Jesus Ramos took a moment to contemplate the period of time in his life, before a smile appeared across his face as he remembered how much it influenced him.
Without it, he likely would not be at the cusp of stardom, like he is now.
Jesus, who at 22-years-old and 19-0 has emerged as one of boxing’s fastest-rising prospects, challenges fellow undefeated prospect Joey Spencer (16-0) as the co-main event in a 10-round super welterweight clash on the Caleb Plant-David Benavidez card Saturday night (9 p.m. Eastern) at MGM Grand Garden Arena on Showtime PPV.
It’ll be a full-family affair in Las Vegas.
Jesus’ uncle and longtime contender, Abel Ramos (27-5-2), squares off with undefeated challenger Cody Crowley (21-0) in a 12-round WBC welterweight title eliminator to open the PPV card.
Jesus Ramos, right, and Abel Ramos are both fighting on the same card Saturday night. Courtesy of Rhonda Costa/Showtime
On top of that, both Jesus and Abel are trained by Abel’s brother (and Jesus’ father), Jesus Sr.
“[Abel] was a huge inspiration,” Jesus told The Post. “I was with him for all the local shows in Phoenix, small fights, but it was big to us, my uncle being a pro. And he was fighting small fights, small cards, but in my mind, being little and just looking at him, it was like he was fighting big [events]. It really inspired me, I would come home after his fights and just sit in my room shadow boxing. Stay in my room shadow boxing, imagining me in his shoes.”
The three of them held training camp together at their home gym, the Ramos Boxing Academy, in Case Grande, Ariz.
It’s been the most important camp of Jesus’ burgeoning career so far.
As the stakes keep elevating with each new fight and opponent, Jesus wouldn’t want to be surrounded by anybody else.
His team, and family, around him are what provide him his critical edge.
“Being that they’re family, I think it’s different because I can trust them a lot more, and I know they’re there for me,” Jesus said. “It’s always fun in the gym, we’re always joking, it’s always good vibes. I think that’s just the positive edge for the both of us.
Jesus Ramos punches Luke Santamaria during his most recent bout. Getty Images
“We’re all in the sport, we all understand when it’s time to work. Between us, my father and Abel and all of us, we know what we need to do, the work that we need to put in.”
Jesus has hardly been challenged inside the ring, and has stormed his way up the super welterweight division’s rankings.
He’s ranked No. 7 in the WBC rankings, No. 8 in the WBA rankings, No. 9 in the WBO rankings and No. 13 in the IBF rankings.
Jesus Ramos, left, trains with his father Jesus Sr. ahead of his bout against Joey Spencer.Courtesy of Rhonda Costa/Showtime
He turned pro at just 17-years-old, fighting against adults in Mexico to start his career.
The early start has allowed Jesus to rise to title contention at such a young age, and before most of his counterparts would be in position for the same opportunities.
It also prepared Jesus for anything that might come his way.
Oftentimes in his early-career fights, Jesus reminisced, he would weigh in on Friday only to find out he had a different opponent on Saturday.
“He’s gonna be great,” Abel, who has been in professional boxing for 12 years and knows well what awaits Jesus, told The Post. “He’s gonna accomplish anything he puts his mind to. He’s very, very talented. He’s young, but he’s been in the ring for so long he looks like a veteran inside the ring. He’s got the talent. He’s got the drive.”
The next step for Jesus is crucial in his ambition – going from a rising star to removing “star” from that title, and just being a star in the sport.
He faces strong competition within the division in that quest, as up-and-comers Sebastian Fundora, Xander Zayas and Tim Tszyu share the same desires.
That’s why Jesus is taking on opponents like Spencer, who he knows can help him prove his readiness.
Both will attempt to stake their claim as the future of the division.
“It definitely is the biggest one of my career so far,” Jesus said. “I’ve fought on big cards but it’s a big fight all around. It’s a big fight card, it’s a big fight for me and the co-main is also a huge step up.
“We’re both undefeated, that’s for a reason. We’re both talented. Talent can only take you so far in this career. It’s gonna be who wants it more, who worked harder, who ran that extra mile, and who did the extra things.”
Abel Ramos punches Omar Figueroa during his win on May 1, 2021. Getty Images
In his own bout, Abel has an opportunity to launch himself right back into title opportunities.
At 31-years-old and coming off two losses in his two of his last three fights, it’s likely now or never for Abel to earn what’s most eluded his fan-friendly career – a belt.
Abel has proven he’s agonizingly close to that desire, but hasn’t been able to get over the hump.
He lost a razor-thin split decision to Yordenis Ugas in 2020 with a chance to win the WBA welterweight title.
It’s now or never for Abel Ramos to get another crack at a title opportunity. Courtesy of Rhonda Costa/Showtime
In a valiant effort, he lost via corner retirement in the eighth round in 2015 to Regis Prograis, who has since gone on to become the WBC light welterweight champion.
Though there was not a title on the line, Abel beat former WBC lightweight champion Omar Figueroa via corner retirement in the sixth round in 2021, proving he has what it takes to defeat champions.
On what will be a special night for his family, Abel now hopes he can create a special night for himself and earn one more crack at a title.
“Coming so close, knowing I can give a lot more, I just got to break that mentality,” Abel said. “I think that’s what I’ve been doing this training camp. I’ve been going hard. I’ve been getting away from that mentality that I can’t go anymore. I’m going to keep pushing.
“I want to show that I’m still growing. It’s not the best that I can be. This fight I want to show everything that I can be in boxing. That I took everything, all the losses, all the wins, all the experience that I got. That I took all that and I learned from it.”