One purpose requires the fist to be powerful and dominating, delivering crushing blows, while the other calls on the hand to be calm and creative.
Using his right hand as a boxer and renowned tattoo artist, Tucsonan Jensen Ramirez brings both actions together beautifully with the sweet science and his artwork. That is because of how his mind can process the task, well, at hand.
“Boxing and tattooing both help with my focus,” Ramirez said the other day at Boxing Inc. on East Broadway during a media event leading up to the Guerra de Gallos on July 21 (next Saturday) at Casino del Sol.
In a junior lightweight bout, Ramirez (5-2-3, 1 KO) will go against Sierra Vista southpaw Jesus Arevalo (2-3) in next week’s five-bout card that features mostly talent from southern Arizona.
“As we progress in our training camp, I believe (Ramirez) has gotten stronger mentally to match how he’s looking physically,” said Ramirez’s coach Jesse Haro. “It’s all coming together very nice. I am very happy with his progress. We’re definitely looking forward to the 21st.”
Ramirez, 26, took time out from working at Paizley’s Wicked Iron Tattoo Parlor to attend the media event Thursday at Boxing Inc.
He works at Paizley’s Wicked Iron six days a week about four to seven hours at a time. He mixes that schedule with daily training for boxing early in the morning. He then returns to the Scrap Yard Boxing Gym after his tattooing is done for the day and continues to work with Haro and spar with other fighters there, including junior welterweight Alfonso Olvera, who is in the main event next week fighting fellow Nogales, Sonora, native Wilberth Lopez.
“Tattooing is my passion,” said Jensen, who has been a tattoo artist for 11 years, since he was 15.
“I don’t mind going to work, I don’t mind spending the whole day at work and hitting the gym after. It’s not a job, it’s a passion.”
Ramirez is taking boxing “more serious” now, he admits, after his last fight almost two years ago required him to lose 30 pounds in about a month to make the 130-pound mark.
The fight against Luis Gerardo Avila at Casino del Sol on Aug. 6, 2016, ended in a draw by majority decision, snapping Ramirez’s three-bout winning streak.
“It was one of the hardest things I had to do, losing all that weight in about a month,” Ramirez said. “I ate mostly chicken salad. I felt weak. I was disappointed with my performance.
“It’s been a while since my last fight. I definitely want to come back ready. When (Raging Babe promoter) Michelle (Rosado) called (for the Guerra de Gallos event) I definitely was ready to go. I haven’t fought but I’ve been training and staying in shape. I’ve tried to make sure I don’t mess up again.”
Ramirez, who started his professional career less than two months after graduating from Desert View High School in 2010, has only 10 bouts in eight years, including only two in the last 26 months leading up to his fight with Arevalo.
Arevalo, on the other hand, will fight for the fourth time in the last 13 months. He has lost his last three fights since June of last year, two of which were by knockout in Las Vegas and Carson, Calif.
When asked if he is concerned about Ramirez’s lack of bouts recently, Haro said, “I would be lying if I said I wasn’t. I will probably be concerned in the first two rounds about how much of the cobwebs he has to get off. After the first two rounds, I’m confident he’ll come into his own.”
Why the long layoff since his last fight? Why the lack of fights overall?
“The reason why I couldn’t take it more serious when I was younger is boxing doesn’t pay unless you have a name. I needed to establish myself in tattooing, which I did and now that I am established, I don’t need to worry about getting clients in,” Ramirez said.
To view Jensen Ramirez’s artwork as a tattooist visit his Instagram page.
“Now, I’m worried about slowing tattooing down. Now that that’s handled, I can definitely relax and focus on boxing. I am working less but still making enough to cover my expenses. I’m now concentrating on taking boxing to a higher level.”
Ramirez has tattoo clients from as far away as Alaska and New Mexico. He also travels to Mexico, Los Angeles and Las Vegas to perform work for clients. Next month, he will return to Los Angeles and do more of his tattoos.
His work branched out of Tucson when he visited a tattoo parlor in Los Angeles two years ago and folks there became immediately impressed.
“I’ve been an artist since I can remember, and I just kind of picked it up in high school and it just kind of went from there and it never stopped,” Ramirez said.
“To be honest, I didn’t think I would make it this far. Not to sound cocky or anything, but I think my work speaks for itself. It’s high quality stuff you won’t see other places.”
The future looks promising in tattooing and boxing for Ramirez, whose goal is to work more on his boxing, including scheduling pro bouts outside of Tucson in places like Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
He has fought since he was 12, so the love of the sport will always rage inside him, he said.
“Tattooing with me will grow slowly … it’s already big enough for me where I’m comfortable, but if it gets bigger, it gets bigger. That’s great,” Ramirez said. “I’ll just improve my quality of work. That’s all I am planning to do.
“I feel as good as I’ve ever felt as a boxer, so I want to build on that. I am determined to get my boxing career going.”
Ramirez has increasingly heard the suggestion from his tattoo associates to get his hands insured, being that he is in a sport that can injure his right hand, thereby adversely affecting his art work.
“Everybody is telling me I should get my hands insured, and now it’s looking like I should,” Ramirez said. “I’ve had no problems. I’ve been doing both for so long. Also, tattooing is not like it used to be, with the machine now. The way it is now, the machine is better to work with so your hands won’t hurt.
“I can handle it.”
Tickets for “Guerra De Gallos” next Saturday start at $25, and are available online at Casino del Sol’s Web site, by phone at (520) 333-5150 or at the Casino Del Sol Gift Shop. The card begins at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.