Prograis to fight Lopez, Ramirez pulls out


The WBC super lightweight champion American Regis Prograis (28-1, 24 KOs) will not make his debut defense of the belt with the ex-owner of this belt, compatriot Jose Ramirez (27-1, 17 KOs) – he decided to refuse the fight.

Prograis won the vacant title in November – confidently and brilliantly passed Mexican-American Jose Cepeda. He agreed to the terms of the WBC – he is obliged to hold two mandatory defenses in a row: first with Ramirez, then with the ex-absolute division below the American Teofimo Lopez (18-1, 13 KOs).

Ramirez so
explained his refusal to fight: “Disappointed that the prize fund will be distributed in a ratio of 65/35 not in my favor. I think in this case it should be divided equally. I even agreed to 40%. But no less. After all, otherwise it will mean for me to accept the risk of significantly losing money. I hope our fight will take place later. After all, we all want our fees to match our expectations and skills.”

It turns out that Ramirez will return to the ring on March 25 – in his native Fresno (California, USA) he will fight with ex-world lightweight champion Richard Commey from Ghana.

It was Ramirez who was supposed to fight for the vacant belt with Cepeda, but decided to step aside for a while – he had a wedding in October, he was worried that he would not be able to concentrate on preparation.

35% for a fight with Prograis is very good conditions, because according to WBC rules, the applicant is only entitled to 25%. Top Rank took care of this – the promoter of Ramirez (and Lopez) asked the organization to revise the distribution of fees, and they agreed.

The problem is that Top Rank basically does not deal with Prograis promoter Probellum – that is, the fate of the fight in any case would have to be decided at the auction. Ramirez has two fights left on his contract with the company.

Ramirez’s manager Rick Mirigian doesn’t believe Lopez will accept the fight with Prograis: “Firstly, any other opponent will not bring even half of what Ramirez would bring to this fight. After all, he is a former unified world champion. Secondly, why did you decide that Lopez would agree to fight for 30%? Why did you decide that Top Rank would allow him to fight this fight? It will simply be destroyed. We have already seen that he does not pull on the level of an elite fighter in this weight.”

Meanwhile, Prograis is disappointed with Ramirez’s decision: “For five years I tried to arrange a fight with him. It looks like he’s just scared. After all, why is he refusing to fight now, when I have a belt, but he does not? His wedding? This is not my fault. If he changes his mind, he knows how to find me.”

Do you think Lopez will take the Prograis fight? Related reading: Crawford after Avanesyan and Lopez after Martin: all the most likely rivals.