José Luis Ramírez is a retired Mexican boxer….who was a two-time World Lightweight Champion. A native of Huatabampo, Sonora and a resident of Culiacán, Ramírez made his professional debut on March 25, 1973 at the age of 15. He climbed slowly but steadily on boxing’s rankings….and in 1978 as a Featherweight….a young Ramírez lost by knockout for the only time in his career to legendary three time former world champion Rubén Olivares in two rounds.
After his move in weight to the Lightweight division….then 21-year-old Ramírez accumulated a record of 67-2….meeting another boxing legend inside a ring when he fought Alexis Argüello….as Ramírez dropped Argüello for the first time in his career in round six….but lost a disputed ten round split decision. He then faced Ray Mancini for the North American Lightweight belt….losing a 12 round decision in Ohio….another fight seen in Bone Daddy’s boxing video library. By then, Ramírez and Julio César Chávez were gymmates and friends….as Ramírez won his following 10 bouts and on May 1, 1983….he was given the chance at becoming world Lightweight champion for the first time, when he fought Puerto Rican Edwin “El Chapo” Rosario at the Coliseo Roberto Clemente in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for the World Boxing Council (WBC) championship. Ramírez lost a close 12 round unanimous decision….but on November 4, of 1984….he and Rosario had a rematch. After rising from two knockdowns….Ramírez rallied back to stagger Rosario in the third round. With Rosario pinned against a corner and Ramírez attacking, referee Steve Crosson stopped the bout in round four….after Ramírez had landed 17 straight punches….thus making Ramírez a world Lightweight champion for the first time by a technical knockout. The fight was named the 1984 Ring Magazine fight of the year.
Ramírez then went into training for a defense against Héctor Camacho….another boxer from Puerto Rico. The fight was postponed when Camacho suffered a broken ankle during a pick up basketball game….but it finally came off on August 10, 1985. On his first fight telecast on HBO Boxing, Ramírez was dropped in round three and lost a 12 round unanimous decision.
Ramírez, a culturally intellectual person, moved to Paris, France soon after. There, he re-grouped and was able to regain the WBC’s world championship when Camacho left it vacant in 1987….by edging out Terrence Alli with another close but unanimous 12 round decision….in a great fight as seen in this video herewith. In his first title defense….he defeated former champion Cornelius Boza Edwards by fifth round knock out. In his second defense….he was awarded a 12 round split decision victory against future multiple world champion Pernell Whitaker. The consensus among both media and fans was that Whitaker deserved to win the fight…the resulting decision to this day….ranks at the top or in the top 5 of virtually everyone’s list of most controversial ever in boxing.
Back in Mexico, he and Chávez were neighbors. Chávez had lifted the World Boxing Association’s world Lightweight championship by beating Rosario, and a unification bout between the two friends and neighbors was planned. Ramírez, who is a godfather to one of Chávez’s sons, lost an 11 round technical decision to Chávez on October 29 of 1988, which marked the last day he would be a world champion. In 1989, he tried to win the International Boxing Federation (IBF) belt from Whitaker….but he lost a 12 round decision. Then, in 1990, he returned to France….where he lost to Juan Martin Coggi by a decision in 12 for the WBA’s world Jr. Welterweight title….retiring after the bout.
In 2003, Ring magazine placed Ramirez on their list of the 100 greatest punchers of all time…..with his career boxing record at 102-9 (82 KOs).