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Boxing Champ Ramirez Emotional at Statue Unveiling
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 5 years ago on
September 17, 2019

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Fresno County loves Jose Ramirez, and the champ feels the same way.
The WBO/WBC super lightweight world champion watched as a statue of his likeness was unveiled at the Fresno County Historical Museum inside the Big Fresno Fair on Tuesday morning.


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“When I was a kid, I wanted the belt, big houses, I wanted cars. The older I got, my only goal was to inspire. To motivate people. To let them know that everything is possible.” — world boxing champion Jose Ramirez
For a man who said he was speechless, Ramirez followed with many emotional words.
“When I was a kid, I wanted the belt, big houses, I wanted cars. The older I got, my only goal was to inspire. To motivate people,” Ramirez said, voice cracking. “To let them know that everything is possible. To work hard, stay in the right lane. This for me, honestly, it makes me feel like you guys are paying attention. It makes me feel like you guys are thankful for all the sacrifices I’ve done.”

Inspiration Comes from a Legend and Kids

Ramirez said Oscar De La Hoya served as his professional inspiration. Like De La Hoya, Ramirez boxed with the U.S. Olympic team in 2012, before turning professional and becoming a champion.
Since he turned pro, Ramirez said inspiration has come from his son Matteo, and another set of children.
“The times I went to Valley Children’s Hospital, I was able to go for a walk with the kids that were fighting for their lives. Six years old, 7 years old, 3 years old, and they are fighting for their lives. Being in those positions got me to be able to do what I did moving forward,” Ramirez said.
He also talked about how the farmworkers in his Kings County hometown of Avenal inspired him to fight for water and adopt his “Immigrant and Proud” mantra.

The Statue

Fresno artist Debbie Stevenson spent a year’s worth of weekends creating the life-sized statue. It started with photos of Ramirez. Fair CEO John Alkire joked she shot him in the nude.
Stevenson said this was the biggest art project of her career. Sculpturing is a hobby of hers, having done previous work mostly of horses and other animals. Her bust of champion horse California Chrome is also displayed at the museum. Stevenson used clay with a bronze paint finish to give the statue a realistic look. She also works for Duncan Ceramics.

Jose Ramirez (left) and artist Debbie Stevenson (right) pose with the Ramirez statue. (GV Wire/Jahz Tello)

Award-Winning Boxing Exhibit

The statue will sit in front of the Ramirez wall at the museum’s boxing exhibit, honoring the history of local pugilists. Ramirez also donated one of his WBC championship belts that will be encased in a glass display.
Alkire said the exhibit opened last year, and already has won awards. It features photos, bios of boxers, and a touchscreen video display to learn more about the fighters. The video includes fights, dating to the 1930s with Young Corbett III’s championship bout.

Jose Ramirez exhibit at the Fresno County Historical Museum. (GV Wire/Jahz Tello)

Watch Full Jose Ramirez Speech

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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