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Written by Ian Wallwork

Rico Ramos considered the underdog by some in his title defence against Guillermo Rigondeaux

* Read the Rico Ramos vs Guillermo Rigondeaux fight report *

On Saturday 20th undefeated super bantamweight Rico Ramos faces Guillermo Rigondeaux in a strange defence of his WBA belt. Why is it strange? Rigondeaux only has eight fights on his record for one. But despite his lack of action, Rigondeaux will give a good fight. I’m going to stick my neck out and say he’ll win. Here’s why.

At 31 and having less than ten fights, you'd think Rigondeaux is a late-comer to the game. Not at all. He is one of the best amateur boxers, staring with an Olympic gold in 2000 and another in 2004. Between 2000-2006, El Chacal won the Cuban national championship seven times, and ended his amateur career with nearly four hundred wins. He’s not short of experience, it's just that most of his came with headgear on.

He made his pro debut in 2009, knocking out made-to-order Juan Noriega in the third round. Most guys wait a while before taking a step up in class, but Rigondeaux took on his first decent opponent in his third fight, where he wiped the floor with Giovanni Andrade. Andrade was no slouch. When he fought Rigondeaux, he’d beaten fifty-nine guys and fought for two world titles. He was there to give him a real test, and Rigondeaux blasted him away in the third round.

Since then he's beaten former-world champion Ricardo Cordoba (37-3-2) and then-unbeaten prospect Willie Casey (11-0). He takes a step up every time he fights, something worlds away from guys like Chavez Jr and Saul Alvarez who peppered their early records fighting pumpkins. Rigondeaux has balls and I honestly think he'd take on anyone.

That’s why he can walk into a title fight with Rico Ramos on a 8-0 record. He knows what he is doing. He hits hard, and finishes things fast. He never stops looking ahead. I usually shake my head at boxers looking past their next fight, but I had to smile when Rigondeaux called out Nonito Donaire. He has a supreme self-confidence, and a lot of people are going to be surprised at how he takes on Ramos.

Ramos' defence against Rigondeaux is tougher than it looks on paper.  
It won’t be a walkover though. Ramos is young and unbeaten with a 20-0 record . He’s knocked out Heriberto Ruiz (44-9-2) and scored a unanimous decision over Alejandro Valdez (24-4-2). In most places, he’s the odds-on favourite for this fight.

Ramos is a starlet in the super bantamweight division and he probably doesn’t like sharing the billing with another prospect. He’s going to want to knock Rigondeaux out and establish a legacy of his own, and that is why this is such an important fight; the winner of Ramos – Rigondeaux is a sure thing to become a star of the lighter weights. They'll probably also get a chance to take on the lower weight P4P king Nonito Donaire, so there is a lot at stake. It’s a fight you need to watch.

On the same night Derry Matthews takes on Emilliano Marsili for the IBO lightweight belt. We last saw Matthews hold Gavin Rees to a draw in October, in a fight that was shaping up to be competitive but ended in the fourth round. Matthews was the underdog but he was looking like he would take it all the way. He could easily have gotten a rematch from Rees, but instead took a gamble of a world title. I’ve got to admire his ambition, and Marsili will be a tough opponent. He’s never lost a fight, but he’s also never had one outside of Italy. But he’s going to Derry Matthew's home turf for this fight, and I think he’ll get his first loss.