I went to work with my dad from the time I was wearing diapers. He took me to Wes Ramey’s gym while he was still competing as a professional fighter. My Dad would make me stand on a stool so I could try to hit the different bags.
Around the time I was 6 years old, I started to like Boxing and the guys in the gym. All the guys liked me, being my father’s son, so everyone took me under their wing. At that time, I imitated what I would see the fighters in my father’s gym doing while they were training. They’d give me tips on the different bags I hit while I did my best to learn. Even his assistant Dick Dickerson took a special interest in me. He’d help me on all aspects of my boxing, sometimes even putting on the gloves and letting me hit him.
I was fightin’ by the time I was 10, all over the country, too. All kinds of little shows, all over, against other fighter’s kids. For some reason they were always bigger. That even upset me, but my Dad had a standard answer. “It’s good for you. It will make you better.” My Dad always made sure I wasn’t bigger than my opponent.
At 16 I was the Michigan State Golden Glove Champion (won 3 times), I went on to become two time AAU Champion, Army 5th Core Champion, 7th Army Champion and the USAFEU (United States Armed Forces Europe) Light Welterweight Champion.
By this point Boxing was in my blood. After that I had a successful professional career, with a record of 18-2-1. I got out of Boxing for various reasons including a marriage and a pipe fitter apprenticeship.
But, soon after, I was back in the gym helping my Dad as an assistant trainer. Learning the ropes from the spit bucket on up. When he got older, I took over training amateurs for 13 years. Then I started turning my state and national champions into professional fighters. I had success and had other professionals come to train with me, so I passed the amateur program on to some of my former state champions and began to train professionals only.
Now, at age 71 with the help of another young guy, who I am grooming to take my place – my partner and protégé Ian Ransburg – I’m still training fighters until the point I can’t do it anymore and he takes over.
Who are some of your heroes and why?
I have four of them.
My Dad Wes Ramey, Sr. – His speed, his regimen, his work ethic, his dedication, his greatness. I respected him and admired him. Everyone I ever spoke to said that my Dad was the greatest lightweight they had ever seen. I thought he had the best jab, hook, footwork, speed, and endurance of any fighter. He was a strong inside fighter as well. My Dad was a dedicated Spartan: no drinking, smoking, staying up late. There were several occasions when my Dad excused himself to go home, so he could get up to do road work in the morning. He ate, breathed, slept, and lived Boxing.
Sugar Ray Robinson – Robinson was the one fighter that I thought could do EVERYTHING and do it well: box, counter, punch, lead, fight offensively, defensively; he had great hands, great feet, and great head movement. He could do it all – and smooth.
Jersey Joe Walcott – He did things before Ali ever thought of them. He was slick, smooth – and, by the way, avoided as an opponent. People never let him get his chance while he was in his prime. I admired him, because he was a heavyweight that could fight like a middleweight. He was a larger Robinson. He did things Ali never even thought of.
Willy Pep – Just the slickest, best moving feet, hands, and spinning people. He was amazing. He was a master boxer. People had a hell of a time hitting him. Pep would hit you and move before you could even find him, then hit you three more times and be gone. Left side, right side, behind you…all over.
What encourages you to teach?
Satisfaction of having anyone come in that doesn’t have any idea what Boxing is, and watching him or her advance and get better. I love the satisfaction of watching people improve, or advancing people up to a world class level from nothing – which I have done. I love making good fighters better.