Ramirez rises from canvas, scores seventh-round knockout of Watts

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The ages, dimensions and professional records of Eddie Ramirez and Kevin Watts were nearly identical entering their 142-pound clash Tuesday night. But it didn’t take long for Ramirez to separate himself with his power and an overwhelming, double-fisted body attack.

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Ramirez vs Watts highlights: September 13, 2016

Eddie Ramirez (15-0, 10 KOs) overcame a second-round knockdown—the first of his career—and proceeded to hammer away at Kevin Watts (11-1, 4 KOs) for several rounds before ultimately putting him down and out in the seventh at Robinson Rancheria Resort and Casino in Nice, California.

In collecting his seventh stoppage in his last 10 fights, Ramirez remained undefeated and sent Watts to his first professional loss.

“I’m not happy that I got knocked down in the second round, but I’m happy with the results,” said Ramirez, an Aurora, Illinois, native who outlanded Watts 170-130 overall and closed distance behind an educated up-jab.

“Those body shots hurt, and they will slow you down. So I knew that I was going to continue the bodywork all night long, and that eventually he would break down.”

In what was a matchup of 24-year-old, 5-foot-8 fighters, it was apparent from the start that Ramirez would be the high-volume aggressor and Watts would try to fend off his foe with his speed and counterpunching ability.

Watts’ game plan worked early on, as he used his movement and sharp jab to keep Ramirez at bay. Then midway through the second round, with his back against the ropes and Ramirez bearing down on him, Watts fired a blistering, short right uppercut to the chin that dropped his opponent.

Getting put on his backside for the first time angered Ramirez more than it damaged him.

“It was a flash knockdown, but I got up quickly, knowing that meant I was down on the scorecards,” he said. “I wasn’t seriously hurt or anything. That just woke me up and made me come out stronger, and probably gave me the strength and motivation to win the fight.”

Aside from another solid counter right hand in Round 3 that buzzed Ramirez, the knockdown would prove to be the final highlight of Watts’ night.

With his legs fully under him, Ramirez resumed pressing the action in the middle rounds when he scored with several clean power shots to the head. But it was a relentless body attack that did the telling damage, particularly in the fifth and sixth rounds when Ramirez gained total control of the scheduled 10-round bout.

It was midway through Round 6 when a series of headshots sent Watts crumpling to his knees near the ropes. However, referee Ed Collantes waved off the knockdown, claiming Ramirez dropped Watts with an illegal blow to the back of the head.

“Watts had his head down, and my adrenalin was pumping a thousand miles an hour,” Ramirez said. “I wasn’t trying to hurt him, but that [rabbit punch] was just a reaction from being an aggressive fighter.”

After Watts nearly quit on his stool after the sixth, Ramirez resumed his attack during the decisive seventh, once again bullying the Southern California native into the corner and unleashing a vicious flurry that sent Watts to his knee for a second time.

This time, the knockdown was legit. And this time, Watts didn’t get up, remaining on his right knee as Collantes reached the count of 10, the official end coming at the 1:37 mark.

Having secured his third victory since April 29, Ramirez now is eager to begin making the jump from 140-pound prospect to title contender.

“I’m always preparing as if I’m getting ready for a championship fight,” Ramirez said. “I’ll just continue to train and stay ready, and whenever my manager’s ready to discuss a title fight, I’ll be prepared for the opportunity.”

In other televised action, Mark Anthony Hernandez (9-0, 2 KOs) of Fresno, California, won an eight-round slugfest between 158-pounders, earning a unanimous decision over over Antonio Urista (7-2, 2 KOs) of Lansing, Michigan.

Also, in a 123-pound bout, 6-foot southpaw Leduan Barthelemy (11-0, 6 KOs)—the 27-year-old younger brother of former 135-pound champion Rances Barthelemy—won a disputed split decision over Ricardo Nunez (28-6, 23 KOs) of Panama.

For complete coverage of Ramirez vs Watts, check out our fight page.

Eddie Ramirez and Kevin Watts

Eddie Ramirez (right) used a vicious body assault to break down Kevin Watts en route to a seventh-round knockout in Nice, California. (Linda Sacauskas/Premier Boxing Champions)

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