Josh Taylor opponent Jose Ramirez is humble, respectful and steers clear of trash talk
A boxing ring just doesn't fit the narrative that Jose Ramirez portrays – humble, respectful of life, a family man who is a fervent follower of his faith. Frankly, he's the polar opposite to some of the trash talk served up to fight fans these days.
But scratch away at the surface, it becomes clear as day just why this Mexican-American has racked up 26 consecutive victories and now stands on the brink of immortality in the super lightweight division.
Should the 28-year-old WBC and WBO champion prevail at the Virgin Hotels Resort in Las Vegas on Saturday night against Scotland's IBF and WBA king Josh Taylor Ramirez will have exceeded all expectations of a young boy who spent his early childhood in poverty-stricken Michoacan, in Mexico.
"This win will bring a lot of pride to all the hard-working immigrants in the United States, as I am a proud immigrant myself," said Ramirez, who later relocated to Central Valley in the States with his family in pursuit of a better life. "I feel very proud of the blood that runs to my veins, my family name and everything that we represent. When I first started boxing, little did I know what the sport could do for me.
"My parents were always big on education and wanted to make sure we didn't suffer like they did growing up. I'm very grateful to my father for how he always put us first. I'm happy now to be in a position where I can give back to my family and I am very fortunate for that.
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"I've been preparing for this fight all my life since I was eight-years old. First and foremost, I've always respected the sport – I'm a very dedicated person. I also respect everyone who participates in boxing, including all my opponents. I'm happy to see that Josh Taylor has the support he does in the UK and so he should. We go through a lot and sacrifice so much and put our lives on the line to entertain. So, the least we can expect is some support.
"I'll push myself and find a way to win and it will be a beautiful moment. I feel very blessed and honoured to be part of such a big event as this one. As the days have gone by, my desire to keep getting better and win has just grown."
Despite having boxed and registered nine more wins as a professional than his opponent from Prestonpans, it is Taylor who is tipped within the boxing fraternity to come out on top in the state of Nevada.
"I'm not really sure why this is," Ramirez said. "I've never been a big fan of opinions and who people think is the better fighter between one or the other. When you look back when boxing was more alive in the 60s, everyone faced each other and one would beat the other guy and some styles were more complicated than the other.
"So, in boxing I think people have forgotten that and they don't understand that in this sport every fight at this level is going to be tough. I always train as the underdog and as if it's the most important fight and one I cannot afford to lose. I always find a way to win, I'm very composed so I'm not paying too much attention to it, I never have. I feel honoured to be fighting such a great fighter in Josh Taylor and he is going to bring the best out of me."
Ramirez's unconvincing victory over Jose Zepeda in February 2019, another tricky southpaw and who is on the undercard this weekend, has cast some doubt over Ramirez's credentials given Taylor's ability to blast his opponents away.
He said: "Look Zepeda is a very crafty southpaw and he was almost careless in a way when we fought. I myself like to fight low sometimes but listen, I've fought many southpaws in my career, both as an amateur and a professional, but him and Taylor are completely different fighters.
"I'm not saying he is a better fighter than Taylor but his style was a bit more difficult. But once I got my punches together, I was able to take him to the ropes, take advantage and finish strong. Taylor is taller and is more of an in-and-out boxer so he can let his punches go when he's fighting in the inside.
"But this is a fight and a win that will bring a lot of glory to me and my family. It will make the first fighter of Mexican descent to become undisputed world champion in the history of boxing so this is my moment as well. This will open up the doors for the Hall of Fame for me in the future and would put me in the books as one of the best to ever pull on the boxing gloves."
Ramirez v Taylor will stream live and exclusively in the UK on FITE for £9.99. Live coverage begins at 1.30am on Sunday, with the main event expected to start at approximately 4am.
Our coverage of Josh Taylor's undisputed world title fight is proudly brought to you in association with WOW Hydrate, www.wowhydrate.com