New York – The light heavyweight title fight and opportunity is a month away for former champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez of Mexico. This week he continues training with a quest to dethrone WBA champion Dmitry Bivol.
And Ramirez (44-0, 30 KO’s) will travel a long way to Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia for his opportunity at the Etihad Arena, a venue and country that has quickly become a fight capitol. The opportunity to challenge the undefeated Bivol, (20-0, 11K0’s) of Russia, who has propelled himself in the top pound-for-pound ranks among fighters, is nearing in.
“Major fight of career and big opportunity for me and I’m glad for that because I’ve been chasing that dream for so long to put on a great show and take the belt,” Ramirez said to me recently and prior to leaving for his long journey.
The significant championship fight of his career will be televised live and streamed on DAZN. For Ramirez, proud of his Mexican heritage and from a country that is known for distinguished and Hall of Fame champions, it took some time to get a chance at Bivol.
His promoter, Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions, another champion with Mexican pride and boxing Hall of Famer, was persistent to get his fight done and bring boxing fans a fight of this magnitude.
But In boxing they say patience is a virtue and the sport at times requires a lot of give-and-take to provide fans with the mega fights. There are obstacles of dueling promoters, bids and splits of purses with sanctioning organizations, and of course ironing out financial terms of the streaming and television networks that deliver fights like this one.
So the business aspect for Ramirez is over. He has been training hard and is ready to travel thousands of miles from his other residence in Southern California to pursue another championship, though this time the task is opposing Bivol ,a technical fighter that knows how to box and punch.
Ramirez, though, can counter punch, also throws, and that will be a test for the reigning champion who defeated Canelo Alvarez via 12-round unanimous decision in May at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Alvarez, the boxing icon from Mexico, and unified Super Middleweight champion, is considered the face of boxing. Until his loss to Bivol, stepping up in weight, many considered Alvarez as the best pound-for-pound fighter.
He observed Canelo and that fight with Bivol.. He says Bivol won’t be able to do what he did to Canelo. He vows to avenge that loss for Alvarez, a former sparring partner and Mexico.
Although the light heavyweight division is not in the spotlight, due to the mega fights and champions that dominate other divisions, that does not concern Ramirez. The objective is return home to Mexico with one portion of the light heavyweight titles.
Canelo Alvarez is one champion representing his country and Ramirez, relatively put under the spotlight, vows to again be the next. With a knockout ratio of 68 percent, once the WBO Super Middleweight title when he defeated Artur Abraham under the Top Rank promotional banner, he moved up in weight in 2020 and fights out of the southpaw stance.
This is boxing. He believes in opportunity that finally knocked at the door with all the politics and obstacles that at times put big fights like this on hold.
“To beat him (Bivol), I need to win every single round and beat him to make my statement and take the belt,” Ramirez said. “Fighting in Saudi Arabia, for me it’s great because at the end of the day it will be me and the boy in the ring. I been in thousand situations in many fights. Remember, I came from Mexico from nothing, I want to take everything he has.”
Meaning, of course, Ramirez will take the punches and throws jabs at a good ratio. One of his traits is go to the body, keep busy, and that is important in the ring with Bivol, who also has a style of taking a punch and is hard to knock down.
To that strategy, Ramirez is not concerned. He did not give away a plan and how to take away the title from an extremely efficient champion. The first round could dictate where this fight goes and Ramirez can also be technical.
Again, the Mexican pride and significance is loud and clear.
“He didn’t fight a guy like me, that’s why,” Ramirez responded when asked about his chances. “Because we have a big heart and we try to do the best all the time. Win for my career and Mexico .Will be an honor for me and the whole Mexican people and I think it will be amazing.”
Ramirez does not guarantee a knockout and that goes against his ratio of disposing opponents and not leaving a fight in the judges hands of the scorecards. However, he is ready for 12-rounds and Bivol has that tendency of going the distance and coming out with a decision.
Extremely proud of his country and thanking Golden Boy Promotions for their persistence to get him this opportunity.
He said, “Thank everyone for their support and it will be an exciting fight. I will become a two-time champion for Mexico and pride of our country.”
Rich Mancuso is a senior writer @Latinosports.com. Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com Watch “Sports with Rich” live on Tuesday Nights at 8pm EST on The SLG Network/Youtube with Robert Rizzo Available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify under The SLG Network.
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