Julian “Camaron” Ramirez looks more like an usher at a movie theater or some sophomore undergrad at a local college.
There’s nothing menacing about Ramirez; no bulging muscles, tattoos on his face or a scalp full of dyed spiky hair. He’s seemingly just a normal kid from L.A.
One night, on a heavy fight card in 2012, Ramirez was performing on a Golden Boy Promotions card. That same night, Joel De La Hoya the older brother of Oscar De La Hoya, had one of his protégé’s on the fight card and was inside the dressing room when his wife told him to take a look at the television monitor.
“My wife is sitting watching the fight from the dressing room and he’s (Ramirez) making his pro debut or second fight. I go see my wife, sit with her and check out the fight. Julian was already done. He won by KO,” said De La Hoya. “My wife Esther says this kid is a bad ****.”
On the recommendation of his wife, Joel De La Hoya asked Golden Boy Promotions matchmaker Robert Diaz about the status of Ramirez. Upon learning the youngster was un-attached, De La Hoya signed his wife’s discovery to a contract.
That was four years ago and so far, so good.
The undefeated Ramirez (15-0, 8 KOs) meets San Diego’s veteran Christopher Martin (28-6-3, 9 KOs) for the vacant WBC Youth featherweight title on Friday Jan. 29. The main event takes place at the Belasco Theater in downtown L.A. Estrella TV will televise.
De La Hoya says that two things stick out when it comes to Ramirez: he has ultimate confidence in his own abilities and possesses natural fighting instincts.
Those fighting instincts may not be accidental. The late great former world champion Genaro “Chicanito” Hernandez and brother Rudy “Chicano” Hernandez are uncles. The two L.A. raised Hernandez brothers impacted prizefighting in the Southern California area to a great degree.
Family gatherings are boxing fests.
“When we get together everybody talks about boxing. It’s cool. Even when I was young everybody had an opinion. I just sat back listened to everything. I would have my own opinions and keep them to myself, but now I speak my opinions,” says Ramirez, 22, about family gatherings. “After my fights the family says you could have done this or that was a stupid punch. Good and bad. But I’m used to it. Since I was a kid they would give their opinions. We used to go and everyone would talk about boxing.”
But eventually female family members would get fed up with the constant pugilistic forums.
“Girls at the house, my mom or grandma, would say shut the heck up about boxing,” says Ramirez with a chuckle.
Boxing is an obsession in the Ramirez/Hernandez household.
After years boxing in amateurs and now graduating to professional boxing or prizefighting, Ramirez said his boxing style is firmly in place. But what he likes to change is the method of attack or defense.
“Everybody knows the way I fight,” Ramirez says. “I switch up different styles since the amateurs.”
But the fighter known as “the Shrimp” keeps adding weapons to his arsenal.
“A lot of people haven’t seen everything I can do in the gym. I’ll tell my trainer I’m going to do the Philly Cross, or use a peek-a-boo defense, or do the Nacho Beristain with his arm out like Juan Manuel Marquez or Finito Lopez,” Ramirez said. “I know if a fighter fights a certain way; I know how to throw them off their game. I know how to get in their head.”
Ramirez faces Martin, 29, a slick boxer from San Diego who has crossed up several prospects in the past like Chris Avalos. It’s not an easy fight.
“I know he’s a good fighter. I saw him fight Avalos. I saw him against Gary Russell, people with experience. He’s experienced,” Ramirez says.
His manager De La Hoya said that Ramirez is fearless and willing to face anybody.
“Julian will say he wants to fight (Guillermo) Rigondeaux or (Vasyl) Lomachenko. I tell you one thing, I believe the kid. But obviously we have to take it one fight at a time. Martin has the experience and he’s been around. He’s fought great competition,” said De La Hoya.
Competition seems to be what Ramirez thrives on. You can call it family peer pressure.
“He’s young and needs to be challenged. Everyone looks great beating opponents, but he needs to step up and challenge another contender that’s as hungry as he is,” says his uncle, Rudy Hernandez. “I think that will confirm his status. I think he’s that good.”
Coincidently, the Golden Boy stable of fighters in Ramirez’s weight class is filled with numerous prospects eager and young. Eventually he expects to meet them face to face in the boxing ring.
“At Belasco I go to all the fights. I still watch everybody. I know all these guys. I’ve already seen them since amateurs. It’s nothing new to me,” said Ramirez about possibly confronting stable mates in the near future.
De La Hoya believes Ramirez has the aptitude to deal with the bottleneck of fighters Golden Boy has in his weight class.
“Julian, he’s a more cerebral type of fighter,” De La Hoya says.
Ramirez returns to the Belasco Theater, a fight venue that has mushroomed in popularity and become the hottest spot to watch boxing in the L.A. area.
“Yeah I like it. I like watching the fights there, L.A. boxing is getting hot because of fights at the Belasco,” Ramirez says. “Everyone is falling in love with the Belasco. It’s fun. Except, the only thing is they don’t have nachos to eat. That’s the only thing missing.”