Trainer Joel Diaz was not happy with anything about Ramon Cardenas’ performance against Eduardo Ramirez through the first eight rounds Wednesday night, excoriating him and urging him to “wake your ass up.” It seemed overly harsh – Cardenas was boxing reasonably well and appeared to be winning the majority of the rounds.

Fair or not, it worked.

Between rounds eight and nine, Diaz told Cardenas to “knock this f***ing guy out,” and that’s exactly what Cardenas, a junior featherweight from San Antonio, did one minute and 37 seconds into the ninth, a single left hand to the body putting Ramirez down for referee Frank Santore Jr.’s full 10-count.

The bout headlined a ProBox TV card at the ProBox TV Events Center in Plant City, Florida.

Cardenas came in on a 12-fight win streak dating back to 2017, and was listed as an overwhelming -1800 betting favorite. Relative to the expectations those numbers created, the fight was certainly competitive and perhaps Diaz’s animated criticism was justified.

Ramirez, a +900 underdog, also deserves credit for forcing that criticism, as he proved tactically adept and boxed more cleverly than perhaps the 28-year-old Cardenas was expecting. The pace was measured the first couple of rounds, but once Ramirez, also 28, landed a couple of right hands over the top in Round 3 “Dinamita” Cardenas had to know this wasn’t going to be a walkover.

Both boxers looked to set traps, with Mexico’s Ramirez often taking a half-step back to make space, then sliding right back in with quick punches. Cardenas remained patient throughout, working behind his jab, pressing forward just enough to win rounds, all while gradually adjusting to perhaps a trickier challenge than he had anticipated.

Cardenas, his long, braided tail flopping about, did some of his best work in the eighth round, boxing beautifully without quite pushing the pace. But it wasn’t enough to satisfy the veteran trainer Diaz.

So midway through the ninth, Cardenas (25-1, 14 KOs) threw a right uppercut up the middle that brought Ramirez’s arms together, opening him up perfectly for a left to the rib cage. Down went Ramirez (22-3-3, 16 KOs), never threatening to rise before Santore finished his count.

The win was Cardenas’ second straight atop a ProBox TV card. In February, he stopped Israel Rodriguez Picazo in the sixth round of a close contest.

Eric Raskin is a veteran boxing journalist with more 25 years of experience covering the sport for such outlets as BoxingScene, ESPN, Grantland, Playboy, Ringside Seat, and The Ring (where he served as managing editor for seven years). He also co-hosted The HBO Boxing Podcast, Showtime Boxing with Raskin & Mulvaney, and Ring Theory and currently co-hosts The Interim Champion Boxing Podcast with Raskin & Mulvaney. He has won three first-place writing awards from the BWAA, for his work with The Ring, Grantland, and HBO. Outside boxing, he is the senior editor of CasinoReports and the author of 2014’s The Moneymaker Effect. He can be reached on X or LinkedIn, or via email at [email protected].

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