Jose Luis Ramirez
The rap on Ramirez was that he was a bit slow and ponderous, but if that's true, what does it say about the 82 opponents he KO'd?
Record: His boxing record is an "old school" 102-9 with 82 KOs and his KO percentage a great 74%.
Level of Opposition: Outstanding It included many former champions and Hall of Fame inductees. He fought such notables as Pernell Whittaker and Edwin Rosario each twice, Ruben Olivares, Hector Camacho, 26-0 at the time, Terrance Alli, Charlie "Choo Choo" Brown (who had taken the IBF Lightweight Title in 1984 from Melvin Paul), Julio Cesar Chavez, AND Cornelius Boza Edwards. He also did battle with Juan Martin Coggi, Vicente Saldivar, Aurelio Muniz, Irish Frankie Crawford, Jose Torres, Manuel Hernandez, Bostonian John Rafuse) and Dominican Cocoa Sanchez (who had whipped Jerome Artis and Rocky Ramon). To his great credit, he had a penchant for going into his opponent's home town to fight.
Chronology: He resided in Culiacan, the same Mexican town that gave us Julio Cesar Chavez. They would later become gym mates and close friends.
Ramirez won 43 of his first 44 professional fights in Huatabampo or Ciudad Obregon, Mexico. He fought under the radar and was underrated, but who climb steadilyup the boxing ladder and rankings and become a two- time world Lightweight champion. Moving from featherweight to lightweight (after having lost to the great Ruben Olivares, 82-9-1), he met another legend in Alexis Arguello, 69-5 at the time, and managed to deck him in round six, but lost a razor thin ten round split decision in Miami. He then faced Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini for the North American Lightweight belt, and lost a 12 round decision in Warren Ohio near Rayâ€˜s hometown.
In May 1983, Jose Luis fought heavy handed Edwin "El Chapo" Rosario for the world Lightweight championship at the Coliseo Roberto Clemente in San Juan Puerto Rico. He lost a 12 round unanimous but close decision with each card reading 113-115 against him. In 1984 in a rematch also in San Juan, he took it out of the judges' hands by stopping Rosario, 24-0, in four rounds. Ramirez launched an all-out attack and trapped "El Chapo" on the ropes giving the referee no alternative but to stop the action. The Mexican had landed 17 straight heavy punches. He was now a World Lightweight champion for the first time after having fought many great fighters in their own back yards and in many different countries.
After losing a televised fight to Hector Camacho in 1985, the culturally intellectual Ramirez moved to Paris for two years to get his bearings. While there, he went 12-0 with 7 wins coming by stoppage. These included impressive nods over former world champions Cornelius Boza Edwards and tough Charlie "Choo Choo" Brown. He also won back the vacant WBC World Championship belt by beating rugged Terrance Alli in St. Tropez, France. Before moving back to Mexico, he beat future Hall of Famer and multiple world champion Pernell Whitaker in a hotly disputed decision that went as follows: Judge Harry Gibbs 113-117, Judge Newton Campos 118-113, and Judge Louis Michel 116-115. Most thought Whitaker had been robbed, but his quick and stylish combinations failed to do much damage or even bother Luis, even those that landed flush. With Pernell always back pedaling and retreating, Ramirez pressed the action, but he could not over power him.
Meanwhile, Chavez had taken the WBA'S championship by beating Rosario, and in a unification bout between the two friends and neighbors, Ramirez, who is a godfather to one of Chavez's sons, lost an 11 round technical decision to Chavez, 62-0 at the time, in October 1988 at the Las Vegas Hilton. When Ramirez, 101-6-0 coming in, was cut on the forehead in a clash of heads, it went to the scorecards. Chavez, who was a 9-1 favorite, said before the fight: "At first I didn't want to take the fight because we are so close, almost like brothers." Chavez was in front by only two points on the scorecards of two of the judges. Judge Rudy Jordan had it 96-94, Judge Lou Tabat 95-93 and Judge Art Lurie 98-91
In 1989, he attempted to win the IBF Belt from Whittaker in Pernell's home town of Norfolk, VA, but lost a 12 round decision. He then lost a 12 rounder to the great Juan Coggi, 43-1-2, for the WBA's world Jr. Welterweight title in Argentina, after which he called it a career. Four of his nine losses had been to Hall of Fame fighters like Alexis Arguello, Ruben Olivares, Edwin Rosario and Pernell Whitaker. He also lost to future Hall of Famer Julio Cesar Chavez, and to Hector Camacho who may also be a future inductee. He was stopped only once in 111 fights. Jose Luis Ramirez was all about fighting tough hombres with gaudy old school records.
Ramirez is a member of the less recognized World Boxing Hall of Fame and undoubtedly will also be inducted into the Latino Boxing Museum and Hall of Fame in Cumana, Venezuela, but he has not been inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, NY.
This article is not a case for his induction; it simply is a show of respect to a great fighter who fought in the rich tradition of other great Mexican warriors. Hombres like Chavez, Olivares, Carlos Zarate, Ricardo Lopez, Marco Antonio Barrera, Vicente Saldivar, Kid Azteca, Jose Becerra, Humberto "Chiquita' Gonzalez, Pipino Cuevas, Salvador Sanchez, Miguel Canto, Lupe Pintor, Erik Morales, Guadalupe Pintor, Jose Medel, Rodolfo "Gato" Gonzalez, Raul Macias, Mando Muniz, Alfonso Zamora, Juan Manuel Marquez, Chango Carmona and many others.
"To be a Mexican fighter you first have to be a warrior.' Marco Antonio Barrera