Following the Moore fight, Ramos had trouble making the 126-pound featherweight limit for his first defense last July against Rafiu King of Nigeria. He steamed out the final pound just before the weigh-in deadline, put on an unimpressive performance and was stunned to hear his onetime Mexican admirers boo loudly when the judges awarded him a close but unanimous decision. "The boos really hurt," says Sugar. "But I was weak after making the weight. I will repay the Mexican fans in my next fight there. I never let anybody down."
Sugar arrived in Tokyo eight pounds over the featherweight limit. The weather was cold and rainy, unsuitable for sweating off poundage outdoors. He donned a plastic sweat suit for all his training exercises, and wore it while he boxed 35 rounds to tune up his reflexes for the fast-moving Seki, the first left-hander he had ever fought. Slowly the weight crept down. Ramos refused to steam off the excess lest it weaken him as it did before the bout with King. At weigh-in time the morning of the fight he made the weight on the nose.
There was no sign of nervousness as Sugar walked into the clammy dressing room at the sumo stadium, heated only by a gas stove. Because there was no electrical outlet, he could not play Afro-Cuban music to relax, as he usually does. Even this drastic departure from routine didn't seem to bother him. "I tell you once before," he said, "nothing worries me. I don't know defeat." Sugar was cheered by the arrival of a couple of old friends. Los Angeles Promoter George Parnassus had flown out to watch the fight in hopes of matching Sugar with Carlos Ortiz in June for the lightweight championship (provided Ortiz beats Kenny Lane on April 4 as expected). Sugar's co-manager, Angelo Dundee, fresh from his triumph with Cassius Clay in Miami Beach, also flew in to work in his corner. Still flushed with the excitement of the Clay triumph, Dundee nonetheless pronounced Ramos "the best fighter, pound for pound, in the world today. He's the best all-round featherweight in years. Sandy Saddler could hit harder but this boy is a great all-round fighter. He's already fought lightweights and beaten them. He's ready for Ortiz now." When this accolade was transmitted to Sugar, he beamed: "Yeah, Ortiz is fine. But we got a fight tonight, remember?"
Minutes later Sugar entered the ring to polite applause. He was still calm and it did not seem to bother him that Seki's chief corner man was Teddy Bentham, who had been in Davey Moore's corner in Los Angeles. Bentham had told reporters before the fight, "We'll be careful. We're not going to let Seki be badly hurt. Ramos hits awfully hard. And I've got memories to live with."
The ceremonial rigmarole preceding the opening bell seemed endless. Presentations of flower bouquets from sponsors and admirers, introductions and the playing of the martial Cuban and dirge-like Japanese national anthems took 17 minutes. Ramos shifted from one spot to the other, gazing occasionally at huge portraits of sumo wrestling greats that stared down from the rafters. There was a further delay when American Referee Nick Pope gave the fighters their instructions, then stood back while translators jabbered at the fighters in Japanese and Spanish to make sure they understood.
Once it began, the fight was hardly a contest. The muscular Ramos stalked the leaner Seki around the big 20-foot ring and staggered him with a straight hard right in the first round. For the next three rounds Ramos concentrated his blows to the midsection to bring Seki's tight guard down. Then in the fifth a strong right opened a deep cut over Seki's left eye. In the sixth a stinging right uppercut dropped Seki for the mandatory eight-count. A short, straight right dropped him again. As Seki staggered back to fight some more, Bentham crawled through the ring ropes waving a towel. It was all over at 1:38 of the sixth round. Japanese fans sent a barrage of seat cushions hurtling into the ring in disapproval, but the decision was sound. "Seki was helpless," said Bentham. "There's no point in taking chances. Ramos had him good. It was finished when I stopped it."
Sugar seemed almost bored by it all. Unmarked except for a mouse under his left eye where Seki had stung him with a good right lead in the second round, Sugar went back to his hotel, wolfed down three plates full of fried rice to celebrate his release from his diet and went to bed. Next day he allowed himself to be dragged off to a Ginza nightspot to listen to a Japanese combo called the Cuban Boys. Sugar joined the group briefly for some banging on the big tumbadora drums, charitably pronounced the Cuban Boys "very good. Cuban in spirit anyway," then went home to pack. "I come for fight, no for fun," he explained. A battered Seki, who must have thought his head was being mistaken for a bongo drum, was quite aware of that. But then, everyone who fights Sugar is.