Antonio Orozco faces Jose Ramirez in Fresno
Antonio Orozco goes into the lion’s den tonight, as he faces hometown favorite Jose Ramirez for his WBC junior welterweight title, at the Save Mart Arena in Fresno, California. This means, to be eligible to fight for this belt, Ramirez must weigh a maximum of 140 pounds. For Orozco this isn’t always a given as, last September, he had to abort his fight versus Roberto Ortiz (as the co-feature on HBO) when he failed to make weight. A previous bout was scrapped when he ran into the same problems.
However last week, at a media luncheon in Los Angeles, when asked if he would make the junior welterweight limit, Orozco didn’t hesitate in answering, “Definitely.”
“I’m already there; just a few pounds away and we’re going to be there. We’re going to get a fight,” stated Orozco, assuredly.
OK, by the time you read this, you’ll know he successfully weighed in at 139.25 pounds. That said, if he had to cut off a limb to make 140, he’d do it, given he’s down to his last strike. After last year’s scenario, he went from making a six-figure payday to fighting for a fraction of a fraction of that in his following bout at the Belasco Theater. It’s funny how this game can go. About a year after his meltdown, Orozco is now fighting for a world title on ESPN. He was previously scheduled for a card in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for August 3 on a “Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN” show.
“That’s why I jumped on it. Opportunities like this don’t come very often and this was an opportunity that I wasn’t going to let go and I know what’s at stake here. So the weight is the last of my worries,” said Orozco, 27-0 (17). As Ramirez and Top Rank looked for a dance partner on this date, Orozco’s manager Frank Espinoza did two things: First he pressed Golden Boy Promotions to remove his client from the August card and then, as the fight was made, he hired the respected Gavin MacMillan to help guide Orozco for this camp.
“What happened last year was very embarrassing to everyone involved and it really hurt Antonio’s career, so I felt as though we needed to take this step,” Espinoza explained to UCNLive.com last week. “We think Antonio has a great shot here to do something big and it was our responsibility to make sure he gets the best out of himself. I really pushed for this fight because I know what type of opportunity this but there was pressure on all of us to make sure he made weight.”
Espinoza said on Thursday morning, a few hours before the weigh-in, “Gavin has done a great job; Antonio’s on weight. We have no worries.”
So how has this training camp gone?
Orozco says, “It has been horrible, so much work, so much anticipation. The work has just been immense. It’s turned into a camp where we’re going to be ready. It hasn’t been an easy camp. It’s been work and work and I say ‘horrible’ because of the amount of work we’ve put in.” He’ll have to be in peak physical condition, given that Ramirez is a high-volume, pressure fighter who will constantly be throwing leather at a high rate. This suits Orozco just fine. These two may go together stylistically like peanut butter and jelly. “That’s what it is. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a dull fight; I don’t think he’s ever been in a dull fight. These are styles where we’re going to come in and we’re going to clash.”
Simply put, it’s a fight.
“That’s what we’re looking for. That’s what boxing fans are looking for and it’s going to leave something to talk about at the end of the night,” said Orozco.
You’ll hear from both Ramirez and Orozco on this week’s edition of “The 3 Knockdown Rule,” with Mario Lopez and me. Abel Sanchez and Oscar De La Hoya also chime in on the big rematch this weekend between WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin and Saul Alvarez:
Steve Kim can be reached at email@example.com and he tweets (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. He also shares photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.