This Saturday and Sunday night two of the most popular young fighters return in stay-busy fights. Gervonta Davis was supposed to face 3-weight titlist Abner Mares until Mares pulled out due to a detached retina injury. Instead Davis will fight Hugo Ruiz as a late replacement. On Sunday, Jose Ramirez takes on Jose Zepeda in Ramirez’s backyard of Fresno, California on ESPN. Neither bout screams must-see but let’s hope for the fans sake we get action-style TV fights. The month of February, as far as the boxing schedule goes, leaves less to be desired from a main event point of view. Boxing fans are mainly left with competitive bouts on the undercards until early spring when boxing will heat back up.

A 140-pound WBC belt-holder, Jose Ramirez is well known in Fresno, continually becoming a real ticket seller with a style to match. Ultimately time will tell just how high of a ceiling Ramirez has but in the meantime it sure will be fun watching him. Ramirez’s opponent Jose Zepeda has a record of 30-1 with 25 knockouts. Zepeda’s only loss came by way of shoulder injury in the second round versus Terry Flanagan. Jose Zepeda’s flashy record is nowhere near what it’s seems on the surface. Beyond Flanagan and a few decent veteran fighters, his best opponent might’ve been Carlos Ramirez, another boxer with an inflated record.

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Zepeda does have some ability as a counter puncher so there is a chance the early part of this fight could be at least interesting to watch. How long does it take Jose to cut off the ring and attack the body? Defense being a weakness for Ramirez, maybe Zepeda can land flush and score points in the first half.

At the end of the day, Zepeda serves a purpose and that is to get out early in the year to set up a bigger fight in the summer for Ramirez. In his last two outings Ramirez has gone to full 12-rounds, so one can assume this fight may not go the distance but also shouldn’t be a complete pushover.

My Official Prediction is Jose Ramirez by mid-to-late stoppage. 

Gervonta Davis shouldn’t have too many problems with a game but undersized Hugo Ruiz, not in stature per say but in weight class. Ruiz’s best work and most comfortable weight came under the featherweight division. Ruiz competed at bantamweight and super bantamweight for the vast majority of his career.

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Ruiz definitely has power but will it translate up to junior lightweight? Hugo has fought the likes of Koki Kameda, Julio Ceja, and Hozumi Hasegawa, which would prepare Ruiz for many quality 126 and 122 pounders. Stylistically, Ruiz is capable of putting up a decent fight, but at some point the weight, skill, and ‘Tanks’ power will prove to be too much. This fight will be a barnburner if Gervonta fights like he did as a prospect, which is face first. If Davis comes out more calculated as he did against Jesus Cuellar, he will walk right on thru Hugo.

My Official Prediction is Gervonta Davis by 5th round knockout. 

Side Note: Showtime’s undercard has several intriguing matchups including Erickson Lubin vs. Ishe Smith, Javier Fortuna vs. Sharif Bogere, & Eddie Ramirez vs. Juan Heraldez. On the ESPN & ESPN+ undercard keep an eye on Servania vs. Castro, Beltran vs. Okada, & Vences vs. Zenunaj.

Written by Chris Carlson Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio & TheGruelingTruth.Net. Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio