Jose Ramirez understands the plight of agricultural workers as well as anyone, because it’s not too long ago that he was one of them. The WBC-WBO super lightweight world champion from Avenal, California, learned the work ethic it took to become a champ in the searing summer heat of the pepper fields near his home.
From 6 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon, the teenaged Ramirez would do the back-breaking work of picking peppers, with temperatures often soaring to as high as 115 degrees.
He’d leave work to go to a two-hour boxing workout, and then leave his boxing workout to go to soccer practice. It was in those formative years that the work ethic and the toughness that have defined him as one of the world’s elite boxers was forged.
He’s never forgotten his roots and he’s always fought for the people in his hometown. The agricultural workers in California’s Central Valley continue to work the fields during the coronavirus pandemic at considerable risk to themselves to make sure the food supply chain stays open.