Jose Ramirez rejects Regis Prograi’s WBC 140-lb title shot

Of Dan Ambrose: Jose Ramirez has opted to decline a title shot against WBC light welterweight champion Regis Prograis due to his reported dissatisfaction with the 65/35 purse he would receive for the fight, according to ESPN’s Mike Coppinger. Instead of that split, Ramirez (27-1, 17 KOs) wanted a 50/50 split as challenger.

Ramirez he says “hope to make the match happen in the future” with Prograis (28-1, 24 KO).

Declining the match is one good way for Ramirez to avoid a loss to Prograis because the way he’s looked recently, he wouldn’t stand a chance against the newly crowned WBC champion.

Ramirez lost to Josh Taylor last year, and in 2020 he narrowly beat Viktor Postol. The year before that, Ramirez won a highly controversial 12-round majority decision Jose Zepeda.

For the fans watching the game, they felt that Zepeda was robbed. You could argue that Ramirez’s record in his last five games should be 2-3. With Ramirez performing since 2019, the last thing he needs is to fight a talent like Prograis. That guy can finish what’s left of Ramirez’s declining career because he sees above the hill.

On social media, Ramirez is being raked over the coals by boxing fans, who see this as a 100% duck on his part by turning down a title shot. Instead of fighting Prograis, Ramirez could end up fighting 35-year-old former IBF lightweight champion Richard Commey, who has a 2-2-1 record in his last five fights.

For Ramirez’s sake, we hope he doesn’t hold his breath waiting for another chance, because he’s an old 30-year-old, and isn’t getting any better, as we saw in his poor performances in his last two fights against Jose Pedraza and Josh Taylor.

Prograis wanted to fight Ramirez years ago, but was thwarted at every turn, and ended up choosing to fight in a tournament, losing to Scottish fighter Taylor by a very questionable decision in 2019 in London, England. This writer watched that match and had Prograis winning. Interestingly, Taylor never gave Prograis a rematch.

“I am disappointed by that split“, Ramirez told ESPN. “This fight should definitely be a 50-50 [split], and I was OK with taking 10% less, but I can’t fight for free and risk too much of a pay cut. Boxing is a tough sport and we want to make sure we are appreciated.

“This is a big fight [vs. Prograis] which is not properly promoted. Hopefully we can make the fight happen in the future when we are both compensated as we should be.”

You have to wonder what Top Rank is thinking if Ramirez turned down a title shot against Prograis. Will they line up Ramirez to fight for the WBO belt against Josh Taylor? Top Rank also promotes Taylor.

The thing is, if Ramirez challenges for the WBO belt, it will be as a voluntary challenger because he is ranked only #3, behind #1 Teofimo Lopez and #2 Liam Paro.

Teofimo gets the first fall as he fights the winner of the Taylor vs. Jack Catterall. With Ramirez turning down the Prograis fight, Teofimo is the next in the WBC rankings to be offered the fight against Regis, but he is unlikely to take the fight; he will likely walk the path of least resistance against Josh Taylor.

It’s highly unlikely that Teofimo will take the fight against Prograis either, especially considering how Teo looked when he won a controversial 10-round decision over Sandor Martin.

Teofimo has regressed badly as a fighter since his win over Vasyl Lomachenko, and he would have significant problems against Prograis.

Top Rank needs to make a decision on what they want to do with Teofimo because he is going to lose repeatedly if they match him against challengers and have quality referees work his fights.

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