Abel Ramos and Francisco Santana are fighting for shot at the welterweight elite when they meet in a 147-pound showdown Saturday night on PBC on FOX.
The welterweight division is as crowded as it has ever been. Two 147-pounders are hoping there’s enough room to add at least one more name to the mix.
On Saturday night, welterweights Abel Ramos and Francisco Santana square off on the televised undercard of the WBC welterweight world title bout between champion Shawn Porter and Yordenis Ugas, which takes place at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, live on FOX (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT).
This is a huge opportunity for both. The bout was added to the card in mid-February, when the originally scheduled light heavyweight bout between Andrzej Fonfara and Edwin Rodriguez was scrapped when Fonfara retired. Now, Santana and Ramos get a chance to make a statement that the winner deserves to be in the mix for a big fight later this year.
The 32-year-old Santana (25-6-1, 12 knockouts) is the closest to being a hometown fighter on this southern California card, hailing from Santa Barbara and training in Ventura as part of the Knuckleheadz Boxing Gym. Santana was on the verge of possible retirement after back-to-back losses in 2016 and 2017 to Jose Benavidez Jr. and Mahonry Montes. Then, he was an alternate in a WBC-organized tournament, entering as a replacement to score perhaps the biggest win of his career when he outpointed former Olympic gold medalist Felix Diaz last April.
When that tournament fell apart, it allowed Santana to be available to step in to face Ramos on this major FOX card.
“I knew no one was giving me a chance to beat Diaz who was the favorite to win the whole tournament but when I'm overlooked that's when I'm the most dangerous,” Santana said.
Should Santana prevail over Ramos, he’s already ranked by the WBC and could be in the mix for a title shot down the line, in which he would no doubt again be overlooked.
Ramos (23-3-2, 18 KOs) is a former top prospect who experienced a couple of missteps the past few years. First came a 10-round loss to Ivan Baranchyk in an exciting fight in 2017. Two fights later, he lost a majority decision in a nip and tuck affair to favorite Jamal James. He’s since reeled off five wins in Mexico and now has an opportunity to put his name back in the mix.
Ramos possesses excellent boxing ability but can be lured into a firefight, as proven against Baranchyk. In that bout, Ramos worked from the outside until the third, when they began fighting in close quarters and traded knockdowns.
Against Santana, it will be interesting to see if Ramos tries to box, where he might have an advantage, or if the atmosphere and the moment will get the best of him and force him into a slugfest.
Both guys bring an exciting style to the table, and each fighter will be looking to steal the show in Saturday night’s co-feature as they try and separate themselves from the dozens of talented 147-pounders. It’s an evenly-matched fight, evidenced by betting odds that have Santana a slight favorite over the 27-year-old Ramos. Against Baranchyk, Ramos faded down the stretch. Santana is the kind of fighter that has customarily grown stronger as the fight progresses. In a classic crossroads bout, don’t be surprised if we get a classic welterweight throwdown.
For a closer look at Porter vs Ugas, check out our fight night page.