Our American boxing expert Jake Donovan looks ahead to this weekend's WBO featherweight world championship bout in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Robeisy Ramirez and Isaac Dogboe both had a common goal when presented the opportunity to face one another - and it wasn’t the world title being at stake.
The WBO featherweight title being on the line enhances this weekend’s already attractive matchup, but it wasn’t known if the belt would be available at the time that both fighters agreed to face each other, nor did it matter.
Speaking to bet365 in the build-up to the 126-pound dust-up, Ramirez said: "I enjoy putting in the work, it doesn’t really matter who I am against to put in that work.
"I love taking the advice given to me by my terrific coach, Ismael Salas and applying that in the ring. I am going to enjoy myself in this fight."
That mindset and mentality is shared by the first former champion that the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Gold medallist will face since turning professional - British-Ghanaian, Dogboe.
"We are prize-fighters," the former WBO junior featherweight titleholder said. "He has plans to be a great contender and fight for the world title. He was willing to fight me to reach that goal even if this title wasn’t at stake. I felt the same way so here we are."
Their scheduled 12-round bout will headline the Sky Sports shown event in the early hours of Sunday morning, and whilst it was initially planned to serve as an 'Interim' WBO featherweight title scrap, the status of the honour at stake has since changed.
Emanuel Navarrete - who owns two wins over Dogboe - abandoned his WBO 126-pound reign shortly after his off-the-canvas, ninth-round knockout of Liam Wilson to win the WBO junior-lightweight title.
As a consequence, this weekend's two fighters were already in place as the two highest ranked contenders, but were both prepared to win one more fight to challenge for the main prize.
For Ramirez, who is bidding for a world title for the first time, his surge to the top is proof that one loss doesn't ruin a career.
The Cuban export - who trains in Las Vegas - suffered a stunning upset defeat to Adan Gonzalez in his August 2019 professional debut, but has since rattled off 11 straight wins; including a revenge-fuelled victory over Gonzalez in their July 2020 rematch and a trio of knockouts in a hugely productive 2022.
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Ramirez, 29, heads to Oklahoma as a huge 1/7 favourite to extend his winning run in the early hours of Sunday morning, despite the fact that he is set to do battle with by far his most experienced opponent to date.
"He is the first world champion that I will face as a professional," Ramirez told us in the build-up to the Stateside showdown.
"He has a very high work rate and I think it will be an interesting match that the fans should enjoy. That’s what I’m looking forward to, delivering a performance that pleases the fans.
"Winning the belt will be incredibly special, but I was ready to fight [Dogboe] no matter what was on the line."
The Ghanaian, who is 9/2 to upstage the talented Mexican and establish himself as a two-time world champion, has been training under the watchful eye of Barry Hunter in Washington D.C.
He won the WBO 122-pound title with a stunning knockout of the unbeaten Jessie Magdaleno in April 2018, three months after he stopped Cesar Juarez in the fifth round of their interim title fight.
Two successful defences followed for Dogboe before he suffered back-to-back losses to Navarrete, but he has since campaigned at featherweight, a division in which he has won each of his last four bouts.
Victory over Joet Gonzalez, who features on the undercard this weekend, propelled him towards his forthcoming world title opportunity, although he openly admits that his only concern was simply getting back into the ring.
"When I was world champion, I had to win the interim title before I won the main belt,” he said, "It didn’t bother me at all, and I know I have to do it again.
"My job description is to fight and destroy whoever is in front of me."
View the latest odds ahead of Ramirez v Dogboe
Odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of writing and are subject to fluctuation.
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