The undefeated rising star is set to become the next king of the 154-pound division if he can get past the dangerous Erickson Lubin tonight on the Canelo vs Charlo Pay-Per-View.
In boxing, no matter how big the event, when the final bell sounds, it is over. Today can be great, but the biggest question is always what tomorrow will bring.
Today is pretty exciting. The undisputed king of the junior middleweight division, Jermell Charlo, earned his honors in what has been a veritable golden era in the division. Charlo became the first man to unify all four major sanctioning body titles, putting his name up there with divisional greats like Tommy Hearns, Mike McCallum, Nino Benvenuti, Terry Norris, and Winky Wright. Charlo’s reward comes this Saturday with a crack at the biggest star in boxing, Canelo Alvarez, and the undisputed super middleweight throne.
It raises the question of what tomorrow will bring. Will Charlo, already age 33, ever return to the division that has been home throughout his career? If he doesn’t, are we at the end of a golden era that has given fans memorable contests like Jarrett Hurd-Erislandy Lara, Charlo-Tony Harrison, Jeison Rosario-Julian Williams, Charlo-Brian Castano, and Sebastian Fundora-Erickson Lubin?
The tomorrow being built at junior middleweight indicates the answer is no. A potentially significant piece of tomorrow will be on display before the main event hits the ring this weekend.
There are multiple signs throughout the division that we are far from the end of anything. In 2023, the foundations of a thrilling reload are everywhere. Youth is at the center of it all. Tim Tszyu, 28, and Brian Mendoza, 29, have both posted big wins this year with Tszyu stopping the only man with a win over Charlo, Harrison, and Mendoza stopping the undefeated Fundora. Fundora, 25, will be back from his loss to Mendoza but will watch as Tszyu and Mendoza turn to each other on October 15.
That’s not all the talent under 30 to be excited about at junior middleweight.
This Saturday, on the Canelo-Charlo SHOWTIME Pay-Per-View (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT), 22-year old contender Jesus Ramos (20-0, 16 KO) will take the biggest step up in his career when he faces 27-year old Erickson Lubin (25-2, 18 KO) in a scheduled 12-round affair.
Ramos is the youngest of the young guns, and he may have the highest ceiling. The southpaw from Casa Grande, Arizona has impressive size, standing 5-foot-10 with a 72-inch reach, power, ring intelligence, and a crowd-pleasing style. After turning professional at just 17 years old, Ramos has matured quickly in the ring, sparring with the likes of welterweight king Terence Crawford and racking up several standout wins.
In his lone appearance of 2023, Ramos was sensational against undefeated Joey Spencer. Ramos dropped Spencer in round one and was leading by near unanimous shutout scores when he forced the stoppage in round seven.
It was just the latest impressive performance from Ramos. Tszyu-Mendoza will be a big fight for the division, but Tszyu will be traveling a road already tread by Ramos. In 2021, a 20-year old Ramos handed Mendoza only his second defeat with a lopsided ten-round decision. In 2022, Ramos stopped Vladimir Hernandez just one fight removed from Hernandez’s stunning upset of “J-Rock” Williams. It’s as exciting an early career resume as anyone his age has had at junior middleweight since the rise of Fernando Vargas.
“ I can be a lot better than what I am right now ” Undefeated 154-pound Contender - Jesus Ramos
That resume is enough for Ramos to already be ranked as high as third, and no lower than sixth, in the rankings of all four major sanctioning bodies. He is also established in the top ten of all the unofficial major media rankings as well.
Like Ramos, Lubin is ranked in the top ten of all four major sanctioning bodies and his only defeats have come to Charlo and Fundora. He is, on paper, the toughest test to date for Ramos
Interviewed on The PBC Podcast in late August, Ramos said he was struck by the moment having watched Lubin over the years. “The crazy part was that I used to watch him fight. I was at 140, I would see his fights. I would always be tuned in. I followed (Lubin’s) journey when he wanted to become a world champion at a young age. He fought Charlo and now I’m fighting him. It seems to be the story of my career…this is where we are now. We’re fighting the guys we look up to.”
Ramos further spoke to recognizing how young he still is, and that he’s still far from where he might be at his best, even as he responds to the increasingly bright lights. “I don’t think we’re even halfway there, man. I honestly surprise myself sometimes too, just in the ring, in training camp; just the things I do, the things that come natural to me.”
Ramos certainly isn’t afraid of the future, expecting more as the level of difficulty increases like it will this weekend against Lubin. “The tougher the competition gets, the more I’m gonna’ go, the more I’m gonna’ learn, and the better I’m going to be. I’m only 22. I got more than ten years in this to go. I can be a lot better than what I am right now.”
For the rest of the junior middleweight field, that might be a frightening proposition.
Considering his size and talent, Ramos’s next ten years could be a boon for more than junior middleweight. Does he have the talent, and frame, to one day topple big names at middleweight and super middleweight?
On Saturday, Ramos will benefit from the spotlight underneath one of the biggest fights of 2023. A win over Lubin will move Ramos one step closer to being the man in the marque for events just like it.
For a closer look at Jesus Ramos, check out his fighter page.