The saying so often goes, "never lose sight of your goal and whatever you do, don't forget where you came from."
While a fighter's goals are sometimes a victim of tunnel vision, it's quite natural to keep the home front as part of the periphery and the opportunity to perform in one's hometown can feel better than any grand stage could possibly offer.
The 'City of Angels' has long been a beacon for top notch fights as well as fighters and its rich history goes back a long ways. Nights at The Forum in Inglewood produced many memorable bouts for the ages such as Zarate vs. Zamora and others.
East L.A.'s Julian "El Camaron" Ramirez is looking to match and undoubtedly surpass such accomplishments in his home city next week when he takes the front and center stage on April 2nd. Golden Boy Promotions' "LA Fight Club" will be making a stop at the Belasco Theatre in downtown Los Angeles that night and Julian (13-0, 8 KO's) is one half of the evening's main event.
The undefeated featherweight prospect will find himself opposite Raul Hidalgo (23-12, 17 KO's) of Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico and the just turned 22 year old Ramirez already seems to know better than to discount an opponent based on his record.
"He's a good fighter and I know his trainer", said Julian during an extremely pleasant interview late last week. "He lets his hands go and I know he'll be ready. He has a lot of experience."
The foresight and knowledge that boxing can be the theater of the unexpected as well as outright shocking is something that "El Camaron" carries with him at all times. Although the regular jitters and jangled nerves can be expected, Julian remains confident that he's not only trained hard, but smart for his upcoming bout next week.
After 2014 saw him enter the ring four times, next week's contest will be his first of this year .
Brimming with confidence yet overcome with zen-like modesty, Ramirez commented, "I've learned to be prepared for anything. I'm not nervous, not yet, anyway. Last year in Cancun, I fought a guy who came from Mexico and he had a losing record. Still, he came in good shape."
"He could have been (0-50) and I'd still face him like he was a champ. I know that guys want to beat me and I need to be ready for whoever."
Although the Forum and perhaps even the Staples Center in downtown L.A. could be on the horizon for Julian, he finds the closeness and feeling of oneness inside the Belasco Theatre to very much have a throwback quality to it. "It's a night club but it's a nice venue", said the undefeated featherweight. "I was a little surprised that the fight was being held there. I like it, though because it has a feel of being packed in and every seat is a good seat, so it gets loud."
Hopefully, such an atmosphere will be exactly what he finds a week from Thursday because the bout will be his first in nearly five months. Ramirez explained, "I haven't fought since November, so I wanted this one, of course. I was supposed to fight in February, but I got pinkeye."
In regard to keeping oneself grounded on squarely centered, the idea that Julian remains at all times a fan of boxing and not just a participant is quite refreshing indeed. "Sitting ringside is always cool, but you have to look up to see the action. Growing up, I always sat in the nosebleeds for baseball and football", he said. "I'm used to that and I like being with the rowdy people."
Furthermore, he's certainly not alone when it comes to being simply puzzled as to why so many fans of the sport choose not to show up until the main event arrives.
It likely wasn't so long ago that he himself was part of the opening act on fight night.
Said Ramirez, "I think the best fights involve the guys who are less skilled. The ones who open the show can often be the best ones." He added, "it's never really a test for the big guys in the main event and sometimes, it's just a walk in the park. I think the first fights are usually the best ones."
Candor, honesty and a clear head seem to be attributes that Julian Ramirez will look to keep in his corner as he climbs into the ring next week as well as into the future. He's not soon to forget that he hails from some of the finest stock in fighting, as he can count the late Genaro Hernandez as his uncle. The one time super featherweight champion provides his nephew the quality in remembering that anything can happen in boxing.
Squarely focused on April 2nd, Julian Ramirez seems to know that the actual fight is the easy part. The rigors of the gym are where the unteachable high points of the sport are usually found. "I know I've been doing everything right in the gym", he said. He can't helped but be believed. And supported.
"LA Fight Club" will air in the United States on Thursday, April 2nd on the Fox Sports network.