Jeremy Ramos has long ago become accustomed to fighting on the shows where his promoter called all of the shots. This type of experience came well into play in his upset win over Jamar Freeman, shocking the regional favorite in a six-round unanimous decision victory Thursday evening at Durham Armory in Durham, North Carolina.
Scores were 59-55 (twice) and 58-56 in favor of Ramos (10-5, 4KOs) , who'd entered having suffered four straight losses but is always prepared to go rounds.
In other words, he's exactly the type of boxer that fits the mold of those who put together the fights while never in search of traditional "B-side" opponents.
"You can't justify the price we charge for tickets, only for fans to be able to look at a bout sheet and know that the blue corner will automatically beat the red corner," Hall of Fame J Russell Peltz has famously quipped ahead of just about any show in which he's served as either promoter or matchmaker.
The Philly-based boxing guru was granted his wish in his second show as matchmaker and adviser to upstart local promotional outfit Top Catz Boxing. The company's first show this past February featured a lot of compromising at the negotiating table and resulting in a night of mismatches that left Peltz and marketing specialist Michelle "Raging Babe" to fall on the sword and take the blame for not immediately delivering on Top Catz' promise to change the way boxing is conducted in North Carolina.
This time around, the duo made good on its word and their efforts were felt throughout the community. A near sold-out crowd was on hand for the event, with lines wrapped around the building and beyond to get a glimpse of Wilson's own Freeman (15-6-2, 8KOs) in action. The veteran middleweight topped the February 4 show in his hometown, but in accepting Miguel Queliz as a last minute opponent was left with a 95-second knockout win in which he learned absolutely nothing about what he has left to offer the sport.
He found out the hard way on Thursday. Ramos never backed down, even with the backdrop of a partisan crowd passionately cheering on the perceived house fighter. Freeman has been in tough with the likes of Julian "J-Rock" Williams, Caleb Plant, Sammy Vasquez, Samuel Rogers and DeCarlo Perez, but has managed to shine in every fight he was meant to win.
The latter part is perhaps a systemic issue with boxing. Freeman entered the night 9-0 in his home state of North Carolina, but with all coming against soft opposition on cards where even the most daring sportsbooks wouldn't bother offering betting odds. He is no longer unbeaten at home, as Ramos - a 30-year old battle tested journeyman from Colorado by way of Puerto Rico - earned his warrior's stripes, to where they couldn't possibly deny him a victory regardless of how it would resonate with a packed-to-the-walls crowd that was presented far more action than was the case in Top Catz' promotional debut earlier this year.
Whereas the February 4 show featured 10 fights that lasted all of 14 combined rounds, Thursday's show gave far more bang for the buck. In addition to the upset in the main event, locally-bred prospects Marklin Bailey and Donnie Marshall were forced to bite down harder than is almost always the case for "house fighters" in this corner of the world. As a result, both were able to entertain the fans rather than come in and leave in the span of your average TV commercial.
Bailey (4-0, 3KOs) was forced to go the distance for the first time in his young career, but the Durham-bred lightweight shone in a four-round decision over Vinnie Deniero (1-1, 1KO), Scores were 40-36 across the board for the 22-year old Bailey, who leaves his home state for the first time in his young career in his next fight as he resurfaces on Peltz' show June 2 at 2300 Arena in Philadelphia.
Raleigh's Marshall (4-0, 3KOs) also went to the scorecards for the first time as a pro, as he claimed a four-round unanimous decision victory over Carltavius Jones Johnson (1-1, 0KOs). Scores were 40-35 on all three cards.
Six of the seven preliminary bouts ended in knockout, but none of the matches were grossly lopsided on paper and the evening as a whole proved to be worth the investment for those whose brands were featured in programming, on banners or even on a fight menu that included chicken and waffles.
"It was extremely satisfying any time your sponsors thank you for a wonderful evening of good fights and a great atmosphere," Rosado told FightNights.com. "It makes all of the hard work worthwhile.
"There is nothing like good fights to make a bright future for North Carolina. I am honored to be part of the movement."
It remains to be seen how much progress will be made moving forward. Top Catz remains the promoter of record, but still has its work cut out in terms of not only creating a presence, but also putting something behind its words of big changes in a pocket of the country historically infamous as a dumping ground for managers and promoters in search of a record-padding win for its boxers.
That's not going to happen on Peltz' watch, as evidenced in Thursday's show that saw favorable crowd reaction throughout and a main event that featured a convincing enough upset to where the judges were left with no choice but to get it right.
"The place looked like the Blue Horizon and the three featured fights belonged in the Blue Horizon," said Peltz, paying tribute to the legendary Philly venue he helped long ago transform into a boxing cathedral. "I was very impressed with the three judges who stood up and voted with their heads and not with their hearts."