Top Rank on ESPN Results: Ramírez Stops Reed in Two; Beterbiev Cruises to IBF Title
By Eric Lunger
Jose Ramírez is easy to like – a 2012 Olympian, a fighter who brings an exciting come-forward style to the ring, and a man who supports his central California roots with more than just talk. Tonight’s card on ESPN from the Save Mart Center on the campus of Fresno State was not only the seventh “Fight for Water Rights,” an event that raises money and awareness for the California Latino Water Coalition, it was also a great night of action. Ramírez (20-0, 15 KOs) risked his mandatory position for the WBC super lightweight belt against a very technically proficient southpaw in Maryland’s Mike “Yes Indeed” Reed (23-0, 12 KOs), while much avoided knockout puncher Artur Beterbiev (11-0, 11 KOs) took on Enrico Kölling (23-1, 6 KOs) of Germany for the IBF light heavyweight title, recently vacated by Andre Ward.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Promotions
Having grown up in central California, Ramírez has remained connected to the community both as a citizen and a professional boxer. The 13,838 fans in the arena were, predictably, loud and passionate as Ramírez made his way to the ring. Reed gave up four inches in height and almost six inches in reach, but the Waldorf, MD, native came into the proverbial lion’s den with a plan to box and weather the early storm.
Both fighters were active in the first round, with Ramírez doing better work, especially with left hooks to the body. Reed, as is his way, was calm and poised, maintaining his defense and countering when and where he could.
In the second, Reed’s lead right hook caught Ramírez coming in, but then Ramírez — just as suddenly — caught Reed with a short right hand, hurting him and forcing a knock down. Reed took the count, but was still in trouble. After a second knockdown, and with 1:17 to go in the round, referee Jack Reiss, after watching Ramírez unload on Reed for about ten seconds straight, waved the fight off. Just like that, and on one punch, Ramírez seized control and gave Reed no chance to regain his equilibrium.
In the co-main event, Russian-born, Montréal based Artur Beterbiev came into the ring with record of eleven knockouts in eleven pro fights. In a cautious and uneventful bout, the Russian dominated every round. Kölling took few risks, fought with a high guard, and was on his back foot the whole night. For his part, Beterbiev was content to score with his jab, offering little variety in the way of offense.
Only in the twelfth round did Beterbiev put his motor into a high gear. He began to let his hands go in earnest and, with 40 seconds left, he knocked Kölling down twice. The referee waved the fight off without administering a count, a bit of a gift to Beterbiev, who thus keeps his knockout streak.
You know that feeling when you watch a professional and exploratory first round? Both fighters just getting their range and maybe trying to figure out a few things about the other guy? They go back to their corners, and you’re pretty certain that things will open up in the next round. Well, the first eleven rounds were more or less like that tentative, eventless first round.
Regardless, Beterbiev picks up the IBF belt and now must figure in any conversation with the other kingpins of the division: Sergey Kovalev, Adonis Stevenson, Eleider Alvarez, Sullivan Barrera, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, and Badou Jack.
Ramírez vs. Reed and Beterbiev vs. Kölling Headline ESPN Card
By: Eric Lunger
Mike “Yes Indeed” Reed (23-0, 12 KOs) looks to make a statement in the super lightweight division this Saturday night as he takes on Jose Carlos Ramírez (20-0, 15 KOs), an undefeated number 3 world ranked contender and former 2012 US Olympian. Reed, a five-foot six southpaw from Waldorf, MD, had a stellar amateur career. He has been brought along carefully as a professional. Now, with Terence Crawford moving up to welterweight, the 140-pound division is open for a number of fighters to make an impact, and 24-year-old Reed hopes to be one of them.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing
Ramírez, 25, hails from Avenal, CA, and is riding a three fight KO streak. With significant amateur background as well, and with trainer Freddie Roach in his corner, Ramírez made the transition to the professional ranks with ease. At five-foot ten, Ramírez is tall and rangy, and he will look to maximize his height and six-inch reach advantage. With a classic Mexican style, expect the California native to stand in the middle of the ring and throw. In his last outing, Ramírez stopped Jake Giuriceo (20-5-1, 5 KOs) with an onslaught of left hooks to the body and punishing overhand rights.
Mike Reed, on the other hand, is a calm and deliberate fighter. He likes to figure out his opponent in the ring, and then go to work on perceived weaknesses. The matchup is an intriguing one: aggressive puncher in Ramírez versus deliberate southpaw tactician in Reed. Conditioning and experience in the late rounds could be issues for both fighters. Reed has had only two ten-round bouts (both went the distance and both were unanimous decisions), whereas Ramírez has gone the distance only once in his professional career. Headlining an ESPN card will also add pressure and nerves for both guys. There is a lot at stake: both fighters undefeated, both looking for a title shot in the wide open super lightweight division.
In the co-main event, Artur Beterbiev (11-0, 11 KOs), a Russian-born fighter who resides in Montréal, Canada, takes on Enrico Kölling (23-1, 6 KOs) of Berlin, Germany, for the vacant IBF light heavyweight world title. Beterbiev, as his record indicates, is a fearsome knockout puncher, and he has claimed that former champion Andre Ward vacated the title rather than face his mandatory title challenge. Be that as it may, Kölling has fought only in Germany, and once in South Africa. He will have his hands full Saturday night, as Beterbiev packs dangerous power in both hands. What Kölling does have in his favor is experience, which he will need, having gone the full twelve-round distance three times in his career. The German is also well versed in the European amateur ranks, which may prepare him for a fighter of Beterbiev’s caliber. Whether he is prepared for Beterbiev’s pressure and power is another question.
The venue is the Save Mart Center in Fresno, CA, making this a home fight for Ramírez, who sold out the building last December. Tickets may be purchased at select Save Mart Supermarkets, online at Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 800 or at the Save Mart Center Box Office.
Both fights will be televised live and exclusively at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and stream live on the ESPN App.