Ramirez survives scare to outwork Barthelemy, Ortiz destroys Dulorme: Highlights

Fighting

Jose Ramirez looked a bit rusty and showed a number of his classic bad habits, but his pressure, volume, and durability were enough to carry him past a game Rances Barthelemy.

Ramirez (29-1, 18 KO), fighting for the first time since March of last year, banked the first two rounds with relative ease as Barthelemy (30-3-1, 15 KO) struggled to get off the ropes or unleash any meaningful offense of his own. Midway through the third, though, Barthelemy erupted with a series of straight lefts that had Ramirez reeling. “Kid Blast’s” follow-up swarm sent Ramirez to a knee, at which point the first of several oddities occurred.

Referee Jack Reiss was extremely slow to react, allowing Barthelemy to tee off on a grounded Ramirez before finally splitting them up. Rather than call a knockdown or deduct a point from Barthelemy, he claimed that Barthelemy pushed Ramirez down and settled for giving him a warning. When Barthelemy again staggered Ramirez and tried to unload, the bell rang with 15 seconds remaining on DAZN’s clock.

I will say that it’s unclear whether the clock continued to run while Reiss was chiding Barthelemy, but I didn’t hear the clapper.

Barthelemy had a few more good moments like that in the next few rounds, including a sequence where he landed three full-force straight lefts in a row, but he soon ran out of steam. Ramirez dialed back his pressure enough to see Barthelemy’s increasingly sporadic counters coming and just continued to plug away to the head and body against the ropes, forcing a near-finish in the 11th before Reiss stepped in ahead of the bell, said “it’s over,” then sent them to their corners as usual when the bell did ring.

Barthelemy mustered up some courage for a final-round surge, but he was way too deep in the hole, and Ramirez walked away with a unanimous decision on scores of 119-109, 119-109, and 118-110. Bad Left Hook had it 117-111 for Ramirez, giving Barthelemy the final round.

To be frank, Ramirez didn’t look like a threat to the current super lightweight elite. His head movement seems just as poor as it was when Josh Taylor walked him into those knockdown shots in 2021 and his body language wasn’t great whenever Barthelemy, who is not a big puncher, found the mark.

Still, he got the win and DAZN has no shortage of potential opponents for him in the division, so we’ll see where he goes from here. As for the 38-year-old Barthelemy, his legs and cardio appear to be far more shot than his heart is.

Ortiz flattens Dulorme with liver shot

Vergil Ortiz Jr’s catchweight showdown with Thomas Dulorme was every bit the mismatch we expected. The two felt each other out for about two minutes, each working behind the jab, before Ortiz absolutely crushed him with a liver shot.

There’s really not much else to say; Ortiz’s (21-0, 21 KO) power is clearly still there, but Dulorme (26-7-1, 17 KO) had lost three of his previous four and was at least one weight class above his ideal. It didn’t tell us anything about whether Ortiz is elite at 154 or if he’ll even stand a chance against Tim Tszyu when they meet in August.

Duarte hands Diaz first stoppage loss

For about four rounds, Joseph Diaz Jr looked like he might still have something left in the tank. Though clearly outgunned by the much bigger Oscar Duarte, he was moving and boxing quite well in the face of serious pressure.

Then Duarte (27-2-1, 22 KO) seemingly decided “alright, time to win.” A combination in the fifth had Diaz (33-6-1, 15 KO) more rattled than in any fight I can remember, and while Diaz survived, there was no stopping Duarte. He hammered Diaz’s body, found the mark with headshots from the hip, and consistently walked through Diaz’s combinations to send him reeling with catch-and-pitch counters.

Diaz was on borrowed time from about the seventh onwards, and as Duarte teed off against the ropes late in the ninth, both the ref and Diaz’s corner called a halt at the same time.

JoJo claimed afterwards that he wasn’t hurt and vowed to come back. He was pressed on whether he’d return to a weight class where he actually belongs, but declined to answer. He’s now 1-5 in his last six.

Esparza falls to Alaniz in rematch

Former unified flyweight champion Marlen Esparza hit the scales a full two pounds overweight yesterday and looked the part in the ring, showing off a good jab and decent footwork but struggling to keep up with the furious pace of rival Gabriela Alaniz.

Alaniz (15-1, 6 KO) immediately looked to capitalize on Esparza’s (14-2, 1 KO) questionable prep, marching forward with high-volume combinations and consistently targeting the body with solid right hands. She seemed on pace to overwhelm Esparza early, but to the former Olympian’s credit, she managed to at least partially slow Alaniz and establish her jab in the later rounds.

Perhaps realizing that the fight was slipping away, Alaniz came out on fire in the tenth and final round. Despite Sergio Mora’s insistence that her showboating was the product of frustration, Alaniz seemed plenty happy to tee off on Esparza, who simply lacked the firepower to keep Alaniz at bay when the Argentinean sold out.

That effort wound up saving Alaniz from a controversial split draw, and she leaves the ring with the WBC, WBO, and WBA flyweight titles around her waist thanks to a pair of 97-93 and 96-94 scorecards. The dissenting 98-92 card from Steve Morrow merits some form of investigation that will never come.

We’ll see if Alaniz has more luck setting up an undisputed title fight with Gabriela Fundora than Esparza did.

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