Pick It: Jose Ramirez vs. Rances Barthelemy, Vergil Ortiz vs. Thomas Dulorme

When to Watch: Saturday, April 27, 8 p.m. Eastern Time.

How to Watch: DAZN 

Why to Watch: This is the most notable fight card of the seven shows listed in this week’s “TV Picks” article, though that doesn’t mean this is a great show — on paper, at least.

Indeed, the announcement of the two co-features seemed to go over like a wet fart.

That’s not because of Ramirez and Ortiz, who are viable contenders in the junior welterweight and junior middleweight divisions. Rather, it’s because of their respective opponents. Barthelemy and Dulorme are uninspiring choices. 

Boxing still has an ability to offer up pleasant surprises — see last week, which brought Dakota Linger upsetting Kurt Scoby, Pierre Dibombe coming to fight even while outmatched by Bektemir Melikuziev, and Sean McComb outboxing Arnold Barboza (and getting a bad beat on the scorecards).

Yet if Ramirez and Ortiz score their expected victories, will they really have shown us much that we hadn’t already known about them? 

These are fights designed more to help the co-headliners shake off rust.

Ramirez, a former unified titleholder at 140 pounds, has only fought once a year since 2020. He beat Viktor Postol that August, lost a decision to Josh Taylor in a fight for the undisputed championship in May 2021, returned with a decision over Jose Pedraza in March 2022, and knocked out Richard Commey in the 11th round in March 2023. That brought the 31-year-old from California’s Central Valley to 28-1 (18 KOs).

Ramirez, who parted ways with Top Rank, signed with Golden Boy Promotions at the start of this year. This will be his first fight under their banner. The show will take place in front of Fresno, California, at the Save Mart Center, where Ramirez has built a loyal home region following over the years.

Barthelemy, a 38-year-old former lightweight titleholder originally from Cuba, is years removed from his best days. He, too, hasn’t been overly active in recent years. Barthelemy was stopped by Gary Antuanne Russell in six rounds in July 2022, then came back in May 2023 with a majority decision over Omar Juarez. Barthelemy is 30-2-1 (15 KOs).

The undefeated Ortiz, meanwhile, had a pair of lengthy layoffs (12 months and 17 months) and canceled fights due to rhabdomyolysis, a breakdown of muscle tissue that, in his case, was believed to be caused by long Covid. He pulled out of a March 2022 bout with Michael McKinson, returned that August to stop McKinson, then pulled out of a July 2023 fight with Eimantas Stanionis. 

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Dallas, had been a promising prospect turned contender in the welterweight division. He’s since moved up to junior middleweight to try to help his body. Ortiz fought this past January, putting away Fredrick Lawson in 153 seconds. Not enough in-ring time for Ortiz, now 20-0 with 20 KOs, to shake off all the rust.

So he’ll take on Thomas Dulorme, a 34-year-old former junior welterweight contender. Dulorme has no track record at 154 pounds — not that Ortiz has much of one yet either — and wasn’t coming up with favorable results in recent years at 147. He’s 2-4-1 in his past seven fights, including three consecutive losses in 2020 and 2021 to Jamal James (UD12), Stanionis (UD12) and Jaron “Boots” Ennis (KO1). Dulorme’s last fight was in July 2022, about 21 months ago, when he made short work of a 19-11 fighter named Abrahan Perala. 

We’ll see what Dulorme has left this coming weekend. We shouldn’t be surprised if the answer is “not much.”

The undercard includes three fights:

Oscar Duarte will face Joseph Diaz Jr. in a battle of lightweights hoping to breathe some life into their careers.

Duarte, a 28-year-old from Chihuahua, Mexico, is about five months removed from a knockout loss to Ryan Garcia. That ended an 11-fight win streak and brought Duarte’s record to 26-2-1 (21 KOs). Diaz, a former junior featherweight titleholder, was a B-side in defeats to Devin Haney and William Zepeda. But what hurt him even more were a pair of defeats that came after to guys who aren’t on the rise: a split decision loss to Mercito Gesta in March 2023 and the short end of a split decision against Jesus Antonio Perez Campos this February. That brought Diaz, a 31-year-old from Southern California, to 33-5-1 (15 KOs).

Unified women’s flyweight titleholder Marlen Esparza will defend her WBA, WBC and WBO titles in a rematch with Gabriela Alaniz

Esparza is a 34-year-old Houstonian who won bronze in the 2012 Olympics. She’s been on a good run since suffering her only pro loss, against Seniesa Estrada in 2019. Esparza captured the WBC belt in 2021, added the WBA in 2022 and then won the WBO from Alaniz in 2023. She comes in with a record of 14-1 (1 KO). The WBO subsequently ordered this sequel. As for Alaniz, that majority decision defeat to Esparza is the sole blemish on her record. The 27-year-old from Buenos Aires is 14-1 (6 KOs).

And in the broadcast opener, welterweight prospect Raul Curiel will meet Jorge Marron Jr. Curiel, a 28-year-old from Mexico, is 14-0 (12 KOs). Marron, a 30-year-old from Southern California, is 20-4-2 (7 KOs).

More Fights to Watch

Wednesday, April 24: Ramon Cardenas vs. Eduardo Ramirez (ProBoxTV.com, 8 p.m. Eastern Time)

(Note: BoxingScene.com is owned by ProBox.) 

This show in Plant City, Florida, is headlined by junior featherweights Cardenas and Ramirez. 

Cardenas is 24-1 (13 KOs). The 28-year-old from San Antonio suffered that loss relatively early in his career, back in 2017 in what was his 13th pro fight. Since then he’s put together a 12-fight win streak. Cardenas’ last victory came this past February, when he broke Israel Rodriguez Picazo’s jaw for a sixth-round TKO.

Ramirez (also known on BoxRec as Jesus Ramirez Rubio) is 22-2-3 (16 KOs). The 28-year-old from Sonora, Mexico, suffered a first-round knockout loss in 2022 to featherweight contender Nick Ball, then came back last May against a designated opponent.

The undercard also features a junior middleweight fight between Marques Valle and Damian Sosa. Valle is 10-0 (7 KOs) while Sosa is 24-2 (12 KOs).

Friday, April 26: Yoenis Tellez vs. Joseph Jackson (DAZN, 8 p.m. Eastern Time)

Tellez and Jackson are both undefeated junior middleweight prospects — though it is Tellez who is the clear favorite in this fight.

Tellez is originally from Cuba and now fights out of Texas, where he works with trainer Ronnie Shields. And like many from the vaunted Cuban amateur system, Tellez has moved relatively quickly once turning pro. 

His sixth fight opened the Terence Crawford vs. Errol Spence pay-per-view; Tellez took out Sergio Garcia in just three rounds. Then Tellez joined Canelo Alvarez’s camp to help the super middleweight champ prepare for Jermell Charlo. Last December, Tellez scored a highlight-reel knockout of once-beaten Livan Navarro in the 10th round. The 23-year-old is now 7-0 (6 knockouts).

Jackson, despite his record of 19-0 (15 KOs), does not represent another step up. The 35-year-old from North Carolina has fought mostly in that state, with a few jaunts to Pennsylvania. He has not been particularly active — he’s appeared once a year since 2020 — nor has he fought against particularly capable opposition.

The show, which takes place at the Caribe Royale Orlando in Florida, also features several other fights between prospects.

Friday, April 26: Daniel Ettore vs. Armond Richard (CombatSportsNow.com, 7 p.m. Eastern Time)

This show in Columbus, Ohio, features 10 amateur fights and six pro boxing matches. It’s not clear what mix will be on the broadcast, but the main event is a lightweight bout between Ettore and Richard. Ettore, 24 years old, is 8-1-2 (6 KOs). Richard, 28 years old, is 7-0-1 (3 KOs).

Saturday, April 27: Peter McGrail vs. Mark Leach (DAZN, 2 p.m. Eastern Time / 7 p.m. BST) 

This is the first fight back for McGrail since the junior featherweight prospect’s surprising December knockout loss to Ja’Rico O’Quinn. McGrail was ahead on the cards and had scored two knockdowns,, but then O’Quinn landed a perfect right hand counter in the fifth round that dropped McGrail for the full count. That brought the 27-year-old Liverpudlian to 8-1 (5 KOs).

They were supposed to have a rematch, but O’Quinn had to pull out “due to personal family matters.” In steps Leach, a 30-year-old from up the road in Salford. Leach has lost two in a row, outpointed by Liam Davies in 2022 and put away by Masood Abdulah last October. Leach is now 18-3-1 (4 KOs).

The undercard includes a fight for the vacant IBF women’s lightweight title between Beatriz Ferreira, 4-0 (2 KOs), and Yanina del Carmen Lescano, 14-3 (4 KOs).

Saturday, April 27: Andrew Tabiti vs. Junior Wright (BLK Prime Pay-Per-View, 7 p.m. Eastern Time)

Tabiti is a former cruiserweight contender who outpointed Steve Cunningham in 2017, stopped Lateef Kayode in 2018 and then challenged for a vacant title in 2019, only to be knocked out by Yuniel Dorticos. The 34-year-old moved up to heavyweight in 2022 and has gone 1-1, most recently losing a wide decision to Justis Huni. Tabiti, who is originally from Chicago and now calls Las Vegas home, is now 20-2 (16 KOs).

Wright is a 37-year-old from Evanston, Illinois, just north of Chicago. He, like Tabiti, is a former cruiserweight who moved up to heavyweight. Wright’s biggest fights in the 200-pound division were knockout losses to Rakhim Chakhkiev in 2015 and Beibut Shumenov in 2016. Wright’s had a few more defeats since, including a 70-second loss last October to Arslanbek Makhmudov, dropping his record to 20-5-1 (17 KOs).

With this show taking place at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, the card also features a few recognizable names from the City of Brotherly Love, including Hank Lundy, Jesse Hart, and Joey Dawejko. It’s not clear which of them will appear on the pay-per-view.

Saturday, April 27: Angelo Habib vs. Jose Camilo Silva (TrillerTV.com, 9 p.m. Eastern Time) 

Habib, a 27-year-old junior welterweight from Calgary, headlines in his hometown against Silva. Habib is 10-0 (6 KOs). Silva, a 35-year-old from Chiel, is 4-1 (1 KO).

Follow David Greisman on Twitter @FightingWords2. His book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” is available on Amazon.

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