Keep coming back here for a running tally of Pacquiao vs Bradley 3 results for the undercard on HBO Pay-Per-View. It kicks off with Jose Ramirez vs Manny Perez at junior welterweight; moves to Oscar Valdez vs Evgeny Gradovich at featherweight; and concludes with Arthur Abraham vs Gilberto Ramirez at super middleweight. Then it’s on to the main event!
JOSE RAMIREZ VS MANNY PEREZ
Ramirez bashed up Perez’s face good, and may have won 10 rounds in reality in his unanimous decision where some of the judges awarded rounds to Perez. But the impression one comes away from this fight with is that Ramirez is far too hittable. That’s the usual tradeoff — good for the prospect of future two-way slugfests, bad for his long-term ceiling.
Perez had his moments in nearly every round, landing a couple sizzling shots early, and especially working to the body. But Ramirez outworked him, connecting on more of the best shots each stanza. He faded, did Perez, and he took a beating — his face was a bloodied and bruised mess badly by fight’s end, starting with a head butt in the 2nd round, continuing with what might have been a broken nose in the 3rd, and concluding with a lot of punishment from punches.
If the idea here was to give 2012 Olympian some hard seasoning rounds, Perez was the right choice. He doesn’t knock people out and doesn’t beat prospects of note, but he busts his ass no matter what’s happening to him, and has only lost twice by KO, and he delivers action. Ramirez went 10 rounds for the first time and demonstrated excellent stamina and offense. Still, he’ll need a massive amount of coaching in defense to get even to competent.
OSCAR VALDEZ VS EVGENY GRADOVICH
Valdez had his best performance against his best opponent, but Gradovich didn’t look like the mean-punching, punishment-ignoring machine of his peak. Valdez stopped Gradovich in the 4th, after beating the holy fuck out of him the whole fight.
Gradovich was bleeding over one in the 1st and the other in the 2nd, and by the 3rd it looked like he had an injured jaw, to hear HBO’s broadcasters tell it. In the 4th, the ref was asking Gradovich to “show me something.” He didn’t have much of a chance to after that. Valdez smashed Gradovich with a beaut of a counter left as Gradovich rushed in, and while Gradovich rose, the referee didn’t see any cause to continue. He was right.
It’s easy to see how, at age 29, Gradovich’s style could’ve caught up to him. He threw fewer punches than usual, and landed even fewer. Meanwhile, Valdez was fighting him exactly as he should’ve — in and out, countering — and probably did one better with his punch volume and accuracy. He looks as though he’s improving; his defense was excellent.
Vasyl Lomachenko still seems a bridge too far, but it’s getting close to feasible. Valdez is living up to his potential so far. Who’s to say he can’t expand it?
ARTHUR ABRAHAM VS GILBERTO RAMIREZ
Ramirez slickly boxed his way to a unanimous decision over the top man in the division, mixing in power shots with his counters, offensive variety and lateral movement. It was a terrific performance by the rare large Mexican fighter.
The judges who gave Abraham no rounds — all three of those judges — were off, as Abraham won at least a couple, and three on this reporter’s scorecard. But it made no difference. Ramirez’s strategy Saturday was perfect, and his physical advantages of length, youth and speed were too pronounced.
Ramirez even hurt the usually unhurtable Abraham twice in the first three rounds, first with a short right counter, then with a left to the body. Ramirez’s body attack made sure he scored in ever round, as Abraham is hard to hit to the head with his hands-up style, although Ramirez caught him to the noggin with counters and looping shots. In the 6th, Abraham got on his jab and then opened up with his hard right, and improved his volume, always Abraham’s fatal flaw. He took two of the next six by opening up against a slowing Ramirez, who lost some steam on his shots, but wasn’t able to keep up the pace.
Ramirez was a rather straightforward power puncher when he first arrived on the scene, albeit a good one. He’s added some nuance, and it was more than enough for him to dominant Abraham, whose age has begun to show in recent years but who still had been doing enough to reside at or near the top of 168. Ramirez even is said to want middleweight terror Gennady Golovkin. GGG has proven stubborn about moving up in weight unless he thinks he can face someone easy for big money, and Ramirez offers neither at this point. But if he can get the Mexican fan base excited, the money has a chance of coming.