IN no other form of public entertainment can we close the curtain on a show without the slightest hint that it would end abruptly. And what makes it even more special is that no one seems to mind.
Such is the uniqueness of boxing, making it a sport like no other in that it takes only one highlight moment to produce a star. That star is Avenal’s Jose Ramirez, who successfully defended his WBC super-lightweight title while scooping up Maurice Hooker’s WBO belt by spectacular stoppage at 1-48 of the sixth round at College Park Center (Matchroom promoted).
Ramirez now awaits the winner of the Josh Taylor-Regis Prograis clash to produce a unified champion within the division.
The conclusive nature of Ramirez’s triumph should make all controversy irrelevant, but a small shred existed even in the aftermath over the knockdown call on Hooker that referee Mark Nelson made in the opening round. The replay conclusively showed that Ramirez had stepped on his opponent’s foot while landing a jab.
“That was no knockdown,” Ramirez admitted afterward. Hooker quickly got up and pleaded his case, but the trip to the canvas put him at an early deficit, which had to have weighed on his mind.
Curiously, Hooker lay on the ropes in the second round trying to get Ramirez to punch himself out. But by the third urgency had set in and Hooker was more willing to engage. The pace was fast, the crowd in a frenzy. There was Hispanic support for Ramirez but Hooker, from nearby Dallas, had most in attendance behind him.
The intensity level increased with each successive round. Ramirez relentlessly threw left hooks to the body, Hooker countering with big blows over the top. It was Ramirez, then Hooker, and so forth entering the sixth as each kept seizing the advantage from the other. It was high drama – and you had no idea how it was going to play out.
Midway through the round, Ramirez connected with a left hook. Hooker looked temporarily distressed and backed up. Ramirez pounced, forcing Hooker to the ropes and unloading a devastating combination with blinding speed. Some of the blows were blocked, but the ones that connected landed flush.
As Nelson threw himself between the fighters to stop it, Ramirez’s final blow connected, a straight right that violently snapped Hooker’s head back. Nelson is to be commended for the timing of the stoppage.
“I’m ready for anyone now,” said Ramirez. “Maurice Hooker is a smart fighter. He landed some good shots, but they were not his best.”
Unlike Ramirez, it is unclear where Hooker goes from here. “I lost focus for a quick second and you saw what happened,” he glumly stated, understanding the repercussions of the loss.
At the time of the stoppage judge Jesse Reyes had it 47-47, but Ramon Cerda at 49-45 and Juan Carlos Pelayo at 48-46 both had Ramirez in front.
Tevin Farmer might be the closest thing we currently have to an old-school fighter as far as keeping busy is concerned. Defending his IBF super-featherweight title, Farmer had his fifth championship contest in the span of a year, successfully turning back the challenge of France’s Guillaume Frenois.
Farmer, from Philadelphia, dominated over the first 10 rounds, fighting in a style resembling that of Pernell Whitaker, whose name was stitched on his trunks. At various points Farmer increased the tempo and landed big punches trying to force a stoppage, but when he saw it was not forthcoming he coasted over the last two rounds.
This enabled Frenois to do his best work of the fight and is the only plausible reason why the crowd could have so loudly booed the decision. Judges Javier Alvarez and Daniel Sandoval both had it 116-111, Ellis Johnson 119-108. Mark Calo-oy refereed.
Joey Dawejko, who recently served as a sparring partner for Anthony Joshua, won a unanimous 10-round decision over Californian Rodney Hernandez.
Two years ago they had boxed to a draw. It appeared it might be headed to a similar result, but the Philadelphian had a big last round to pull it out on the scorecards of judges Don Griffin and Rafael Ramos, both 96-94, and Michael Mitchell by 98-92. Laurence Cole refereed.
The Verdict Ramirez versus the Prograis-Taylor winner looks another surefire barnburner at 140lbs.
Jose Ramirez (139 1/2lbs), 25-0 (17), w rsf 6 Maurice Hooker (139 1/2lbs), 26-1-3 (17); Tevin Farmer (130lbs), 30-4-1 (6), w pts 12 Guillaume Frenois (129 1/2lbs), 46-2-1 (12); Tramaine Williams (122lbs), 19-0 (6), w pts 10 Yenifel Vicente (122lbs), 35-4-2 (27); Joey Dawejko (261lbs), 20-7-4 (11), w pts 10 Rodney Hernandez (251lbs), 13-8-2 (4); Nikita Ababiy (160lbs), 6-0 (5), w pts 6 Yunier Calzada (160lbs), 6-6-1 (1); Austin Williams (160lbs), 3-0 (3), w rsf 1 Jabrandon Harris (164lbs), 0-3; Artur Biyarslanov(140lbs), 4-0 (4), w rsf 3 Solon Staley (140lbs), 1-4; Darius Bagley (159 1/2lbs), 1-0, w pts 4 Carlos Dixon (166 1/2lbs), 1-14-1 (1); Francisco Javier Martinez (133lbs), 6-0 (3), w pts 4 Michael Land (130 1/2lbs), 1-1.