Alex Ramos was a 4 time New York Golden Gloves champion in the 70's, and in the early 80's. During one of the middleweight divisions golden era's, he was selected as one of NBC's "Tommrow's Champions". A group of tough talented fighters and Alex was one of the best of the bunch. At a time before there were 15 "world champions" per division Alex rose through the ranks and won the USBA middleweight title. I discovered Alex Ramos Retired Boxers Foundation and asked him if he'd answer a few questions about his career, he generously accepted and answered everything I threw at him openly and honestly.
Alex Ramos has also established a foundation to help retired boxers
and boxers who have hit hard times deal with life after the cheering
has stopped. Please visit the website, where you will find all the
information about the foundation and if possible donate to this
very worthy cause.
Frisco - OK, First Question Alex. You were a four time New York Golden
Gloves Champion. As a former amatuer boxer myself I know thats a big
deal. Who were some of the fighters you fought in those days that we
Alex Ramos - I fought a number of fighters who would go on to be world
champions. As an amateur, I fought Jose Gomez, a world amateur champion
and olympic champion from Cuba; Duane Thomas, world champion. I also
fought Tony Ayala twice as an amateur, winning one and losing one. I also
fought Mike "The Body Snatcher" McCallum who was a three-time world
champion. I beat him in the New York Golden Gloves semi-finals. If I had
lost, I would have been on that plane with the olympic team which went
to Warsaw, Poland, for the USA against the world fighters. As you know,
that plane crashed killing everyone on board. I also fought Juan Roldan,
who I knocked unconcious in the first round. He was the only guy to knock
down Marvin Hagler in a controversial 10th round knockdown. In addition,
I fought Everett Conklin, J.B. Williams (a light heavyweight champion)
and Jeff McCracken.
Frisco - After such a long accomplished amatuer career was it hard to
make the transition to pro? I ask because guys like Mark Breland though
he had success as a pro always seemed to have a very amatuer style that
in part, I think was due to him staying a amatuer for so long and having
so many fights.
Alex Ramos - It wasn't difficult for me to make the transition from
amateur to pro because I always had a professional style because of my
training. The only thing that changed was training to handle the
additional rounds. I had to train more for endurance after I turned pro.
Frisco - Was there as much boxing politics involved in the big time
amatuer game as there seems to be at the pro level?
Alex Ramos - Yes, indeed! The politics in both the amateur and the
professional fight game are the same level of intensity. The stakes are
much higher in the pro's because the pro level is more about money where
as the amateurs are more about making a name. In both amateur and
professional fights, it's still about "who you know" which is the basis
of the politics.
Frisco - When You turned pro in 1980 you were a member of NBC's "Tommrows
Champions", There were a lot of fighters from that group that went on
to make big names for themselves Like Tony Ayala, Davey Moore, Bobby
Czyz, and Johnny Bumphas. How did you get involved in that, and what did
you think of all the attention some of the guys like Czyz got compaired
to how you were treated?
Alex Ramos - There were only eight "Tomorrow's Champions" and Bobby Czyz
wasn't one of them. The confusion about Bobby being one of the eight was
because my manager, Shelly Finkel, was working with Lou Duva, who was
Bobby's Manager. I love Bobby Czyz and he was a great fighter. Bobby and
I were stable-mates. KO Magazine picked us "head-to-head" and picked me
3 to 1 to beat him. The bottom line is that I was always proud to be one
of "Tomorrow's Champions" and was never envious of any of the guys. We
were all very tight.
Frisco - When You beat Norberto Sabater it seemed to me you were on your
way, then you fought Wayne Capplette and you destroyed him. You were
looking pretty awesome at the time and people started mentioning you as
one of the top young guns. You Next faced a guy who had no business
beating you Ted Sanders, yet he did. I've always wanted to ask you, Alex
what happened in that fight? How could Sanders beat you?
Alex Ramos - Sanders beat me because I didn't take care of myself. It was
my infamous "battle with Cupid!" I was paying more attention to a woman
than I was to the bout. They always say that "women weaken legs" and I
am living proof that it's true. I had no legs after round 2.
Frisco - What was the deal with him not showing for the scheduled
rematch? I remember at the time you walked in the ring and grabbed the
mic shrugged your shoulders and said "What can I say he's a coward". Were
you ever given a reasonable reason why he no showed? It seemed to me your
management should have been anxious to get that one on.
Alex Ramos - Sanders didn't show up for the fight in Fort Lauderdale,
Florida, but he did show up the day before the media interviews. He saw
me and I was in "Granite!" shape. He turned around and flew back home. It
was the first time on national TV that a fighter punked out.
Frisco - In your next Fight after the Sanders loss you faced Tony Cerda,
who was a tough guy but agian he held you to a draw why during this
period were we not seeing the same "Bronx Bomber" that beat Capplette
Alex Ramos - After Sanders backed out of the fight, I basically over
trained. Usually, after a fight, you get some time off to see your loved
ones and to have a little fun. Because of Sanders, I only got one day
off. By the time I fought Cerda, I just wanted to get it over with and
see my family. I had lost my heart for the win.
Frisco - You fought Curtis Parker in April of 1984 winning the USBA
middleweight title. I remember the fight and it was a fantastic effort
on your part. I also should tell some of the readers at that time there
was a WBA and WBC champion which were both Marvin Hagler, the only other
belts were the NABF and USBA and in those days those were very important
titles. Guys Like Alex and Parker, James Kinchen, James Shuler all held
those belts if you wanted to get noticed you had to actually fight the
other contenders. Parker was amongst the toughest of the bunch. What do
you remember about that fight? What was it like finally winning a belt
after the rough two years you had going into it?
Alex Ramos - I was actually supposed to fight Wilford Scypion who backed
out and I was then matched with Curtis Parker, a much tougher opponent,
I might add!! Parker only had 24 hours notice for this fight and he was
a hell of a fighter. I remember that I was pumped up, ready to face
King Kong! I was criticized for not using my jab in that fight. If I had,
I probably would have ended the fight much sooner, but, I had a point
to prove: I wanted the world to see that I could take a punch! I had so
much press about having a "glass jaw" and I was sick of the "weak chin"
comments. I fought the wrong fight with Parker, but I won unanimously on
all of the judges cards. That was the biggest night of my career.
Frisco - Do you remember if you were favored to beat Parker?
Alex Ramos - The odds were very close, but I was favored to beat him.
Frisco - You fought a guy from my neck of the woods in your next fight,
John Collins. I have asked him about you, and that draw you two fought
and he says though he felt he won, he said that you had him stunned a
couple of times and maybe even felt you were stronger then him. What was
your feelings on that fight, did you deserve to win it?
Alex Ramos - Go figure! I broke his jaw, broke his cheek bones (and
probably his ribs) and I cut his face badly. It was a "home-town fight"
and if that fight had been anywhere else, there would have been a
decisive, clear winner and it wouldn't have been Collins. Tell him I
Frisco - Now in the next fight you faced James "The Heat" Kinchen. I
remember looking forward to that fight for weeks because you and he were
two guys made for a good fight. Your styles seemed perfect for each other
and you didn't let us down that was a classic, though you lost the title
and the fight. Now I know that had to be hard but the way the fight
turned out in hind sight are you able to look at a fight like that and
say well I lost, but we gave them a war, and be proud of how great you
did in the fight? Or is it something that you can't think positivly
about? I mean if you feel you can't you should reconsider because that
was a great fight and in every great fight it takes two to make it one
and you were one of the two.
Alex Ramos - James "The Heat" Kinchen was in shock when he won that fight.
That was a bad day for me. I wasn't mentally prepared. I just gave up on
myself. In fact, I never lost a fight because the opponent was better, I
lost fights because I beat myself up.
Frisco - You fought a lot of big names in a golden era of the middle-
weights and network boxing. I'm gonna name some of your opponents and
maybe you can give us a word or two on what you thought of each man.
Murray Sutherland - Tough fighter. Lot's of low blows and head butts.
He basically pissed me off and Paul Venti, the referree, took rounds
away from me instead of points, for low blows. What made me mad was that
Sutherland had been pushing my head down and Venti refused to warn him.
Everyone saw it, including the commentators. That loss was basically a
political win for Sutherland. Besides the fight, I like Murray Sutherland
and consider him a good friend.
Curtis Parker - One of the toughest fighters I've ever been in the ring
with, but I beat him at his own game, slugging. Curtis Parker was a
slugger and I played his game. It was a great fight.
John Collins - Highway robbery! It was a home-town decision.
James "The Heat" Kinchen - I gave it to him. I quit on myself.
Michael Nunn - I called him Michael "Run"! The most boring fight of my
career. All he did was run for twelve rounds. If he would have fought
me, I would have beat him.
Jorge Castro - That night in Argentina was the lonliest night of my life.
I went to Argentina alone and I fought him because no one else would
fight him in Argentina. It was a comeback fight for me, and the fight
that ended my career. If I had fought him in my prime, I would have
knocked him out.
Frisco - J.B. Williamson was a man you defeated in 1983 who later became
lightheavyweight champion. did you ever consider trying to go after his
title while he had it?
Alex Ramos - I watched him win that title, sitting between NBA greats
Maurice Lucas and Magic Johnson. I challenged him (loudly!) from
ringside. I was the only fighter to ever beat him in a decision. I beat
him for the amateur title and as a pro.
Frisco - Is there anything in Boxing that you regret or wish you had done
differently? And what are you the most proud of about what you have
Alex Ramos - I wish I had taken better care of myself. When I lost a
fight, it was because I gave up on myself. Also, I regret putting 100%
of my trust in my managers. As a fighter, I knew I was talented, but I
was very much in awe of the managers I had and in hindsight, I now realize
that decisions were based on business ($$$$) and not necessarily in my
best interest. I second guessed my own instincts giving in to managers.
If I could do it over again, I would have made more of my own decisions
and asked a hell of a lot more questions.
In terms of my accomplishments, I am most proud of being selected for
the USA Boxing Team and being one of "Tomorrow's Champions". I am also
proud of my amateur career and all of the titles I won, especially the
4 Golden Gloves Championships. Of course, I treasure my 1984 USBA
Middleweight Championship and my 1986 California Middleweight title. I'm
37 years old and I have a lot of history in the fight game, and it has
shaped my character. I learned some lessons the hard way, but I feel that
everything happens for a reason. I am grateful that my brain is intact
and I am extremely hopeful about the future.
Frisco - Now on to the present Alex, you are involved in the "Retired
Boxers Foundation" and you have a website devoted to it and we'll give
out that info at the bottom of this interview, but maybe you can tell
us in your own words what it is, and how you got involved in it? Is it
true that you founded it?
Alex Ramos - Of all the accomplishments I have had in the sport of boxing,
I am most proud of the Retired Boxers Foundation, which I founded in 1995.
While I had my glorious days in the ring like many retired professional
fighters, I also had my days in the "darkness" of alcoholism, substance
abuse and homelessness. I believe that God saved me from this life so that
I could help my brothers from the fight game, especially those who
suffered as I did. In addition to the pain of alcoholism, substance abuse
and homelessness, many fighters suffer from dementia pugilistica (the
medical term for "punch drunk"), as well as rage disorders, financial
problems, etc. The mission of the Retired Boxers Foundation is to help
retired professional fighters make the transition from their glory days
to a dignified retirement. Too many suffer humiliating retirements on the
street and they don't know where to go for help. Worse yet, most of them
think no one cares. These once great athletes have provided great
entertainment for boxing fans, and it is my mission for the remainder of
my life, to let people know about these fighters and to find the resources
to assist them. Fighters should not have to make "comebacks" when they
are well past their prime because they are desparate for money. The RBF
will assist fighters in redirecting their lives and getting the support
they need. For more information about the RBF, please check out our