Gilberto Ramirez looks toward a busy future
Gilberto Ramirez is making a case for becoming one of the top super middleweights in boxing. Based on his most recent performances in the ring, one could even suggest he is the best fighter from the Mexican state of Sinaloa today.
Ramirez keeps on winning. While an opportunity for a world title could be in the immediate future, the unbeaten boxer-puncher is open to fighting anyone.
First things first, Ramirez faces Derek Edwards in a 12-round bout at the State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, Texas. The bout will headline a Top Rank Promotions card and will be televised live on truTV, beginning at 10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT.
In his last bout on Jan. 24, Ramirez grinded out a 10-round unanimous decision over Maxim Vlasov in the Denver suburb of Broomfield. The bout aired on HBO and was a solid platform on which for Ramirez to fight after headlining cards broadcast on UniMas and ESPN2.
Ramirez, who goes by the nickname “Zurdo” (Spanish for “southpaw” or “lefty”), improved to 31-0, with 24 knockouts, with the win over Vlasov. Some in boxing thought Ramirez was exposed by Vlasov during the fight, while others reaffirmed their beliefs that the 24-year-old is still a work-in-progress.
Those are interesting theories but they do not fall on deaf ears. Ramirez knows he has to get better if he is to one day fight the likes of Badou Jack, James DeGale, Anthony and Andre Dirrell and Arthur Abraham.
“We learned a lot from that fight,” Ramirez told RingTV in a recent interview. “We were happy that we won [against Vlasov]. We learned from that and corrected the mistakes I made. I want to improve my overall game as a fighter. Everything has been better because of that fight.
“These types of fights I’ve had have given me a lot more confidence. We’ve learned a lot. You never stop learning in boxing. We’re always trying to learn new things. Little by little, we are evolving to the fighter I want to become.”
Ramirez will face a decent challenge from Edwards, who has hit significant highs and lows throughout his 13-year career in the sport. After winning his first 25 bouts, he has lost four of his seven.
Edwards has been stopped by Adonis Stevenson and Matt Korobov and, in his last bout on Dec. 19, lost a one-sided decision to Andre Dirrell in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.
Edwards has pulled off an upset before in his career, stopping Badou Jack in the first round on Feb. 28 of last year.
“I expect Edwards to come in at 100 percent and be prepared to fight a war,” said Ramirez, who currently lives and trains in the Los Angeles area. “We want to give the fights that the boxing fans deserve. I think it’s a great fight for both of us. I believe I’m going to be the one with our hands raised because of my preparation.
“This preparation is difficult because of the opponent. We are preparing to the best of our ability because we expect a war in this fight.”
While Ramirez does hold out hope that he could fight for a world title later this year or in early 2016 (he is ranked amongst the top five in all major sanctioning bodies), he does hope to fight one fighter he is all too familiar with.
Ramirez hails from Matazlan, Sinaloa, the state in Western Mexico that produced one of the country’s best fighters in Julio Cesar Chavez. The Chavez family is from Culiacan, which could create a rivalry of sorts if Ramirez fights Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Despite Chavez’s loss to Andrzej Fonfara in April, Ramirez still welcomes a fight with him. Whether the fight becomes a reality or not remains to be seen as Ramirez is promoted by Top Rank, while Chavez is advised by Al Haymon. Both Bob Arum and Haymon rarely do business with each other.
“I’d still love a fight with Chavez. His father is my idol. I think it would be an excellent fight. Two Mexican fighters from Sinaloa in the same ring. It would be a fight a lot of fans around the world would want. We hope he bounces back from his loss and to give it his all. He still has a future and to give the boxing fans the fights they want to see.”
Ramirez still has a lot of upside in the sport. Whether he fights for a world title this year or next year is still up in the air but he is young enough to learn and continue to grow as a fighter.
He does fight often and is open to whomever Top Rank decides to put in front of him. It will be interesting to see how his career develops but the Las Vegas-based promotional company is best-known for developing its talent.
Ramirez likes challenges and Edwards is no different. A lot could be said about Ramirez’s performance one fight removed from the Vlasov fight. Regardless, Ramirez is eager to give the fight fans a great show.
“I’m ready. I feel ready. We are going to demonstrate that on June 26 against Derek Edwards. It’ll be an excellent fight. We’re going to be ready for this type of challenge.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since Oct. of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.