The 12-round match for the vacant WBC 140-pound title between Jose Carlos Ramirez and Amir Imam was talked-about as a 50/50 fight, but the online bookmakers weren’t fooled. Ramirez, the 2012 Olympian from dusty Avenal, California, was a consensus 11/2 favorite and brought home the bacon, scoring a unanimous decision. There was a wide disparity in the scorecards. One judge had Ramirez pitching a shutout. The others favored him by margins of 9-3 and 7-5. There were no knockdowns, but Imam’s right eye was nearly closed when the match was finished.
Ramirez, who had Freddie Roach in his corner, improved to 22-0. Imam, from Albany, New York, suffered his second loss in 23 tries. As for what’s next for Ramirez, his weight class is bursting with young talent and he has several options, but it appears that Regis Prograis will get the first crack at his newly-won title. Prograis would be favored in a match that would attract a lot of buzz.
In a fight that wasn’t expected to go the distance, Oleksandr Gvozdyk was extended the full 12 by rugged Mehdi Amar who wasn’t intimidated by Gvozdyk’s hype and rarely took a backward step. Gvozdyk, who improved to 15-0, dominated the punch stats, but the 35-year-old Amar (34-6-2) can return to his home in Marseille, France, with his head held high. The scores were 118-110, 117-111, and 116-112.
There was a major upset on the non-TV portion of the card when Antonio Lozada scored a 10th round stoppage of previously undefeated Felix Verdejo. A 2012 Olympian for Puerto Rico, San Juan’s Verdejo, a lightweight, was once considered the heir-apparent to Felix Trinidad as an object of affection in his home country. Making his first start in 13 months, Verdejo (23-1) got all he could handle and more from Tijuana’s Lozada (39-3, 33 KOs) who was making his U.S. debut.
Lozada pressed the action throughout. A left hook to the jaw followed by an overhand right sent Verdejo to the canvas in the 10th. He beat the count, but an ensuing barrage led the ring physician to determine that he had seen enough and he ordered referee Eddie Claudio to stop the fight.
Heading into the 10th, Verdejo was ahead on two cards (87-84 and 86-85) and trailed 86-85 on the other. Had he avoided Lozada’s heavy artillery and managed to stay upright in the final round, the match would have theoretically ended in a draw. When the fight was halted with only 23 seconds remaining, Verdejo’s cornerman Tommy Gallagher flew into a rage.
This being St. Patrick’s Day, Irish Michael Conlan was accorded the privilege of going last. The former two-time Olympian didn’t disappoint. In an 8-round featherweight match, Conlan had his Hungarian opponent David Berna on the canvas twice with body punches before the match was stopped in the second round. Berna brought a 15-2 record with 14 KOs, but like many Hungarian fighters today his record was carefully manufactured for the purpose of attracting a better price for him when a promoter in a foreign land required the services of a sacrificial lamb.
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