Jose Ramirez in Final Talks to Fight Arnold Barboza Jr. in September

Jose Ramirez is locking up his next opponent…

The 31-year-old Mexican American professional boxer is finalizing a deal to fight with Arnold Barboza Jr. for a junior welterweight fight on September 28 in Las Vegas, per ESPN sources.

Jose Ramirez, Oscar De La Hoya‘s Golden Boy Promotions, which recently signed both fighters after they parted ways with Top Rank, will stage the fight as a DAZN main event.

Ramirez, a former unified champion at 140 pounds, made his Golden Boy debut in April with a near shutout decision win over Rances Barthelemy. Ramirez’s past three fights have taken place in his native Fresno, California.

His one pro defeat was a close decision loss to Josh Taylor in a May 2021 undisputed championship fight. Ramirez (29-1, 18 KOs) is ESPN‘s No. 6 junior welterweight.

Barboza (30-0, 11 KOs) is coming off a controversial split decision victory over major underdog Sean McComb in April.

The 32-year-old from Los Angeles has never challenged for a world title but was a staple of ESPN‘s junior welterweight rankings before his last performance.

Teofimo Lopez Earns Unanimous Decision Win Over Steve Claggett to Retain WBO Junior Welterweight Title

Teofimo Lopez has retained his title…

The 26-year-old Honduran American boxer defeated Steve Claggett by unanimous decision to retain his WBO junior welterweight title on Saturday at the downtown James L. Knight Center.

Teofimo LopezLopez — a -1200 favorite, per ESPN BET — shut out Claggett on two cards with scores of 120-108 and won 119-109 on the third.

Canada’s Claggett (38-8-2, 26 KOs) was fighting in a 12-round fight for the first time.

Lopez, ESPN‘s No. 10 pound-for-pound boxer, easily defeated Claggett, outlanding him 315-60, but he surprisingly never came close to scoring a knockdown, much less a knockout, against a boxer fighting on the world-class level for the first time.

Lopez (21-1, 13 KOs) showed tremendous power at 135 pounds, where he reigned as undisputed champion, but in five fights at 140, he has scored just one KO. That came in August 2022 against journeyman Pedro Campa.

“I knew exactly what kind of fighter this guy was. … He’s going to come forward and test my conditioning. And that’s what we had today,” Lopez said. “He’s a tough fighter. I don’t think anyone should overlook him. I knew that coming into this. … He handled himself.”

Teofimo Lopez Lopez, who grew up in South Florida, seemed to acknowledge his lack of power afterward. He said it was a tough weight cut “and although it doesn’t look like I can handle my own at 147, I believe I can.”

Lopez, with his back to the ropes, was able to fend off the hard-charging Claggett. Yet it was clear what caliber of fighter Claggett was. Someone far below the top level, a fighter with shoddy footwork who simply plowed forward and let his hands go.

Claggett’s fighting heart can’t be questioned, and he can be proud that he went the distance. He was able to bust up Lopez over both eyes, too, and touch him up far more often than expected.

Perhaps Lopez took Claggett, 35, lightly. Lopez, after all, was on the wrong end of ESPN‘s 2021 Upset of the Year when he was defeated by George Kambosos.

Lopez also barely defeated Sandor Martin, a quality fighter, in his second bout at 140 pounds. Lopez rebounded, however, with a dominant performance against Josh Taylor last summer to win the lineal championship.

But in February, Lopez was booed as he struggled to cut off the ring against Jamaine Ortiz, a contender who didn’t engage.

In choosing Claggett — promoter Top Rank also offered fights with Kenny Sims, Elvis Rodriguez and Ray Muratalla — Lopez chose the easiest option. He also chose the fighter who was guaranteed to come forward, ostensibly to produce a knockout. It never materialized despite all the clean counter punches Lopez landed.

Lopez uncorked right uppercuts and left hooks that connected flush. He stunned Claggett in Round 8 and poured on more punishment in Round 9, but Claggett showed his fighting heart — and chin — by continuing to push forward.

Lopez unleashed a staggering 946 shots and 100 in Round 4, both career highs. Claggett, known for his volume punching, threw 820 punches.

Lopez told ESPN earlier this month that he planned to return in September. It’s possible that will mark his welterweight debut.

“We don’t dodge nobody,” Lopez said. “I just want the best and I want to fight the best so I can collect more legacy. That’s what it’s all about. The glory. … Teofimo’s still here.”

Teofimo Lopez Finalizing Deal to Defend WBO Junior Welterweight Title Against Steve Claggett

Teofimo Lopez is readying for a hot box summer…

The 26-year-old Honduran American boxer, who has held multiple world championships in two weight classes, is finalizing a deal to fight Steve Claggett for Lopez’s WBO junior welterweight title on June 29 in Miami, per ESPN.

Teofimo LopezThe 140-pound title fight will headline Top Rank Boxing on ESPN.

Lopez (20-1, 13 KOs) made the first defense of his title during Super Bowl Week in February when he defeated Jamaine Ortiz via unanimous decision. The fight was ugly, with boos raining down at the Las Vegas venue as Ortiz used his box-and-move style to frustrate Lopez, who had trouble cutting off the ring.

Lopez complained about Ortiz’s style and now will face a Canadian brawler, a fighter he’ll have no trouble finding in the ring. And Lopez will return to South Florida, where he grew up.

ESPN’s No. 2 junior welterweight, Lopez is the former undisputed lightweight champion. He defeated future Boxing Hall of Famer Vasiliy Lomachenko in October 2020 to unify 135-pound belts and crash the pound-for-pound list. But in his first defense, he lost to George Kambosos in November 2021 in ESPN‘s Upset of the Year.

Lopez subsequently moved up to 140 pounds and following two wins, he defeated Josh Taylor in June for the lineal junior welterweight championship.

Claggett (38-7-2, 26 KOs) is a 34-year-old from Calgary who will be fighting on the world-class level for the first time. He has won nine straight fights since a decision loss to fellow Canadian-level fighter Mathieu Germain in May 2021.

Claggett is currently scheduled to fight Mike Ohan Jr. in a 10-round bout April 11 in Montreal, but that matchup won’t take place now that he’s fighting Lopez, sources said.

The bout will be Claggett’s first title shot, where he’ll be installed as a major underdog.

Former featherweight champion Robeisy Ramirez will compete in the co-feature, sources said. Ramirez lost his title via majority decision to Rafael Espinoza in December in ESPN’s 2023 Upset of the Year.

Teofimo Lopez Defeats Jamaine Ortiz by Unanimous Decision to Retain WBO Junior Welterweight Title

Teofimo Lopez is still the champ…

In what ESPN has called “an uneventful junior welterweight title” bout in Las Vegas on Thursday, the 26-year-old Honduran American professional boxer defeated Jamaine Ortiz by unanimous-decision.

Teofimo LopezLopez (20-1, 13 KOs) prevailed via scores of 117-111, 115-113 and 115-113. And while he retained his WBO title at 140 pounds, he failed to put on a show and was frustrated once again by a slick southpaw boxer.

“These fighters don’t want to come and fight,” said Lopez, ESPN‘s No. 1 junior welterweight. “If you ain’t ready for this life, get the f— out of my sport. I am a champion. I bleed for this and I sweat for this and I cry for this. Every time.”

Neither boxer landed many shots — 78 for Lopez and 80 for Ortiz. Ortiz’s rangy jab gave Lopez fits, and each time the champion closed the distance, Ortiz (17-2-1, 8 KOs) would reset and refused to engage. The strategy was effective even if it wasn’t aesthetically pleasing.

Although Ortiz didn’t want to exchange, Lopez didn’t do himself any favors with his own strategy. Lopez mostly threw one punch at a time, followed Ortiz rather than cut off the ring and didn’t target the body.

This wasn’t new territory for Lopez. When he faced Sandor Martin, another slick southpaw, in December 2022, Lopez again failed to cut off the ring and was on the winning end of a disputed decision.

After that fight, Lopez was caught asking his father and trainer: “Do I still got it?”

The answer was a resounding yes after the way he dominated Josh Taylor in June to become a two-division champion. However, Lopez showed Thursday night that he didn’t learn much from the Martin performance; adjustments weren’t made this time around, either.

“It’s not a repeat because I still got it,” Lopez said. “Don’t tell me it’s Sandor Martin Part 2.”

Ortiz gained recognition when he pushed Vasiliy Lomachenko in a competitive decision loss in October 2022. But just like he did against Lomachenko, Ortiz faded down the stretch.

Lopez swept the final three rounds to pull out the win Thursday. If Ortiz had won one of those three rounds on two of the cards, the fight would have ended in a draw.

“I believe I won the fight,” said Ortiz, ESPN’s No. 8 lightweight, who moved up to 140 pounds for his first title shot. “What can I say, I came out on the short end of the stick once again. He couldn’t hit me. … He wasn’t landing any shots on me. … I always stay true to who I am. … Make some adjustments and come back for another title shot.”

Ortiz suffered a serious cut over his left eye from a clash of heads in Round 7, but his corner was able to quickly keep the bleeding under control. And while his jab and footwork were impressive, there weren’t any moments that stood out to judges.

With Lopez pressing forward, even if it was ineffective aggression, it seemed to win over the judges down the stretch.

The victory nets Lopez his first junior welterweight title defense. One of boxing’s rising stars, Lopez captured the undisputed lightweight championship when he upset Lomachenko in October 2020.

But he lost the titles in his first defense, a decision defeat to George Kambosos in ESPN‘s 2021 Upset of the Year.

Jose Ramirez Signs Multi-Fight Deal with Golden Boy Promotions

Jose Ramirez is entering his Golden era….

The 31-year-old Mexican American former unified junior welterweight titlist has signed a multi-fight deal with Golden Boy Promotions.

Jose RamirezThe newly formed deal was announced during the Vergil OrtizFredrick Lawson DAZN broadcast from Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.

“I’m ready to be a two-time world champion, and do it right now as well as stay active this year,” said Ramirez. “I felt Oscar [de la Hoya] and Golden Boy could deliver both immediately as well as some big fights at this point in my career that I want. This is the most motivated I have been since I turned pro.”

Ramirez and Ortiz are both managed by Rick Mirigian, who also recently brought over Arnold Barboza to the Golden Boy family. Barboza won via technical knockout after nine rounds in his Golden Boy debut Saturday evening.

“We know our value, and had to get a plan,” said Mirigian. “Golden Boy stepped up and showed that Jose would be a priority to them with the deal he was given. The fights that can now be made at 140 in house are among the best in all of the sport, as Golden Boy has now taken a strong hold on the most exciting division in boxing.”

Terms of the deal were not revealed. Boxing Scene reports that Ramirez could potentially challenge for the WBA junior welterweight title within his next couple of fights, depending on how the process plays out regarding current beltholder Rolando Romero and whether he next defends against the interim titlist.

Regardless, it’s a fresh start for Ramirez (28-1, 18KOs), who fought just once in each of the past four years.

An eleventh-round knockout of Richard Commey last March 25 in Fresno, California—the heart of Ramirez’s fan base as he hails from nearby Avenal—marked the final fight of his near 12-year-run with Top Rank. Ramirez signed with the Las Vegas-based outlet shortly after he represented the U.S. during the 2012 London Olympics.

During that time, Ramirez emerged as a sizeable draw in California’s Central Valley and won the WBC and WBO titles at junior welterweight. He came up just short versus then-unbeaten Josh Taylor in their May 2022 undisputed championship clash at Virgin Hotels, where he was in attendance on Saturday to confirm his new promotional deal.

In between the Taylor loss and Saturday’s news came just two ring appearances and a number of opportunities left on the table for various reasons. He eventually broke from Top Rank after his team could not reach terms for an offered shot at two-division lineal and current WBO junior welterweight champ Teofimo Lopez, who’ll instead face Jamaine Ortiz atop a February 8 ESPN show from Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas.

All signs, however, point to a more optimistic future.

“An Olympic pedigree. An incredible resumé that features two world titles. A massive and loyal fan base — José Ramirez has it all, and we are thrilled to welcome him to the Golden Boy family,” said Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy de la Hoya. “Our plan for Ramirez is simple: get him back in the ring quickly, keep him active against the best of the best and show the world that he is still among the cream of the crop in the super lightweight division.”

Details of his first fight under the Golden Boy banner are forthcoming.

Teofimo Lopez Finalizing Deal to Defend WBO Junior Welterweight Against Jamaine Ortiz in February

Teofimo Lopez is thisclose to locking in his next opponent…

He 26-year-old Honduran American boxer and Jamaine Ortiz are finalizing a deal to fight for Lopez’s WBO junior welterweight title on February 8 in Las Vegas, sources told ESPN.

Teofimo LopezThe 140-pound championship bout will headline Top Rank Boxing on ESPN on a Thursday evening, three days before Super Bowl LVIII is played in the same city.

Lopez, one of boxing’s rising stars, is coming off a superb performance in June, when he dominated Josh Taylor via unanimous decision to become a two-division champion.

The triumph was a rebound of sorts for Lopez, who struggled to earn a split decision over Sandor Martin six months earlier. Taylor was the undisputed champion but vacated three of his four titles ahead of the Lopez fight.

Lopez (19-1, 13 KOs) briefly claimed retirement after the victory but reversed course soon after. The 26-year-old, who fights out of Las Vegas, is ESPN‘s No. 2 boxer at 140 pounds. Lopez’s career-best performance remains his unanimous decision victory over future Hall of Famer Vasiliy Lomachenko in October 2020. Lopez went on to lose his lightweight championship to George Kambosos in ESPN’s 2021 Upset of the Year.

And it was against Lomachenko that Ortiz (17-1-1, 8 KOs) proved his capability at the top level.

The 27-year-old from Worcester, Massachusetts, was in control during the first half of the October 2022 bout — Ortiz was a 12-1 underdog — before he faded down the stretch. But before he did, he displayed his jab, strength and athleticism against an all-time great.

That performance followed his breakthrough win over former titleholder Jamel Herring earlier that year. Now, Ortiz will move up to 140 pounds for his first world title shot. And it comes against a fighter with whom he shares a history.

It was Lopez who defeated Ortiz in the 2015 National Golden Gloves Quarterfinal. Nearly 10 years later, they meet again with far greater stakes.

“I was impressed by Ortiz, really,” Lopez told Fight Hub after the Ortiz-Lomachenko bout. “I think overall Jamaine Ortiz is still seasoned enough to give everybody else bigger and better fights as well.”

Ryan Garcia to Fight Oscar Duarte in December Junior Welterweight Bout

Ryan Garcia is heading back to the mat…

The 25-year-old Mexican American boxing star will return to the ring in a junior welterweight fight against Oscar Duarte on December 2 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya has announced.

Ryan GarciaThe fight will be streamed on DAZN, and it comes one week before Devin Haney challenges Regis Prograis for the WBC junior welterweight title on DAZN PPV.

Garcia will be competing for the first time since he was TKO‘d by Gervonta Davis — the first loss of Garcia’s pro career — in the seventh round of their April fight.

That bout took place at a 136-pound catchweight, but Garcia (23-1, 19 KOs) now will campaign at 140 pounds, the same category as his last two fights before the “Tank” Davis bout took place.

The matchup with Duarte will also be Garcia’s first with Derrick James, who was ESPN‘s 2022 Trainer of the Year, leading his corner.

“Here you have a guy [Duarte] who’s coming off 11 KOs in a row,” De Le Hoya said. “There’s a guy who’s a power puncher who’s going to come forward and make Ryan fight. It’s the proper fight after a knockout loss to Gervonta.”

Garcia, who fights out of Southern California, is still seeking his first world title.

Later this month, he’ll enter mediation with Golden Boy Promotions as the sides attempt to resolve a dispute. Among the issues: Garcia claims his promotional deal to compete on pay-per-view platforms besides DAZN wasn’t honored.

According to Garcia’s demand letter sent to Golden Boy in June, the fighter was advised that his April superfight against Davis “could not happen unless it was broadcast on DAZN because of an exclusive agreement Golden Boy had separately negotiated with DAZN.”

The PPV fight against Davis was broadcast by Showtime — a broadcast partner of PBC (Davis’ promoter). DAZN also carried the fight on its streaming service and was paid a $1.25 million fee to step aside as the exclusive broadcaster, of which $120,000 Garcia personally paid to DAZN, per the letter.

Despite the disagreement and pending mediation, Garcia and De La Hoya were able to finalize this fight against Duarte to keep Garcia’s career moving.

“It’s business as usual,” De La Hoya told ESPN last month. “We have a couple of pending issues that should not impede any type of progress moving forward. I truly feel that we’re going to get this behind us and then move on with his career.”

Duarte, meanwhile, presents a chance for Garcia to bounce back from his first career loss and build some momentum heading into a pivotal 2024. Duarte (26-1-1, 21 KOs) has won 11 fights since his only career loss, all by KO.

The 27-year-old Mexican fighter, who competes at 135 pounds, will make a major jump in class for the Garcia bout.

Garcia’s career-best win remains a seventh-round TKO of Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell in January 2021, when Garcia survived a knockdown.

With an impressive showing over Duarte, Garcia appears poised for more marquee fights after the big business he delivered with Davis in April. Garcia said on social media that he earned $30 million for that fight.

“We’re looking to do a major, major fight with Ryan, possibly around Super Bowl weekend,” De La Hoya said. “I would love to talk to Bob [Arum] to see what’s going on with him and Teofimo [Lopez], but there’s other options as well.”

Regis Prograis to Fight Devin Haney in December

Regis Prograis has a new date for his next bout…

The 34-year-old half-Hispanic American boxer, the WBC junior welterweight champion, will fight Devin Haney at the end of the year.

Regis PrograisHaney, trying to become a two-division champion, will fight Prograis on December 9 at San Francisco’s Chase Center, home of the Golden State Warriors, according to ESPN.

The Prograis-Haney bout, which was originally planned for October 28 in Las Vegas, will be streamed on DAZN pay-per-view, sources said.

Haney, 24, is the undisputed lightweight champion but will make his 140-pound debut as he prepares to campaign at a new weight. ESPN’s No. 8 pound-for-pound boxer, Haney retained his four 135-pound titles when he defeated future Hall of Famer Vasiliy Lomachenko in May via unanimous decision.

The bout was the last of Haney’s three-fight deal with Top Rank. Now, Haney (30-0, 15 KOs) will return to Eddie Hearn‘s Matchroom Boxing, which promoted six of the American’s fights on DAZN.

Haney signed with Top Rank after his win over Joseph Diaz Jr. to pursue a fight with George Kambosos in Australia for the undisputed lightweight championship.

Haney, who fights out of Las Vegas, defeated Kambosos in June 2022 and then turned back the Australian boxer again in Melbourne with another decision in October.

He then made his pay-per-view headline debut with a career-best win, a thrilling victory over Lomachenko.

In his 140-pound debut, Haney will take on a dangerous southpaw puncher in Prograis, who is ESPN‘s No. 3-rated junior welterweight.

Prograis became a two-time champion at 140 pounds with an 11th-round KO of Jose Zepeda in November. Prograis (29-1, 24 KOs) signed a three-fight deal with Matchroom Boxing afterward and went on to retain his title with a split decision victory over Danielito Zorrilla in a homecoming bout.

Now, Prograis will step up for the biggest fight of his career. His lone pro defeat came against Josh Taylor via majority decision in October 2019, a title unification fight in London. Prograis rebounded with four consecutive TKO victories.

With a victory over Prograis, Haney could place himself in pole position for Fighter of the Year honors.

Haney still retains the WBA, IBF and WBO titles at 135 pounds but was named champion in recess by the WBC. Shakur Stevenson and Frank Martin had been slated to vie for the vacant WBC title, but sources told ESPN that Martin has withdrawn from the fight.

Teofimo Lopez Jr.’s Team Requesting “Super Champion’ Designation from WBO

Teofimo Lopez Jr. is hoping for a super decision… 

Top Rank sent an official request to the WBO with hopes of naming the 26-year-old Honduran American junior welterweight champion as the organization’s “super champion,” a designation that provides the fighter with special privileges under the WBO guidelines.

Teofimo Lopez“As you are aware Teofimo most recently defeated then WBO world champion Josh Taylor at MSG on June 10,” the letter from Top Rank’s vice president of boxing operations, Carl Moretti, sent to the WBO reads. “His performance has received accolades throughout the boxing community as well as a nomination for “Performance of the Year“.

 

“It should also be noted that Taylor is a former undisputed unified 140-pound world champion never losing any of his titles inside the ring when he fought Teofimo.”

Top Rank also noted that “The magnitude of Teofimo’s accomplishments” are enough to grant him the “super champion” status.

Lopez (19-1, 13 KOs), a 2-1 underdog at the time, handed Taylor his first defeat in June with a dominating unanimous decision victory at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. With the win, Lopez became a two-division champion at just 25 years old, lending merit to Top Rank’s request.

Fernando Gaztambide, WBO press officer, told ESPN that “super champion” designation is a status granted “to those fighters whose professional merits and accomplishments satisfy the criteria set forth in the relevant provision.”

Gaztambide also noted that it is not a title, but rather a status which grants the recipient certain rights considering his accomplishments.

“As a super champion a fighter gets certain privileges, like being named mandatory challenger for a champion in higher or lower divisions, lifetime membership with the WBO, extended time to make mandatory title defenses and other things,” WBO president Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel told ESPN.

The decision will be made this week, according to Valcarcel, and depends on Lopez meeting the required qualifications.

“We have rules and criteria the fighter should meet. If the five-member championship committee approves the request, it will need to be approved by the 23-member executive committee by majority,” Valcarcel explained.

Some of the WBO criteria includes that the fighter has a “multiple bout contract with a major television [company].” It also states that the fighter requesting the “super champion” designation had a minimum of 10 title defenses or if less than 10, the fighter has defended the belt against “opponents of high recognition and high skills.”

Other provisions are that the fighter has been a champion in more than one division or has held more than one championship from the other major organizations (WBC, WBA, IBF), or has been a unified champion, among others. Lopez checks all those boxes, having been a former WBO lightweight champion and a unified champion.

Currently, the WBO has five “super champions”, heavyweight Oleksandr Usyk, super middleweight Canelo Alvarez, junior middleweight Jermell Charlo, welterweight Terence Crawford, and lightweight Devin Haney.

Jorge Linares to Fight Jack Catterall in October

Jorge Linares has lined up his next opponent…

The 37-year-old Venezuelan professional boxer, a former three-division champion, will fight Jack Catterall, ESPN‘s No. 1 junior welterweight, on October 21 in Liverpool, England, Matchroom Boxing has announced.

Jorge Linares

Catterall dropped a controversial split decision to Josh Taylor in February 2022 in a bid for the undisputed 140-pound championship. Following several postponements of the rematch, Taylor moved on to a summer bout with Teofimo Lopez, while Catterall signed with Eddie Hearn‘s Matchroom.

“It is an honor to share a ring with Jorge Linares,” Catterall said. “I’ve watched him come over to the U.K. on three occasions and win three times. He is a legend of the game and this is a must-win fight for the both of us for very different reasons.

“There is talk of a huge fight for me after this, but it’ll count for nothing if I take my eye off the ball — which I can’t afford to do at this stage of my career. It’s no secret my career has lacked momentum, so after boxing in May and now October, I genuinely believe you’ll see the best version of me on October 21.”

That “huge fight” Catterall mentioned is the rematch with Taylor. There have been discussions for a Catterall-Taylor encore targeted for late 2023 or early 2024, sources told ESPN. Taylor is set to campaign at welterweight after he lost his title to Lopez, but Catterall is willing to meet him in between 140 and 147 pounds, sources said.

But first, Catterall (27-1, 13 KOs) will need to come out victorious against the second-toughest opponent of his career.

Linares (47-8, 29 KOs) has captured titles at 126, 130 and 135 pounds, but at 37, the Venezuelan boxer has lost three consecutive fights. Linares was competitive in a decision defeat to Devin Haney in May 2021.

Afterward, Linares fought twice in Russia: a 12th-round TKO loss to Zaur Abdullaev and a decision setback vs. Zhora Hamazaryan in December.

“October 21 I’m back in the UK,” said Linares. “I’m full of emotion and ready to give everybody a spectacular performance against a tremendous opponent, Jack Catterall.

“I just want everyone to know that I’m ready to give Jack a great boxing lesson and to continue making history in the U.K.”