By: Sean Crose
The 21-0 Rafael Espinoza took on the 13-1 defending WBO featherweight champion Robeisy Ramirez Saturday night in the main event of an ESPN card broadcast live from Florida’s Penbroke Pines. At 6’1, Espinoza towered over the 5’6 defending champion. Ramirez, however, was able to land well about halfway through the opening round. The second saw Espinoza moving forward and firing away at the defending titlist.
While it’s true Espinoza had a considerable height and reach advantage, there was not doubt that the man’s activity rate was what won him the third round. The fourth was an exciting chapter that saw both fighters trading leather. Things remained exciting in the fifth, but Ramirez wasn’t able to get in on his man – until he dropped Espinoza out of the blue with a beautiful right hook. Espinoza beat the count near the bell and was able to survive the round.
Espinoza went down again in the sixth, though it was only a slip. Still, Ramirez appeared to have hurt his man again toward round’s end. Ramirez fought patiently in the seventh, knowing that he had the capability to hurt the determined challenger. And indeed, Espinoza was nailed again at the end of the round. Yet, to his lasting credit, the man fought through the storm until the bell sounded, ending the round. Espinoza got rocked yet again in the eighth – and yet again, the man fought through the moment.
As brilliantly as he had performed, however, Ramirez was being outworked in the ninth. The tenth round saw the action slow a bit after nine rounds of combat. Still, there were several impressive moments, which mainly belonged to Espinoza. The gutsy challenger continued to push the action in the eleventh. The last round saw Espinoza still working away. Ramirez, however, was still game and hard hitting. It was, simply put, a very impressive outing for each fighter. With less than a minute left before the final bell, Ramirez went down under the relentless rain of Espinoza’s punches. He managed to get up and survive the round.
After the bell had rung, however, it was underdog challenger Espinoza who got the judge’s nod, as well as the WBO featherweight title.
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