Rico Ramos' fight against Oscar Gonzalez was an opportunity for the Los Angeles boxer to prove that his recent losses were a fluke and to put himself in the position for bigger future fights, perhaps against a fighter like Nonito Donaire.
Instead, Ramos lost to Gonzalez by an overwhelming unanimous decision in a fight in which he looked tired and overly cautious.
With the exception of a brief flurry of activity in the fifth round, the first six rounds of the fight were largely uneventful until a nice combo ending with a left hook from Gonzalez sent Ramos to the mat late in the sixth. Ramos, who had been content to let Gonzalez be the aggressor earlier in the fight, began pursuing Gonzalez with greater aggression in the seventh, but was not able to put together enough to slow his opponent.
The fight came alive in the seventh with a long exchange of punches halfway through the round, and Gonzalez earned a slight edge over Ramos in most of the middle rounds. Ramos failed to capitalize on several counterpunching opportunities, instead darting in for brief combos before jumping back out into his defensive movements.
By the fight's end, Ramos was clearly exhausted and resorted to coming in close and tangling himself with Gonzalez, seemingly focused on avoiding a knockout. At the final bell, Gonzalez immediately jumped onto the ropes to celebrate, while Ramos walked to his corner frustrated and without even pretending to believe himself victorious.
Rico Ramos came to tonight's fight after losing his undefeated record in January 2012 with a loss to the emerging Cuban star Guillermo Rigondeaux, his first loss in 21 career professional fights, and taking another loss in January of this year to Ronny Rios.
The 25-year-old Ramos almost certainly would have faced a higher-ranked opponent than Gonzalez had he defeated Rigondeaux, who will fight Nonito Donaire on April 13. Ramos is the former WBA super bantamweight champion, a belt he won with his victory over Akifumi Shimoda in Atlantic City.
Ramos represented the biggest fight yet in Gonzalez's career. Gonzalez came into the fight with a 20-2 record and had yet to face a fighter of Ramos' caliber. Like Ramos, Gonzalez had lost his most recent fight, a loss to Raul Hirales by unanimous decision. His victory over Ramos should earn him consideration for future fights against the premier fighters in the weight class.
The 10-round fight was held at the Little Creek Casino in Shelton, Wash. and was broadcast on ESPN's Friday Night Fights series.