Eddie Ramirez and Kevin Watts have a lot in common—from their age to their height to their unbeaten records to their status as rising 140-pound prospects.
But the most significant thing they share heading into their eight-round brawl Tuesday night at Robinson Rancheria Resort and Casino in Nice, California, (Fox Sports 1, 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) is unfamiliarity with one another.
“All I know is that he’s undefeated,” Ramirez says of Watts. “I’ve seen maybe two clips of him, so we’re going to have to go in there and figure him out. But we should be fine for whatever he brings to the ring.”
Says Watts: “I’ve only seen him one time. But from what I’ve seen, I’ve noticed a lot of flaws in his game.”
While Ramirez and Watts may not have previously crossed paths, the 24-year-olds who were born six weeks apart have traveled parallel roads to get to this juncture in their careers. Both turned pro in 2013—Watts in June, Ramirez in November—and both began building their unbeaten records against similarly raw professionals.
If there’s one significant difference in their résumés, however, it’s that Watts has consistently taken on young prospects—his most seasoned opponent had 20 fights under his belt—while Ramirez in recent years has challenged older foes, including several on the downside of their careers.
But the Aurora, Illinois, native has taken care of business against those veterans, having dispatched 35-year-old Osumanu Akaba (32-9-1) by second-round TKO on April 29 three fights after shutting out 38-year-old former world champion Cristobal Cruz last September.
“We’re the same age, but the people we’ve fought are completely different,” says Watts, who, like Ramirez, stands 5-foot-8. “He’s fought mainly older opponents, while I’ve fought guys who are around my age. So this time he gets to fight someone his age.”
Watts is more of a boxer-puncher who possesses less power than Ramirez, but he his coming off a fifth-round TKO of previously once-beaten Michal Chudecki on March 15. It was his second stoppage win his last three outings.
And while the Los Angeles native might not know a lot about his opponent, Watts believes he has sense for how the fight will play out.
“I’m pretty sure [Ramirez] knows I’m going to use footwork, and I think he’s going to try to cut the ring off,” he says. “But I’m not going to let him get that advantage.”
Ramirez has stopped six of his last nine opponents, but his last fight was the longest of his career, as he went 10 rounds with Jessie Roman (then 20-2) on July 9 in Trenton, New Jersey, earning a lopsided unanimous decision.
The performance followed the quick knockout of Akaba, with both bouts showing one of Ramirez’s strengths: He’s a versatile fighter who is capable of adapting quickly depending on the style of the fight.
“I’m more of a counterpuncher, but I do whatever I can to try to win,” he says. “Sometimes I have to box, sometimes I have to slug it out. I try to do a little bit of everything.”
Ramirez and Watts—who weighed in Monday at 141.8 and 141.2 pounds, respectively—each expressed excitement at getting their first opportunity to headline a fight card on national television. They also expressed a lot of confidence, with each man insisting his perfect record will remain intact.
“[Watts] should’ve thought twice before agreeing to the fight, because he’s in for a tough fight,” Ramirez says. “I’m going to give it everything I have in the ring.”
Countered Watts: “I know I’m going to see his ‘A’ game, and he’s going to see my ‘A’ game. I’ve heard some people say they think I’m going to lose. I’m here to prove them wrong.”
For complete coverage of Ramirez vs Watts, visit our fight page.