Jose Ramirez’s first fight in The Bubble didn’t come easy for him.
Ramirez’s aggression and stronger punching overcame a tough and jab-heavy Viktor Postol securing a win in Las Vegas. Ramirez scored a majority decision win over Postol (114-114, 115-113, 116-112) to retain the WBC and WBO junior welterweight titles in the main event of a Top Rank card that streamed on ESPN+.
Early on, Postol’s jab and length gave Ramirez plenty of trouble and Ramirez struggled at times to close off the ring. Despite this, Ramirez was able to land clean left-hand shots and some of them hurt Postol. One instance came in the seventh round when Postol was staggered in the corner after a Ramirez left hook. The former world champion did come alive late in the fight, utilizing his jab and footwork to keep Ramirez from attacking the body. However, it wasn’t enough to close the distance between the two of them on the scorecards.
This was Ramirez’s first fight in 13 months and first as a unified champion. The fight was supposed to take place on two previous dates, but were each postponed due to COVID-19. With Postol out of the way, Ramirez can now focus on his next goal, which is becoming the sport’s next undisputed champion.
Of course, Ramirez owns one-half of the undisputed junior welterweight puzzle while Josh Taylor (WBA/IBF champion) holds the other half. Top Rank promotes both guys and it’s no secret that the end game is to create the first undisputed champion at 140 pounds since Terence Crawford did so in 2017.
Taylor still has to defend his title against IBF mandatory challenger Apinun Khongsong on September 26. If Taylor is victorious, the road to undisputed becomes a lot more clear. There is the matter of Ramirez’s WBO mandatory in Jack Catterall. The unbeaten Catterall has been waiting in the wings for months and will look to get that fight against Ramirez as soon as possible.
The WBO will likely order Ramirez to fight Catterall, which makes a fight against Taylor hard to make next. Boxing in the United States and United Kingdom is still holding shows with no fans thanks to the pandemic. A fight between Ramirez and Catterall might be worth exploring right now and wait until fans are allowed to attend events in order to maximize the spectacle of an undisputed title fight. In a post-fight interview, Ramirez said he is willing to come to the United Kingdom to fight Taylor if it meant having fans in attendance. However, a fight between the two champions is still very much alive and possible to do next.
But the winner of a potential matchup between Ramirez and Taylor doesn’t just become the undisputed champion; he becomes a potential opponent for Crawford, the current WBO welterweight champion, who Top Rank also promotes. As the majority of the welterweight division’s top stars are with PBC, it’s easier for Top Rank to give Crawford a match against the 140-pound division’s top dog.
Regardless of what’s next for Ramirez, he’s in a good spot to have multiple mega fights down the road. That’s assuming the pandemic doesn’t become a roadblock too big that would prevent him from securing those big bouts.