By the third round of the ShoBox main event at Ballys in Atlantic City on Friday evening I was shaking my head, trying to figure out exactly how Rico Ramos, the Rico Ramos I saw in action against Alejandro Valdez, had managed to climb to No. 1 in the WBA rankings at 122 pounds. By the seventh, I was truly mystified: was this an off night for Ramos, or did Valdez have some mystical power as a spoiler that I was too dense to pick up on? Or, perhaps, did Ramos employ some DC lobbyists to make his case, to so impress the WBA? Regardless, while I still haven't solved the mystery of Ramos' lofty rating, he did exit the ring the victor, by scores of 97-93, 97-93 and 98-92.
Ramos (age 23; 18-0 entering; from LA ) was 122 1/2, while Valdez (from Mexico; 24-4-2 with 18 KOs entering) was 122 1/2 pounds at the Thursday weigh in.
Valdez early on pressed the issue. He looked to be first, and told the judges he was there to get the W. Ramos perked up to start the third. A lead right snapped back the head of Valdez, and made the crowd exhale in excitement. Ramos missed in a big way in the third. Was he trying too hard to land the home run? Ramos' quicker hands, and accuracy edge was apparent in round five.
After round six, Valdez' trainer said, "You know how dogs are? Fight like a dog!" He took that to heart, somewhat, attacking Ramos with increased fervor to start the seventh.
All in the rhythm of this one wasn't stellar. There were too many clinches, too often. Ramos needed to keep his hands moving, keep his feet moving, refuse to allow Valdez to tie him up. Would one of the men step it up, get into a flow and pull away?
Not so much. Ramos got busier at times down the stretch, and especially in the tenth, before a clash of heads stopped the action. He composed himself, and got back to work, throwing punches in bunches, looking to at least end things on an up note on a flat night.
Super middleweight Don George (from Chicago), coming off a TD loss to Francisco Sierra last July, dropped a hammer fist right on Cornelius White (from Houston) in the first round of the ShoBox TV opener. White arose from that knockdown, but went down again from a right hand in close with 1:20 remaining in the first. George swarmed him like an angry batch of bees, forcing Randy Neumann to step in to halt the drubbing at 2:02. White, who'd been elevated via special effects, drops to 16-1.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV