Rios, Ramos in crossroads fight

Rico Ramos, right, won a title against Akifumi Shimod, and then lost it to Guillermo Rigondeaux. AP Photo/Rich Schultz

Featherweight prospect Ronny Rios turned pro in late 2008 and has been brought along very nicely by Golden Boy Promotions and manager Frank Espinoza. And now it’s time for him to take a step up and see if he can handle stiffer competition.

Rico Ramos won a junior featherweight world title in 2011 by rallying for a seventh-round one-punch knockout of Akifumi Shimoda, but Ramos lost his belt in his first defense, having the unenviable task of making a mandatory against two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux, who knocked him out in the sixth round. Ramos (21-1, 11 KOs), 25, of Los Angeles, returned to action last summer and won a tune-up fight.

They meet in the scheduled 10-round main event of the season debut of “ShoBox: The New Generation” on Friday night (Showtime, 11:15 ET/PT) at Fantasy Springs Casino Resort In Indio, Calif., in an interesting crossroads fight. (By the way -- it’s a free preview weekend on Showtime, meaning many cable systems across the country will carry the network even if you don’t subscribe, allowing folks without Showtime to check out the card.)

Rios (19-0, 9 KOs), 22, of Santa Ana, Calif., is the hot prospect looking to add a good name to his resume and Ramos is the young veteran looking to get back to another world title opportunity.

“I’ve been training really hard, and we really want to take advantage of this opportunity that’s been presented to us,” said Rios, who will be facing his best opponent. “I’m looking forward to a good fight.”

Ramos will be moving up to featherweight for the fight.

“I just want to see how I feel at 126 because I know I’m strong at 122,” Ramos said. “We’re going to see where it takes us right now. I can still make 122, but I just want to see where the opportunities are. This isn’t a permanent move up in weight.”

Ramos is also working with trainer Charles “Chili” Wilson again and said he is primed for a fight after seven months out of the ring.

“I’ve been working on a lot of stuff -- throwing more punches, not tensing up too much, throwing more combinations with a lot of movement and not standing straight up,” Ramos said. “I’m ready for all fighters from 122 to 126. I’ll be back on top. I’m happy to be back.”

In the opening bout, junior middleweights Daquan Arnett (9-0, 6 KOs), of Orlando, Fla., and Brandon Quarles (10-0-1, 2 KOs) of Alexandria, Va., meet in an eight-rounder.