Jose Ramirez isn’t at the point of his professional boxing career where he can take opponents for granted.
The promising junior welterweight and former U.S. Olympian from Avenal, Calif., performed like a hungry underdog instead of the overwhelming favorite he was Saturday against Boyd Henley at Texas Station, pounding Henley into submission with a second-round technical knockout to stay undefeated.
“I was hoping to get more work in,” Ramirez said. “But the referee (Robert Byrd) decided to stop it. He did his job, and I’m just glad to get the win.”
Ramirez (9-0, seven knockouts) used an effective left hand to go to the head and body of Henley (10-4-1, nine KOs), who did not move laterally, leaving Ramirez no need to change up. He landed several solid lefts to Henley’s chin in the first round, and he managed to remain upright.
“(Henley) takes a good punch,” said Ramirez, who was icing down his left hand after the fight. “I didn’t really need to set up my punches because he left his right side open the entire time.”
Ramirez actually did use his right hand in the second round to set up Henley for his ultimate demise.
With just over a minute to go in the round, Ramirez shot a straight right to Henley’s chin. He followed that up with four solid left hooks to the body, and Henley was in big trouble.
As Ramirez swarmed over him, flailing away and looking for the kill, Byrd stepped in and called a halt to the fight at the 2:32 mark.
“I was in great condition for this fight,” Ramirez said. “I knew I could step on the gas right away and go after him.”
Ramirez will be back in the ring May 17 as he is scheduled to headline a Top Rank card at Selland Arena in Fresno, Calif., an hour’s drive from his hometown.
“I can’t wait,” Ramirez said of the fight in Fresno against an opponent still to be determined. “To be able to fight in front of my family, friends and all my fans in the Valley, it’s going to be special.”
In Saturday’s main event, Alejandro Perez’s plans for a title shot against World Boxing Association featherweight champion Nicholas Walters were short-circuited after Juan Carlos Martinez upset Perez, winning a 10-round split decision.
Perez (19-4-1, 13 KOs) suffered a cut over his left eye from an accidental head butt in the sixth round. He also had a point deducted in the 10th round by referee Russell Mora for repeated low blows.
But Martinez (19-14-1, six KOs) did a superb job of occupying Perez, smothering his punches and landing enough blows of his own to convince the judges to see it his way.
Judges Tim Cheatham and Robert Hoyle had Martinez winning 96-93, while Jerry Roth scored it 96-93 for Perez.
Also on the undercard, former world super flyweight champion Brian Viloria made a successful return to the ring after nearly a year’s absence to win a 10-round unanimous decision over Juan Herrera.
Viloria (33-4, 19 KOs), who lost his WBA title last April 6 to Juan Francisco Estrada in Macau, was a little rusty in the early rounds against Herrera (9-8, four KOs). But he picked up the pace toward the middle of the fight, landed some solid shots and had little trouble getting back on track.
Judges Hoyle and Dave Moretti both had it 98-92, while Roth scored it 97-93, all for Viloria.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at email@example.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.