Bronx Bomber Alex Ramos RCM Interview: Magical 1994 Comeback
By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent
In 1994, former top middleweight contender and USBA Middleweight champion Alex ‘The Bronx Bomber’ Ramos embarked on a significant emotionally focused comeback attempt. In the history of the 160 pound middleweight division, Ramos accomplished what would prove to be the most successful comeback journey of any former contender. With full financial sponsorship from a drug dealer (this according to Alex Ramos), the training and the comeback bouts which took place were a rocket rise.
A resident of Simi Valley, California, Ramos founded the Retired Boxers Foundation in 1998, which assists boxers suffering from alcohol and substance abuse difficulties, homelessness, and health difficulties, into a dignified retirement situation.
Between November 1980 and November 1994, Ramos compiled a professional ring record of 30-10-2 with 19 knockouts. In a five month comeback span in 1994, Ramos suddenly finished off nine consecutive opponents, got reranked and was propelled into a WBA world middleweight title bout with then WBA world middleweight champion Jorge Fernando Castro of Argentina.
How did it happen to fast?
Robert Brizel: “What inspired the comeback, Alex?”
Alex Ramos: “Me winning the (world middleweight) championship. Boxing is what I do best, and I love the sport.”
Robert Brizel: “You really believed again you could win the world middleweight title?”
Alex Ramos: “Hell yeah! I really believed. I always had a confidence.”
Robert Brizel: “How long did you go back into training in 1994?”
Alex Ramos: “I went back in Freddie Roach’s gym. I must have been two good months in the gym (before I was ready to do battle in the ring once more).”
Robert Brizel: “What did Freddie Roach think of your comeback attempt?”
Alex Ramos: “Freddie always believed I had a puncher’s chance. Everyone knew I was tough.”
Robert Brizel: “Your first comeback fight in 1994 was at 164 pounds.”
Alex Ramos: “Yes. I fought my nine comeback wins between 163 and 176 pounds.”
Robert Brizel: “You won nine bouts in a row and found yourself into a world middleweight title bout weighing 159 ¾ pounds. That was incredible!”
Alex Ramos: “That was unbelievable! I never had a weight problem.”
Robert Brizel: “After you fought for the world title, your sponsor was still out there. You could have continued on and tried again if you wanted to.”
Alex Ramos: “Yes, I could have. My sponsor was still there.”
Robert Brizel: “After 1994, did you ever want to make a comeback another time?”
Alex Ramos: “I used to think about it, but then I said no more. I remember walking miles and miles to get my last check. It was a long walk. That was the longest walk of my life. I walked from Beverly Hills to my manager Shelly Finkel’s office to pick up my last check. My career as I knew it ended at that point.”
Robert Brizel: “You used to run from your home in the Bronx all over the city.”
Alex Ramos: I had the legs when I first began to box in New York City. I ran back and forth to my gym. I ran every roadway and every bridge. I trained at a gym on East 106th Street between Second and Third Avenue. I used to run from my home at 136th Street in the Bronx all the way to the gym in Manhattan. I was a runner. I used to run the Brooklyn Bridge and the Triborough Bridge (known as the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge since 2008). I ran all over the place. I ran everywhere!”
Robert Brizel: “Do you still go back to the gym in California?”
Alex Ramos: “I still go to the gym to visit and see the guys. “
Robert Brizel: “On November 5, 1994, you wound up in a World Boxing Association World Middleweight title bout against Jorge Fernando Castro in Santa Cruz, Argentina. It was his first title defense, and your first world title shot, going for your tenth win in a row. You were on a red hot win streak. What went wrong?”
Alex Ramos: “I had been in the boxing game for a long time. My comeback was emotionally focused and well in motion. However, I was not quite ready for the world title bout when it was offered, and I got thrown into it too soon. I was the hottest fighter in the middleweight division, and I could not pass up on the opportunity of a lifetime. Winning a world title was what it was all about, a significant payday for me, and my sponsors could get paid back as well. I never got hit in the liver like he hit me. Oh my God. God knows, I gave it my all. I got knocked out in the second round. Thankfully I have been sober for three years now. It catches up with you in the end.”
Robert Brizel: “Ricky Hatton battled booze his whole career. Hatton got knocked out in November 2012 in the ninth round of a welterweight bout from a left hook to the liver thrown by Vyacheslav Senchenko. Liver damage caught up to Hatton, in the end, losing a comeback bout he was winning on points. “
Alex Ramos: “I’m still here, and I thank God.”
Robert Brizel: “You still work with youth in amateur boxing.”
Alex Ramos: “If I want to help somebody, I have a friend named Alberto with a gym. I work with kids and help them to learn boxing. It’s a big thing to me. It’s really nice working with the boys and girls. It’s nice.”
Robert Brizel: “What is your day to day health situation?”
Alex Ramos: “The only thing is I take medication. I have a stent in my brain. It’s the truth. It keeps me alive. I’m alive. I’m happy. I’m a lot smarter than before. I never married or had children. I’m happy. They are supposed to be making a movie of my life.”
Robert Brizel: “You are so far from the Bronx, the hood where you grew up. Ever want to go home?”
Alex Ramos: “I’m going home in April, for my induction into the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame. At times, I do miss the Bronx, but I like the weather out here in California.
Robert Brizel: “How did the late Hector Macho Camacho fit into all of this?”
Alex Ramos: “I came here (to do my boxing training in California) in 1986 with Hector Macho Camacho, and I stayed. Hector left and he went to Florida for a while, then he came back, then he left again, then the accident in Puerto Rico. Macho was a good friend. Hector was good to me. He was a good guy. A great guy. I loved him. He was a super guy.”
Robert Brizel: “And how are you today?”
Alex Ramos: “I weigh about 200 pounds. I thank God for my career. I thank God that I’m still alive, and I’ve still got my head together. It’s wonderful.”