There are certain fighters that no one looks good against. Even the elite will struggle with them. It’s normally something about their technique or their stature that makes them difficult. The problem with Viktor Postol, for basically everyone, is that he is just under six feet tall with a nearly 74-inch wingspan. His jab is like a spear and the right hand that follows behind it changes speed, angle and power. Sometimes the 1-2 is there to create distance. Sometimes it’s there to cause damage. Sometimes it’s there to take you by surprise. But it’s always there. Oh, and by the way, if he doesn’t want you to get close to him, you won’t, because his strides are enormous, and even at 36, he’s comfortable on his bike.
Jose Carlos Ramirez is 28 years old and at the height of his powers as an athlete. He’s a 2012 Olympian with solid technique, a seemingly tireless motor, and power in both hands — and, like Postol, is extremely tall and rangy for the junior welterweight division. He has progressively turned up the volume and the intensity of his offensive attack as he has stepped up in class, culminating in his 6th round stoppage of Maurice Hooker in July 2019. He is considered by most to be no worse than the third best fighter in the world at 140 pounds.
So, if Ramirez is as good as everyone says he is (pre-fight odds had Ramirez as a 7-1 favorite), he should’ve followed in the footsteps of Josh Taylor and Terence Crawford and hung a definitive loss on the Ukrainian last Saturday in a fight televised on ESPN+. That didn’t happen. Postol does now have a third loss on his ledger, but it wasn’t in the same zip code as definitive.
The bout started tentatively, mostly just jabs and circling with intermittent exchanges. By the end of the 1st round, Ramirez had found a home for his short left hook, both to the body and head, but Postol was dictating tempo and distance with his jab. The 2nd was more of the same, but Postol spent more time on the move and began dropping right hands behind the jab. Neither shot seemed to bother Ramirez, who kept constant forward momentum, but neither was he able to trap Postol into sustained exchanges. Postol was winning the round, but the momentum seemed to be favoring Ramirez.
The next two rounds were all Ramirez. Postol began to look uncomfortable and instead of circling, often backed straight away, getting caught against the ropes and forced to exchange. The exchanges always favored Ramirez, who continued to chop away on the inside and at mid-range.
Then, out of nowhere, the fight changed again. Postol got back to circling and letting his jab set the distance. Suddenly finding himself at a favorable distance, Postol began dropping combinations that didn’t hurt Ramirez but froze him several times. Ramirez stopped pressuring and spent stretches of rounds 5 and 6 following Postol around.
Seemingly, all Postol needed to do at the halfway mark was stay out of exchanges and keep his jab firing with regularity. Intent on further discouraging Ramirez, Postol began firing the 1-2 proactively in the 7th, which would’ve been a wonderful idea, except he got greedy and Ramirez clipped him with a perfect left hook. Postol was badly hurt by the shot, and while he desperately tried to regain his bearings, Ramirez snapped his head back repeatedly. Postol managed to right himself and land a few combinations before the bell, but the tide had shifted again. Ramirez shifted tactics, jabbing his way in before spiking body shots and combinations to the head. It took until the latter half of the 9th for Postol to fully regain his rhythm and get the fight back to intermittent exchanges at long range.
The championship rounds repeated the patterns of their predecessors. Postol would control long stretches of time with his movement and jab. When this happened, Ramirez would begin to look lost and follow Postol around. The jab seemed to hypnotize Ramirez, and it wouldn’t be until Postol began to engage and leave himself open that Ramirez was able to score with hurtful shots.
No matter what official verdict was rendered, there was going to be arguments. Both sides had valid points because stylistically Postol and Ramirez canceled each other out. Instead of creating action, their differences prevented it, and neither fighter took control of the fight and kept it. The official tallies were 114-114, 115-113, 116-112 for Ramirez. TQBR scored it 115-113 for Postol.
Debatable decisions are a fact of life in boxing, but the debate is only as fun as the fight and this one wasn’t. And talk that would’ve been generated about Ramirez’s prospects against Taylor and Crawford is suddenly as loud as the crowd in the Bubble.