Jose Ramirez learned a painful lesson in his loss to Josh Taylor on Saturday in Las Vegas.
The now-former 140-pound champion bemoaned the manner in which he handled clinches, one of which resulted in the second of two knockdowns that turned out to be the difference in the scoring in the title-unification bout.
When the fighters became entangled, Ramirez said, he would back out with his guard down because he believed referee Kenny Bayless intended to stop the action. Instead, Taylor fought out of the breaks and landed punches.
“It’s unfortunate that I wasn’t aware, that I didn’t learn from my mistakes during the clinches,” said Ramirez, whose face was badly swollen after the fight. “I think I left it to referee to do his job. [Taylor] took advantage of some of those clinches.”
He added: “I feel like I landed some clean shots. It just came down to those clinches. He’d let his hands go as soon as he got the chance. Again, I think I left it to the referee to do his part. It was a lack of experience on my part.”
Taylor (18-0, 13 KOs) put Ramirez (26-1, 17 KOs) down with a counter left in Round 6 and a left uppercut as the fighters stepped back from a clinch in Round 7. The second shot seemed to hurt Ramirez, although he denied it.
The two points Ramirez lost as result of the knockdowns gave Taylor the victory and all four major junior welterweight belts. He won 114-112 on all three cards, meaning the fight would’ve ended in a 114-114 draw had Ramirez remained on his feet.
Ramirez outworked Taylor in the final four rounds, winning three of them on two cards and all four on the third.
“I got up [from the knockdowns] and tried to give it my best, stay smart,” he said. “I was never hurt. I was aware of the flash knockdowns. I was disappointed every time. I tried to shake it off, get back to my rhythm.
“Overall, it was a good fight. Hopefully, I’ll get back and learn from my mistakes. You win some and you lose some. I’m just glad I get to enjoy my family afterward and make it this far in my career.”
Ramirez was asked what might lie ahead for him but he deflected the question, saying only that he would discuss it with trainer Robert Garcia at some point.
“We’ll see where I find myself,” said Ramirez, who lives in California’s Central Valley. “I just want to enjoy my family, get back home. … I’m going to finish my career with the Garcias. I’m sure they’ll help guide me on the correct path. I put my trust in them.”
He then expressed the emotion that comes with such a setback.
“I’m a little disappointed,” he said. “I really wanted to win. I’m disappointed as a competitor, not as a sore loser. It’s just the competitor in my that’s disappointed that I lost. I’m not disappointed that I made it this far.”