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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Local ref lands Pacquiao-Clottey fight

Pacquiao vs Clottey, Pacquiao vs Clottey News, Pacquiao vs Clottey Online Live Streaming, Pacquiao vs Clottey Updates, Road to Dallas Pacquiao vs Clottey by HBO
Pacquiao vs Clottey
by John Whisler

San Antonio referee Rafael Ramos says being assigned to work Saturday's Manny Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey pay-per-view fight at Cowboys Stadium is the highlight of his career.

Yet Ramos knows if he's doing his job properly, no one will know he's there.

“Fans don't pay to see me,” he said.

It's a philosophy all officials acknowledge but not all of them embrace. Some like to put their imprint on a bout when it's not warranted, irritating fighters and fans alike.

Ramos doesn't do that, which is a major reason the 53-year-old native of Puerto Rico has become one of the top ring officials not only in the nation, but also the world.

One of his biggest fans is veteran matchmaker Wayne Harrison of Fort Worth.

“He's a world-class referee,” Harrison said. “He knows what it means to be neutral, when to step in and when not to. He does a very professional job.”

Ramos was not the first choice for Saturday's main event. The World Boxing Organization, the sanctioning body whose title belt will be at stake, wanted Laurence Cole as referee.

But William Kuntz, executive director for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, which oversees boxing in the state, reportedly overruled and assigned the fight to Ramos.

That probably was a good move. While Cole also is a top referee, he carries some baggage. He's been involved in a couple of controversial, high-profile fights, including one in 2006 that resulted in a fine and suspension for Cole.

To boot, Cole is the son of longtime state boxing coordinator Dickie Cole, so with eyes of the boxing world focused on Arlington on Saturday, Kuntz no doubt wanted the attention on the fight and not the choice of referee.

Ramos says he's looking forward to the big event. A crowd of more than 40,000 is expected.

“Manny Pacquiao is the No. 1 fighter in the world,” he said. “Jerry Jones, the Dallas Cowboys. That alone is reason to be excited.”

Ramos is no stranger to the big stage.

Since his first pro bout in 1987 in Toscana, Italy, Ramos has refereed more than 300 fights and 50 world title fights, in places such as Japan (20 times), Korea, Thailand, France, Germany, Spain and Panama.

Prior to Saturday, his biggest assignment came Feb. 28, 2009, when he refereed the Juan Diaz-Juan Manuel Marquez world title fight in Houston in what was considered by many as the fight of the year.

Ramos was praised for his work in the fight.

“You have to be honest with yourself and the fighter,” Ramos said. “You have to allow the fighters to fight as long as they stay within the rules. And you have to be consistent.”

Morales on card: One San Antonio fighter is scheduled to appear on Saturday's non-televised undercard.

Joe Morales (20-13, 4 KOs), who trains under Tony Ayala Sr. at Zarzamora Street Gym, is set to take on Michael Farenas (26-2-3, 23 KOs), a southpaw from the Philippines, in an eight-round featherweight matchup.

“This is a great opportunity,” said Morales, 35, who will earn $6,000 for the fight. “I can say I was one of the first ones to fight at Cowboys Stadium.”

Morales' record is nothing to write home about, but he has fought tough competition that includes Joel Casamayor, Zahir Raheem, Rocky Juarez and Joan Guzman.

Morales is coming off a win Nov. 6 in Laredo when he beat Idelfonso Martinez in a 10-round decision.


Opening flurry

Saturday’s fight card at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington (pay-per-view bouts only):

- Manny Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 KOs) vs. Joshua Clottey (35-3, 21 KOs), 12 rounds, WBO welterweight title

- David Diaz (35-2-1, 17 KOs) vs. Humberto Soto (50-7-2, 32 KOs), WBC interim lightweight title

- John Duddy (28-1, 18 KOs) vs. Michael Medina (22-1-2, 17 KOs), 10 rounds, middleweights

- Alfonso Gomez (21-4-2, 10 KOs) vs. Jose Luis Castillo (60-9-1, 52 KOs), 10 rounds, welterweights

Straight shots

Title fight in S.A.? A Paul Williams-Kermit Cintron world junior middleweight title fight is in the works for May 8, and San Antonio is in the running to host it.

Regional promoter Lester Bedford of Fort Worth said he submitted a proposal Friday to Williams’ promoter Dan Goossen to bring the fight to San Antonio.

Bedford said the fight, to be televised on HBO, likely would be at the Alamodome.

Toney tries MMA: Former super middleweight and cruiserweight champion James Toney is switching from boxing to mixed martial arts.

Toney, 41, signed a multifight deal with UFC this past week. Former football star Herschel Walker won his Strikeforce debut on Jan. 30, and former boxer Ricardo Mayorga is scheduled to make his MMA debut May 15.

King denies rumors: Promoter Don King has denied rumors that Mike Tyson, age 43, has signed to fight 47-year-old Evander Holyfield for a third time, later this year.

But the promoter didn’t deny that a Tyson comeback was in the works. Tyson (50-6, 44 KOs) has not fought since he retired following a loss in 2005 to Kevin McBride.

Yankee Stadium comeback: Boxing is making a return to Yankee Stadium, where icons such as Muhammad Ali and Joe Louis once plied their trade.

WBA junior middleweight champion Yuri Foreman will defend his title against former welterweight champ Miguel Cotto on June 5 at the year-old ballpark in the Bronx.

Local notebook

Scholarship recipient: Armando Cardenas of Angel’s Boxing Club has been named the winner of the first Caesar A. Cano Memorial Scholarship.

The $2,000 award was given Thursday night at the Real Estate Council of San Antonio’s annual “Fight Night” fundraiser.

Cardenas won one of the three amateur bouts held that night. Other winners were Mark Martinez of Angel’s and Estefania Ibarra of TNT Boxing Club.

OJ fight set: Omar Gonzales Jr. (1-3) of San Antonio is scheduled to fight Gino Escamilla (5-7-1, 2 KOs) on March 26 in Laredo.

Suarez loses: Eloy Suarez (11-8-1, 5 KOs) of San Antonio lost to Carson Jones (25-7-1, 15 KOs) of Oklahoma City in a five-round unanimous decision Jan. 28 in Oklahoma City.


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