New Mexico Boxing

Grudge Match!
Brady and Ramirez Mix It Up for State’s Top Middleweight Spot

text & photos by chris cozzone

In the last year, Joseph “the Assassin” Brady has been able to battle a bit of respect out of New Mexican fight fans. What started with a win over Jo Jo Varela, then continued with Nito Bravo and then Chris Linson, Jr., Brady dispelled the disbelievers with solid wins over tough opposition.

But, it seems, New Mexican fight fans are never content until a prospect has worked his way up by taking out all other state contenders anywhere near their own weight class. For Joseph Brady, that meant two names: “Amazing” Adriano Sanchez and Jose “the Goose” Ramirez.

After crushing losses on ESPN2 last summer, both Sanchez and Ramirez dropped off the map, just as Brady sped by, taking out tough opposition and becoming the state’s #1 Middleweight.

Sanchez’s career is still on hiatus . . . but the Goose has returned. With a change in trainers—from Melcor Chavez to Luis Chavez at San Jo—and a comeback win over cruiserweight Sergio Vasquez last month in Pojoaque, Ramirez has his sight on a successful restoration of a career that’s given him a “.500” status record at 9-8 with 6 KO’s. As Brady has done, Ramirez is out to carve himself a bit of respect—and what better way then to take out the undefeated prospect, the newly-crowned WBC FecarBox champ, Joseph Brady?

It was a fight that almost happened in November. Brady vs. Ramirez was set as the main event on a Sky City card when, just two weeks before the fight, Ramirez pulled out due to health problems. The card was cancelled (and rescheduled for December with Brady against Bravo) with the Goose’s rep, tarred and feathered.

Ramirez has made restitution. Earlier this week, when Brady’s opponent, Marquez Reed of Dallas, pulled out with a broken hand, Ramirez got the call from matchmaker Leonard Fresquez and decided to accept after talking with his trainers, despite fighting strep throat the week before—an affliction he says he’s kept in check with medication. The next morning, Ramirez met with his trainers Luis and Rudy Chavez and they decided to take the challenge.

Everybody has been wanting to see this fight happen,” says Ramirez. “There’s not one fight fan in New Mexico who hasn’t wanted to see it. I feel I’m ready now and I owe it to myself. “I also owe it to Brady.”

Ramirez says he was disappointed when he had to pull out last November, and it’s been at the top of his list of goals to get another shot at Brady. Things always work out for the best, he says; the Jose Ramirez who would’ve fought Brady last November is a different fighter than the one who will enter the ring Saturday night:

“I have a different trainer now and I feel good, I feel comfortable,” says Ramirez. “I’m learning how to box instead of just brawling. Melcor [Chavez] used to say ‘Go in there and throw.’ Now the attack is a planned one.”

The new “Ramirez Game Plan” no longer includes taking fights on short notice—which Goose was notorious for. Why then, jump in against Brady on three days notice?

“My trainer, Luis, made a point,” says Ramirez. “Sometimes you have to take these short notice fights. Sometimes, those are the fights you want. And this is the fight I wanted.

“This is a hate fight. I don’t like him and he don’t like me. In reality, it’s a sport. But sometimes, you got to step in and take matters into your own hands.”

Despite the short notice, Ramirez says he’s 100% ready to fight Saturday night—and that includes getting down to the agreed-upon weight of 161. Ramirez last fought at 176 but has since been dieting. At the time he was offered the fight with Brady, he was just under 170, and on Thursday, was 163.

“It may be short notice, but fighting Brady has always been in the mix,” says Ramirez. “Training has included lots of ‘What If’s?’ and that meant fighting southpaws as well as fighting Brady, specifically. We know it would happen before the year ended.”

Despite the short notice, and Brady’s loss-free record, Ramirez says the advantages are his:

“I have height, weight and the bigger reach on Brady. He’s coming up in weight, although I’ve heard he has trouble making 154 so the advantage may be less there. But I’m a bigger fighter and I think I have more fighting experience. He may have a longer amateur career, but I have 15 years as a kickboxer behind me. I’ve been in the fight game since I was 5.

“As far as I’m concerned, this is Brady’s first test. His last two fights, he was fighting blown-up 140 pounders, or less. Those guys were top-notch fighters at their weight, but not at 154. I’m the first one he’s fought who has his height. Plus, I can hit a hell of a lot harder. ”

The fight is scheduled for ten rounds but Ramirez says it will not go the distance.

“The fight will not go ten. I’ve got my game plan I’ll stick to, although if he thinks he’s gonna brawl, I’ll hold the door open for him—sure, c’mon in! But I doubt it. He’ll stay on the outside and run.

“There’s so much hatred, so much tension around this fight. I wish him the best but that’s it. This is my fight. I’ve got my own plans and that includes a win. I’m not just an opponent.”

A fight ending in a stoppage is one of two things Jose Ramirez and Joseph Brady agree on—only, as expected, the “Assassin” sees it going his way:

“I see it going into the later rounds,” says Brady. “I want to see what he brings to the table. I’ll weather the storm and then take him out later.”

The other item in agreement is the dislike between fighters.

“It’s a grudge match,” Brady admits. “There’s a lot at stake and neither one of us want to lose. There’s a lot of rivalry in this fight and both of us want to win bad.”

Despite the disappointment Brady felt when he heard Marquez Reed had pulled out, the chance to fight Ramirez has boosted his motivation.

“I wanted to fight Marquez just to see what type of fighter he was,” says Brady. “But when they said it’d be Goose, I knew I’d be looking forward to fighting even more, because of the rivalry. I like this fight better. And it’s a fight everyone wants to see.”

Brady says Reed would’ve been a good test for him, but Ramirez is a tougher one.

“Both fights are tough fights, but the Goose is tougher, I think because of the weight issue. He’s a big guy. I know he’s gonna dry out but by the time we step into the ring, he’ll be a light heavyweight. But if I can beat a guy like that, it’s a good step up for me, at the state level.”

Because it’s a grudge match—and also due to the outcome of the last grudge match, the Payne vs. Lovato fiasco last October—Brady says he expects a “good, clean fight.”

“I expect him to come at me hard but I’m up to the challenge,” he says. “This will not be a repeat of Payne vs. Lovato. There’ll be no DQ. There will be a clean outcome, with no questions asked who the better man is.”

Brady has been training to box Reed at all times. The game plan hasn’t changed all that much against Ramirez:

“For Reed, I was planning to box a lot, and not go toe-to-toe. And to wear him down, round by round. With the Goose, I know there will be a time when I’ll have to go toe-to-toe with him. But, overall, he’s bigger and stronger so I’ll stick to boxing. I want to box, box, box . . . use different angles and keep him off-balance. Avoid going toe-to-toe.”

Despite the outcome—either an upset win for Ramirez resulting in Brady’s first loss; or the evening out of Ramirez’s 9-8 record back to .500 status—one thing remains certain, and that there remains the promise of one hell of a fight.

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