Espinoza arrived in the fight as the heavy underdog. He was facing an Olympic gold medal winner looking to put himself in a position to fight Naoya Inoue in the event the Japanese moves up to featherweight. The fight was a thrilling affair, with both boxers trading blows in a spectacle with huge changes of momentum. Espinoza, who was outworking his opponent, dominated the first four rounds. The challenger threw 995 punches in the whole fight, as per Compubox, showing his big output.
The momentum changed in the fifth round. The champion landed a sweeping right hook to send Espinoza to the canvas just as the round came to a close. Despite beating the count, it was the first sign of danger for the challenger.
The following round, however, threw up another twist. Espinoza’s right hand sent Ramirez to the floor, only for the referee to dismiss the knockdown as a slip.
Ramirez continued to rally on as he left fly with numerous combinations in the seventh. But somehow, Espinoza stayed on his feet in a show of determination.
As the fight entered the final stages, there was another turn of events. In the last round, Espinoza managed to throw over 100 punches. The combined pressure sent Ramirez to the canvas just when the fight was almost over. The judges now had the tough task to decide the winner.
The scorecards went in favor of Espinoza, who became the new champion: 115-112, 114-111, 113-113. The victory was all the more impressive, as Espinoza may have broken his foot in the second round. The fight will no doubt be up there as a contender for ‘Fight of the Year.’
“I didn’t think about anything in here. I just thought about winning. I even asked what round we were in. And I knew that I had to drop him in order to win. I just put my heart into it. I always do that. And thank God it happened. I think I’ve had a broken foot since the second round. But what kept me on my feet was my daughter, my parents, my wife and my family. I knew that all of Mexico was watching me. And I knew that I had to become a world champion,” Espinoza
“We did what we always do. We followed what Ismael Salas told us to do. We scored the knockdown and tried to end the fight, but it didn’t happen. I thought the fight was won. But he got his second wind. I tried to catch mine. But I’ve got to give him credit. He came after me. He got the knockdown. I didn’t think it would determine the result, but that’s what the judges decided,” Ramirez