Alex “The Bronx Bomber” Ramos Fights the Good Fight! By Ken Hissner (Oct 24, 2009) DoghouseBoxing
Alex “The Bronx Bomber” was one of the most celebrated amateurs in 1979 coming out of New York. He won the National AAU #165 title in 1979 and soon learned there would be no Olympics in 1980 for team USA. There was a boycott by then President Jimmy Carter. “It was depressing. There were shattered dreams and financial loss in signing to turn professional,” said Ramos.
With an amateur record of 143-9 (92) Ramos was signed by Shelly Finkel. He had the good looks and a good punch so
the television networks loved him. He would turn professional at 19 in November of 1980 stopping Steve Arvin, 12-3, in Stateline, Nevada, along with amateur stars Mitch Green, Johnny Bumphus and Bernard Taylor. In the same month he would score another knockout in Hartford, CT, under Marlon “Magic Man” Starling’s main event. His third fight would bring him home to the Kingsbridge Armory, in the Bronx scoring a knockout in 1. Davey Moore, Tony Ayala, Jr., Bumphus and Green would also be on the card.
I told Ramos I had seen him and Ayala at Lou Costello’s gym in New Jersey, in separate sparring sessions. “Ayala was tough and a converted southpaw. We fought each other in the amateurs,” said Ramos.
Then off to San Antonio with Ayala headlining with future champs Tony Tucker, Donald Curry and Bumphus on the same card. Ramos scored his 4th straight knockout in 2 months. In February of 1981 he would step up and stop Marciano Bernardi, 22-7-1, in 2 rounds at the Playboy Club in New Jersey, with future champ Bobby Czyz on top along with several of the same boxers connected to Finkel. After 2 more wins Ramos would headline in an 8 in San Remo, Italy, defeating Danny Long, 19-1. This time Moore, Bumphus and Ayala were on the under card.
In June of 1981 in his last 8 rounder Ramos defeated Mike Sacchetti, 10-1, at the Playboy Club in Atlantic City. Next up would be an old opponent from the 1978 NY GG whom Ramos defeated for the title named Norberto Sabater, 20-1. Ramos won his 12th straight bout over 10 rounds. By May of 1982 his record was 15-0 and would headline in Atlantic City again with contender and future opponent Curtis Parker on the under card. Spoiler Ted Sanders, 8-15-2, was brought in as an “opponent”. Sanders had put the first blemish on the records of Mickey Goodwin, 17-0, Ronnie Brown 13-0 and drew with Bernard Mays 19-0. Ramos would suffer his first defeat being stopped in the 8th round.
Ramos would return to action 4 months later where he made his debut, in Stateline, drawing with Tony Cerda, 14-2-2 over 10 rounds in December of 1982. In March Ramos would start a new streak defeating Mark Frazie, 21-1, future WBC light heavy champ, JB Williamson, 13-0, who happened to be the 1978 AAU champ, the year before Ramos had won the title. Ramos won the decision and was back a month later winning his third straight in Atlantic City stopping James Waire, 18-13-3, in the 10th and final round.
This set the stage for future IBF super middleweight champion Murray Sutherland, 40-9-1, in September. Though Ramos would knock Sutherland down in the 4th round, he would have 3 rounds taken away for low blows by referee Paul Venti, and lose the decision. “The referee had no reason to take those rounds away. I won that fight. Even Tommy Hearns couldn’t drop him, but I did. He was tough,” said Ramos. After 3 months Ramos won back to back knockouts before winning the USBA title from Curtis Parker, 25-5, in Atlantic City, over 12 rounds. “I was sharp that fight and could have beaten King Kong,” said Ramos
Just 6 weeks later, Ramos traveled to Chicago to take on hometown favorite John Collins, 31-1, at the DePaul Alumni Hall. The decision was a draw and a home town one at that. “I won that fight,” said Ramos. In November of 1984 after a 5 month lay-off, Ramos would defend his USBA title against James “The Heat” Kinchen, 33-0-2, at Caesars Tahoe, in Stateline. He would suffer his second knockout loss in the 9th round.
After taking 7 months off Ramos scored 3 straight knockouts and was matched with Charles “Machine Gun” Carter, 17-6, in Oakland. Carter had won the Olympic trials in 1980 on the team that was “forgotten”. Ramos would come up short but a rematch would take place the following year.
In the meantime a knockout win over Fred Hutchings, 30-4, earned what was called the USA California State title, against Michael Nunn, 19-0, in Reseda, CA. Ramos would lose a lopsided decision. “At the press conference I called him Michael Runn in order to get him to fight me. It didn’t help. He ran the whole fight,” said Ramos.
He opened 1987 with a knockout win and a rematch with Carter whom he would defeat this time by decision. “I beat him easily. He is having his problems I hear,” said Ramos. Next up would be Darnell Knox, 25-1, from Michigan. Ramos would get stopped in the 10th round. Knox would lose his next fight to Nunn and retire. Trying to re-group, Ramos took on Ted Williams, 12-3-1, back at the Reseda, CA, spot and again for that USA title, losing again, this time getting stopped in the 8th.
Ramos would drop to 154 two fights later, and again go for that illusive USA CA title only to lose to Alfonso Long, 21-6-2. After several wins back up at middleweight he would lose to tough Segundo Mercado, 9-1, of Ecuador, at Madison Square Garden. Three years later Mercado would draw in an IBF vacant title bout against Bernard Hopkins.
Ramos would return to the ring three years later and win 9 straight fights over a seven month period earning a WBA middleweight title bout with new champ Jorge Castro, 94-4-2, in Santa Cruz, Argentina. Castro had won 24 straight fights added Ramos to that list in 2 rounds. “I fired my trainer the week before the fight. I did my best. The people in Argentina were good to me and I fit right into the surroundings, but at 33 it was too late,” said Ramos. This would be the final bout for Ramos finishing up at 39-10-2 (24).
In 1995 Ramos formed the Retired Boxing Foundation, a non-profit organization to help retired boxers in need such as former IBF light welterweight champion and 1980 teammate Johnny Bumphus. Another from the great North West who the group has reached out to is former IBF super featherweight champion Rocky Lockridge. Drugs and alcohol were no stranger to Ramos. He’s been there and to those he reaches out to, are well aware of it. Jacquie Richardson, the group’s Executive Director, has been a big part of its success along with Mike Indri, VP. “Bumphus and Lockridge were close friends when we went to Philly for George Benton to train us,” he added.
On August 30, 2008 having not heard from Ramos, Richardson paid him a visit and found him in a coma from a severe seizure. Like the fighter he was trained to be from the age of 11, Ramos has fought back to regain his strength and mental stability. “Jackie and her family took me in and helped me immensely. She has written over a million dollars in grants to help people,” said Ramos.
I talked to Ramos recently about his health and the RBF. “I am fantastic. I now have my own place and as long as I take my med’s I am all right,” said Ramos. “Right now we are helping Mike McCallum. We were given a $50,000 grant several years ago. It is really tough raising money,” he added.
“I almost died last year. I thank God I am still here. He plays a big part in my life and has shown me the light. I feel different,” said Ramos. He sounded grateful to be alive and wanting to help other boxers who have not had the friends like Richardson to be there for them. In any boxing circles all you have to do is mention “the Bronx Bomber” and they know who you are talking about!