If the cancellation of the mixed martial arts match between Max Holloway and Brian Ortega at UFC 226 has you looking to the sweet science for your weekend violence, you might be disappointed. This is not a great weekend for boxing; however there is an ESPN card from Fresno, California, that should warrant your attention.
What: Jose Ramirez vs. Danny O'ConnorWhen: Saturday, 9:30 PM ET
How you Can Watch It: ESPN/ESPN Deportes
Why You Should Care: Because if Danny O’Connor Wins He’s Going to Get a Movie, But He’s Going to Get Destroyed by A Simply Superior Fighter
Danny O’Connor is an Irish guy from Massachusetts who is the definition of a journeyman. At one point in his career, he was working at Trader Joe's until a solid win streak allowed him to move back to Massachusetts and get a job as a Framingham fireman. He is represented by one of The Dropkick Murphy's, and at one point had to have his son work his corner when his trainer couldn’t make it (he’s 33 so his son was quite young). He has dedicated fights to the victims of the Marathon bombing, sporting trunks that said "Boston Strong." His life has been fascinating and knowing how much Hollywood loves white boxers and Boston accents, if he beats Joes Ramirez (in Ramirez’s home state) he will definitely be getting a movie.
But he won’t; he’s going to get killed. Ramirez is just too good. The 2012 Olympian won the United States National Amateur Championship in the lightweight division, and as a pro has beaten guys like Amir imam and Mike Reed. O’Connor on the other hand, has only one opponent with a Wikipedia page (Guyana’s Vivian Harris, who he lost to). Ramirez is heading for bigger and better things, but first he needs to get by O’Connor. Tune in to see if he can.
What: Andy Ruiz Jr. vs Kevin JohnsonWhen: Saturday, 6:30 PM ET
How You Can Watch: ESPN+
Why You Should Care: Because Ruiz can still be a legitimate heavyweight contender and deserves better than an ESPN+ undercard fight.
Ruiz has one loss on his record, a decision loss to Joseph Parker with one judge scoring the fight a draw and two others scoring the bout 115-113. Bear in mind, that fight took place in New Zealand, Parker’s home nation, and many people thought Ruiz should have been given the decision. And yet, Ruiz Jr. is stuck on an ESPN+ undercard. Whether it’s due to his weight, his taking a bunch of time off after the Parker fight, or his lack of charisma, Ruiz Jr. is not getting the respect he deserves, but in a relatively thin (no pun intended) heavyweight division, anybody is only a few wins away from contendership.
His opponent is Johnson, a longtime fighter out of New jersey who has consistently faced, and lost to the best, including Anthony Joshua, Vitali Klitschko and Tyson Fury. He is most definitely on the tail end of his career but could always show the young man up and prove the undercard is right where Ruiz belonged the whole time.
What: Gabe Flores Jr. vs. James De HerreraWhen: Saturday, 6:30 PM ET
How You Can Watch: ESPN+
Why You Should Care: Because Flores Jr. is insanely hyped, and De Herrera is a lamb leading himself to the slaughter
De Herrera is 4-4 as a professional boxer, whose boxrec page doesn’t even have a picture. Flores Jr. was signed by Top Rank at 16. He was 91-7 as an amateur and a 12-time national champion. He has a very sad life story, as his mother was murdered when he was only 12 years-old, and he fights to honor her.
Watch the fight to see Mr. Flores. Watch the fight to see a good knockout. Or, watch the fight to see what some people have to do for money, and you will feel much better about your crappy office job on Monday morning.
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