The way veteran boxing promoter Bob Arum sees it, his fighters Jose Ramirez and Alex Saucedo will “sell out Staples Center” in the near future.
“It will be a dream fight,” Arum says.
The junior-welterweights are bound for separate title bouts by the end of October, and in a joint conference call with the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday, they professed their mutual interest in touting their collision course.
After engaging Ramirez’s manager in a Twitter feud in which he accused Ramirez of fighting “bums,” Saucedo (28-0, 18 knockouts) said: “To me, there’s nothing personal. He’s the champion. That’s who you want to fight. We’ll make it personal in the ring.”
Ramirez (22-0, 16 KOs) has been maligned for taking his first World Boxing Council 140-pound title defense against a pedestrian opponent, Danny O’Connor, who ultimately had to withdraw due to weight cutting issues earlier this month.
On top of that, the Central California fighter balked at participating in the World Boxing Super Series’ 140-pound competition that includes a gifted talent from New Orleans, Regis Prograis (22-0, 19 KOs).
“There’s a guy in front of me who’s 27-0. That’s who I should focus on,” Ramirez said of his scheduled Sept. 14 opponent at Fresno’s SaveMart Arena, unbeaten Antonio Orozco of San Diego. “We’ll do something special for the fans.
“If I defend my title, there’s a unification fight and then the tournament will be over and I can fight the winner. The WBSS doesn’t decide the best fighter. It’s just a great tournament for guys who don’t have the opportunities that I already have.”
Saucedo, who’s managed by a group led by Hollywood producer-director Peter Berg and actor Mark Wahlberg and trained by Abel Sanchez, also sat out the WBSS in order to pursue a shot at World Boxing Organization champion Maurice Hooker (24-0-3) of Texas.
That bout is expected to happen in October, with Arum and Hooker promoter Eddie Hearn bound for a purse bid to settle who stages the fight.
“I know Hooker. We sparred in Dallas at the beginning of my career. Once we go in the fight, it will be a lot different,” Saucedo said. “I’m at the stage where it’s time to fight champions.”
Ramirez’s manager, Rick Mirigian, differed with that after watching Saucedo post a hard-fought seventh-round technical knockout of weathered Lenny Zappavigna on June 30.
After the bout, Mirigian advised Saucedo to never call out Ramirez again, tweeting that Saucedo’s taunts sound like they’re emanating from “the drunk uncle in the family.”
Saucedo answered on Twitter: “Shut your big … mouth and let your fighter who keeps fighting bums do the talking. There’s mandatories for you guys to fight, yet you keep choosing bums. I’ll go to your backyard and take you and Ramirez out any day.”
The joint conversation was far less tense this week.
“I’m ready for what they give us,” Saucedo said.
Ramirez makes no apologies for following the boxing-business direction of Arum.
“Others are using names -- my name – to sell themselves. I’m not that type of guy. I fight for Bob Arum and he has commitments to ESPN. I’m more solid. I have to focus on what Top Rank has before me and Alex has to focus on Hooker,” Ramirez said.
“If [Saucedo] gets his belt, I have my belt so that’ll be one of the easier fights to make happen since we’re both with [Arum’s] Top Rank. I’m not a fighter who denies or chooses my opponent. I’m blessed I have a team that works hard and I became a world champion because of it.