Knockout win

Casa Grande’s Jesus Ramos has his hand raised in victory after knocking out Rickey Edwards in the third round of a junior welterweight fight Sept. 21, 2019, at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield, Calif. Ramos (13-0, 12 KOs) will fight Naim Nelson (14-4, 1 KO) on Saturday at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES — A string of impressive knockouts is paving the way to stardom for Casa Grande boxer Jesus Ramos.

The 19-year-old will put his undefeated record on the line Saturday in a 144-pound fight against Naim Nelson (14-4, 1 KO) at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The fight will be televised on Fox starting at 5 p.m. Arizona time.

Ramos (13-0, 12 KOs) has displayed prodigious punching power in his short professional career. Twelve of his 13 pro fights have ended with him knocking out his opponent, including his last fight against Esteban Garcia on Sept. 6 at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

After stalking the then-undefeated Garcia in the first round and most of the second, Ramos unleashed a barrage of punches with no response from Garcia late in the second round. The referee stepped in to stop the fight, giving a TKO win to Ramos.

Ramos, speaking to PinalCentral for an episode of the Retro Rewind podcast, said he did not know he would be a power puncher until he climbed into the ring for his first professional fights at age 17.

“My dad (and trainer Jesus Ramos Sr.) would always tell me that I hit hard,” he said Friday from his training camp in Colorado Springs, Colorado. “But I never believed him. I was like, he’s my father, he’s my coach, he has to tell me that, you know?”

Then he started his professional career with eight fights in Mexico, since boxers can’t turn pro in the United States until age 18. All eight of those bouts ended with Ramos knocking out his opponent in quick fashion.

“I never believed it until I was knocking people out,” he said. “And they were going out cold. I started having a little more faith in it. Not necessarily relying on my power, but just having faith in it. Having faith that I can hurt somebody ... Realizing that I have that power and what I can do with it and use it to my benefit has helped my career a lot.”

The knockouts continued to pile up after Ramos turned 18 and started fighting in the U.S. He’s only faced one man in the ring who he did not knock out.

It was his first fight on TV and his first fight in Las Vegas, against Kevin Shacks on June 23, 2019, at the Mandalay Bay. It was a four-round fight, and while Ramos won every round en route to a unanimous decision victory, he did not stop Shacks.

That set the stage for Ramos’ next fight three months later against Rickey Edwards in Bakersfield, California. It was another national TV fight, and Ramos was ready to provide fireworks.

“Kevin Shacks was the only fight that went the distance ... and I was mad,” Ramos said, adding he started to doubt if he was the power puncher everyone said he was. “I had it in the back of my mind, and I trained hard for the Rickey Edwards fight ... I wanted that knockout.”

Edwards had never been knocked out or stopped, entering the fight with a 12-3 record. But Ramos got exactly what he wanted, and then some.

In the third round, he hit Edwards with a hellacious overhand left to the temple. Edwards crumpled to the canvas in what ringside announcers declared a prime candidate for Knockout of the Year.

“I threw everything into that punch,” Ramos said. “All that anger I had from June (against Shacks), it bursted out with that left hand.”

Ramos went on to win his next fight with a sixth-round stoppage of Ramal Amanov in February before dispatching Garcia in short order to improve to 13-0.

Fans love knockouts, and Ramos is giving the fans what they want to see.

He has another chance to show what he’s capable of Saturday.

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Brian Wright is the sports editor at PinalCentral. He can be reached at bwright@pinalcentral.com.