During a weekend when Showtime is available in more than 60 million homes as a part of the premium network’s Free Preview Weekend, a pair of lightweights took full advantage by capturing minor titles – and the adoration of fight fans – with impressive, entertaining performances from Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif.
Luis Ramos Jr. won a close, 10-round unanimous decision over veteran Raymundo Beltran to take home the WBA Fedelatin Lightweight title.
In the opening bout of ShoBox: The New Generation, Omar Figueroa Jr. scored a knockout at the end of six to win the WBO Intercontinental Youth Lightweight title when Michael Perez told the doctor that he couldn’t continue before the start of the seventh.
Heading into the evening – after being on the losing side of many tight distance fights – Beltran declared, “The judges are my enemies.” Coming out of this evening’s fight, it’s doubtful that his position has changed.
Ramos (21-0, 9 KOs), of Santa Ana, Calif. and Beltran (25-6, 17 KOs), of North Hollywood, Calif. engaged in a crowd-pleasing, 10-round rumble that exemplified aggression and fortitude. The fight included swings in momentum where both fighters landed solid power shots – and demonstrated equally solid chins.
But as the scores were announced, Beltran listened with disgust as Fritz Werner awarded the bout to Ramos 96-94 while James Jen Kin and Daniel Sandoval scored the contest 97-93 to make the decision unanimous.
“I was a little nervous about the decision because I knew it was a tough fight,” said Ramos. “[Beltran] was a tough fighter with a great record but I proved that I could hang in there and take punches.”
Nevertheless, the victory was an important step and promising glimpse into Ramos’ future. The 23-year-old showed his mettle and maintained his composure against the rugged Beltran.
Ramos sustained a cut above his right eye after a clash of heads in the third session. The younger Ramos fought through adversity, even seeming to fight with more fervor and urgency following the cut.
Said Ramos: “He got me with a few head butts, but the blood didn’t really bother me.”
The two men engaged in many exchanges full of hooks and headshots with Beltran staying busier but Ramos punching more accurately. The Sho Stats compiled by CompuBox listed Beltran as landing 156 of 522 punches to Ramos’ 190 of 418.
As Showtime boxing analyst Steve Farhood said of the fight, “If I had to pick one word: intensity.”
In the night’s opening bout, the first punches thrown on Showtime in 2012 arrived quickly as Perez (15-1-1, 9 KOs), of Newark, N.J. and Figueroa (14-0-1, 11 KOs), of Weslaco, Texas came out swinging at a quick pace. What seemed to be a competitive action fight for the first two rounds turned into a dominant performance for Figueroa as Perez struggled to deal with his constant pressure.
“It was my legs,” said Perez. “I had no power since round two. I’m disappointed.”
Figueroa moved forward throughout the bout, landing combinations and winging power shots to the body. In the end, body blows proved to be the difference as Figueroa outlanded Perez 78 to 48.
Before the bell in round six, Figueroa sent a worn Perez back to his corner after connecting with a shot to the midsection that doubled over the Garden State native. Perez stayed on his feet but never made it back out of his corner.
“I was a little disappointed. I hit him with all my best shots but he didn’t go down,” said Figueroa. “But I was confident. I never thought I was going to lose. I’ve been asking for tough opponents. I wanted to fight the best and I proved I can deal with this and much more.
“[Perez] was a tough opponent but that’s what I’ve been asking for.”
Tonight’s telecast will re-air on Thursday, Jan. 12 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime Extreme and be available on Showtime On Demand from Jan. 11 through Jan. 20.
Ramos vs. Beltran and Perez vs. Figueroa was promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, sponsored by Corona, DeWalt Tools and AT&T. Curt Menefee called the action from ringside with Farhood and Antonio Tarver serving as expert analysts. The executive producer of ShoBox is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
ShoBox returns with a championship edition on Friday, Jan. 20 at 11 p.m. on Showtimewhen Rico Ramos (20-0, 11 KOs) makes the first defense of his WBA Super Bantamweight title against former amateur standout Guillermo Rigondeaux (8-0, 6 KOs).
Showtime Championship Boxing kicks off 2012 with the most anticipated rematch of the year. On Saturday, Feb. 11 (9 p.m. ET/PT), former world champions “Vicious” Victor Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KOs), of Ventura, Calif., and Andre Berto (28-1, 22 KOs), of Winter Haven, Fla., will slug it out one more time after their 2011 bout earned Fight of the Year honors from USA Today.
Announced in tonight’s telecast, Paul “The Punisher” Williams will take on Nobuhiro Ishida on Showtime Championship Boxing on Saturday, Feb. 18 (10 p.m. ET/PT).