grand stage may be just what he needs to get back on track.
“I can’t wait to get back into the ring and get back to my boxing style and winning ways. I was very disappointed with my last performance and have made that commitment of ‘whatever it takes’ attitude to turn things around,” said Ramos. “I know I have the skills, talent and determination to take my career back to the world championship level. I am really grateful that I have the ESPN platform to showcase all of the hard work that I have put into the gym. My dedication will be evident to all of those fans that are ringside and watching me on ESPN on fight night.”
Across the ring from Ramos will be a hungry Gonzalez (20-2, 14 KO) looking to make a statement against the younger former champion en route to lining himself up to a show with the big boys. Gonzalez had won 19 consecutive bouts since 2007 before losing a decision this past December to Raul Hirales, which delayed his aspirations of fighting for a belt in early 2013. At 32-years young, fighting in a division stacked with a plethora of up-and-coming talent, Gonzalez understands how crucial of a fight this is with Ramos, and how he must deliver if he wants to make a title run.
“I’ve seen Ramos fight before and I don’t believe he’s going to be able to take my punches,” said Gonzalez. “Ramos is a talented fighter and a win over him, especially when I knock him out cold, will put me in a good position.”
In the co-main event, Philadelphia’s super middleweight Farah Ennis (20-1, 12 KO) will be looking to continue where he left off on FNF last July when he won a unanimous decision over Richard Pierson. Through the 10 round fight Ennis easily kept Pierson and his power at bay, controlling each round and winning the decision.
Sierra (25-7-1, 22 KO) appeared to be a promising rising talent until he fought to a draw in 2011. In his seven subsequent bouts he has gone 2-4-1, though he has faced tough competition. Through his career he has proven that he will never shy away from a challenge and take on fights of handpicked opponents to pad his record.
He is in for a challenge against the elusive and crafty Ennis. Sierra brings knockout power in both of his hands, as did Richard Pierson against Ennis, so it will be interesting to see if Ennis comes out fighting similarly to how he did last summer.
Both matchups can position the winning boxer in a great spot going forward in 2013, so fight fans can expect exciting boxing throughout each round of the fights.
The action begins live this Friday, April 12 on ESPN2 at 11 p.m. Eastern.