Photos / Quotes: Jose Ramirez vs. Jose Pedraza

Jose Ramirez and Jose Pedraza understand the stakes. The junior welterweights know that the winner of Friday night’s 12-round main event at Fresno’s Save Mart Center will likely receive a world title shot next. Ramirez (26-1, 17 KOs) is a former unified world champion seeking to return to the division’s apex.

The journey back begins in the venue where he routinely packs crowds of more than 12,000 fans. Ramirez hails from the farming community of Avenal, about an hour’s drive from Fresno.

(Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images)

Pedraza (29-3, 14 KOs), from Cidra, Puerto Rico, is a two-weight world champion with hopes of conquering a third weight class. He has won three straight boots since losing a decision in his junior welterweight debut to Jose Zepeda.

The entire Ramirez-Pedraza card will stream and exclusively on ESPN+ starting at 7:15 pm ET/4:15 pm PT.

Ramirez vs. Pedraza headlines a stacked card that includes featherweight contender Joet Gonzalez (24-2, 14 KOs) against Jeo Santisima (21-3, 18 KOs) in a 10-rounder, the six-round heavyweight professional debut of US Olympic silver medalist Richard Torrez Jr. versus Allen Melson (6-3, 3 KOs), Gabriel Flores Jr. (20-1, 7 KOs) coming back in a 10-round junior lightweight matchup against Abraham Montoya (20-2-1, 14 KOs), and rising junior lightweight Karlos Balderas (11-1, 10 KOs) in a six- rounder versus Aelio Mesquita (20-6-1, 18 KOs)

This is what the fighters had to say at Wednesday’s press conference.

Jose Ramirez

“My goal is to stay at the highest level of competition. My goal is to become a world champion again. You have to fight the best to be ready for those fights. I don’t want any easy fights. I don’t want to be fighting fights that are going to be tuneup fights.”

“That’s the only thing I’ve been thinking about throughout the whole training camp, pushing myself to learn from my mistakes and become a world champion again. I feel hungry. I feel like the Jose Ramirez that got his opportunity in 2018 and became world champion for the first time. I just want it back. I want to go out there and perform my best and to showcase my talent in front of all the fans. It means a lot. I’m looking forward to it.”

“I think every fighter can relate to this. After a great loss, we get to see who stays and who left, and it shows that after taking that first loss you actually get a better team together because those left were probably not helping you at all. So those that stay with you are the ones showing loyalty and believing in you.”

“I was able to train with no pressure. I was able to train and be myself. The biggest thing that I learned from myself when I faced Josh Taylor is that the only person that can defeat me is my own self. I feel like that’s a fight that I lost. I don’t believe he beat me because he’s the better fighter. That fight I lost because I wasn’t at my best, mentally and physically. I learned to accept it, and I want to earn the shot at the titles with my actions. I hope to show the best of my abilities on Friday.”

“For me to just kind of open up the door for these fighters is quite an honor, and I’m grateful yet humble to be here and continue fighting at this level.”

Jose Pedraza

“I definitely recovered a hundred percent {from COVID}. If that wasn’t the case you wouldn’t be seeing me facing Jose Ramirez in this great fight.”

Gabriel Flores Jr, Joet Gonzalez, Jose Pedraza, Jose Ramirez, Richard Torrez Jr.  boxing image / photo

“It would mean a lot becoming champion for a third time. It would put my name along with the legends of Puerto Rico, and it would mean lot for the island, too.”

On fighting in enemy territory
“I’m used to it by now. These are things that happen in boxing. I only believe in the hard work and the training that I did and in my ability.”

Joet Gonzalez

“There’s definitely another title shot {in my future}”. I work hard, and I see myself as one of the {top featherweights}. I fought Navarrete. I fought Stevenson. Top fighters. They’re not just no regular champions.

“I put on a great performance in my last fight, came up a little short. I’m ready to get back in there against the best.”

Jeo Santisima

“This is a great opportunity for me to fight on a Top Rank card against a fighter like Joet Gonzalez.”

“It was a big opportunity to fight Navarrete {for the WBO junior featherweight title in February 2020} the last time and big respect to Navarrete for that fight.”

Richard Torrez Jr.

“I can’t wait for my town and my community. They’ve been so behind me from the Olympics and going forward. I really can’t wait to show them what I got.”

“I feel like not only kicking down all the doors necessary for me to be here today…. Jose Ramirez, you showed me not only how to be a boxer, but to be a role model.

“That’s who I want to be like, too. You’re a legend in these parts and I just want to say thank you for that, for kicking down these doors.”

“I’m ready. I want to show the world that I’m ready. I want to show the world what Richard Torrez has to offer.”

Gabriel Flores Jr.

“I’m excited for Friday night to just be me. Go in there and be myself, as funny as it may sound. I’m excited to be me but to be a hundred percent in there and to do the game plan, do what I’m best at.”

“I can go through anything. My back against the wall, I still fight. At the end of the day, that’s who I am, a fighter.”

Karlos Balderas

“When I took that loss in 2019, a lot of people pushed me to the side or brushed me under the rug because they knew the type of the talent I had, the type of fighter I am. They knew that the king was coming.”
“2022 is my year to go up. It’s my year to become a title contender.”

Friday, March 4
LIVE & Exclusively on ESPN+
7:15 pm ET/4:15 pm PT

  • Jose Ramirez vs. Jose Pedraza, 12 rounds, Vacant WBO International Junior Welterweight Title
  • Richard Torrez Jr. vs. Allen Melson, 6 rounds, heavyweight
  • Joet Gonzalez vs. Jeo Santisima, 10 rounds, featherweight
  • Gabriel Flores Jr. vs. Abraham Montoya, 10 rounds, junior lightweight
  • Hector Tanajara vs. Miguel Contreras, 8 rounds, lightweight
  • Karlos Balderas vs. Karlos Balderas Aelio Mesquita, 6 rounds, junior lightweight
  • Javier Martinez vs. Donte Stubbs, 6 rounds, middleweight
  • Charlie Sheehy vs. Johnny Bernal, 4 rounds, lightweight
  • Antonio Mireles vs. Brandon Hughes, 4 rounds, heavyweight

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