Jesus Ramos was forced to go the distance for his second straight fight, though far more satisfied with his performance this time around.
A well-rounded effort came of Ramos’ junior middleweight debut, turning away fellow prospect Brian Mendoza en route to a ten-round, unanimous decision victory. Judges Mike Fitzgerald (98-92), Robert Hecko (98-92) and Patrick Morley (98-92) agreed in awarding the bout to Ramos in the PBC on Fox main event Sunday evening live from The Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Ramos looked far more filled out in a junior middleweight uniform, changing his weight and training regimen after being dissatisfied with an otherwise clear-cut win over Javier Molina this past May in Carson, California. The 20-year-old southpaw from Casa Grande, Arizona was poised in the ring against a well-prepared Mendoza.
Mendoza had his moments against one the sport’s brightest young talents, offering a different look for Ramos. Constant movement from the Albuquerque native—who trains out of Ismael Salas’ facility in Las Vegas—proved successful in the early going, though with Ramos showing his usual patience and poise far beyond his youth. Ramos worked primarily behind the jab while trying to pin down the elusive Mendoza, who was effective with his right hand in round two.
Ramos began to work the body in round three, a pivotal moment in an otherwise close fight to that point. Mendoza continued to move way from Ramos’ jab but was also getting caught with straight lefts as reddening and swelling began to develop around his right eye.
Rounds four and five saw Ramos effectively cut off the ring. Mendoza continued to use the exterior of the ring but quickly ran out of real estate as Ramos put more leverage behind his punches, particularly his right hook to the body.
Mendoza was unable to turn the tide as the fight entered the second half. Ramos didn’t allow him any room to move, prompting excessive clinching from Mendoza to the point of being issued a hard warning from referee Mark Nelson.
Ramos carried the action throughout the second half, including a brutally one-sided eighth round. Mendoza was running on fumes as Ramos repeatedly connected with straight left hands. Mendoza continued to clinch, to the point of risking a point deduction as he was getting tattooed with right hooks and body shots.
Mendoza was able to offer enough defense to make Ramos miss with several potential home run shots in round nine. Ramos saw a knockout in his sights but was a bit overzealous in his attack, with Mendoza ducking several looping left hands though not able to offer anything in return.
Salas implored Mendoza to let it all hang out in the tenth and final round, urging his charge to throw his right hand with confidence. Ramos never provided the opportunity for Mendoza, who returned to constant movement in avoiding the first stoppage defeat of his career.
It was instead a lopsided points win for Ramos, who goes the ten-round distance for the second straight time. The rising prospect landed of total punches as he improved to 17-0 (14KOs).
Mendoza—who was of in total punches, according to Compubox—falls to 19-2 (13KOs). The bout was his first in more than a year, having missed out on a June 26 clash versus former unified junior middleweight titlist Julian ‘J-Rock’ Williams who withdrew due to injury.
Ramos will likely remain at junior middleweight moving forward, as their seems little room left for his 5’10” frame to squeeze back down to the welterweight limit.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox