Gilberto Ramirez set for another super middleweight title defense against an unknown foe
Gilberto Ramirez has long reigned near the top of the super middleweight division, but he simply isn’t securing the fights to prove he’s the guy.
The Mexican sat on the outside looking in as the best 168-pounders in the world competed in the World Boxing Super Series. The tournament is wrapping up, and the winner of the final between George Groves and Callum Smith will be crowned the king of the division.
Meanwhile, Ramirez (37-0, 25 knockouts) will defend his title against a completely unknown fighter for the second consecutive bout. Roamer Angulo, whom Ramirez will meet Saturday in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on ESPN, is a 34-year-old Colombian, and that’s about all anyone knows about him.
A cursory glance of his BoxRec profile reveals no recognizable opponents. If Angulo (23-0, 20 KOs) anything like the last opponent Ramirez faced, he won’t put up much of a fight.
“We’ve seen a couple of tapes,” said Ramirez, THE RING’s No. 2 super middleweight. “He’s a big puncher. He has a good record, and I have been preparing very hard for him. I’ve been doing a lot of sparring with different guys, and I’m ready to put on a great performance for Oklahoma City and the people watching on ESPN.”
“He’a dangerous fighter because we don’t know what he brings. Like I said, I prepared really well for this fight. We don’t know what kind of strategy he brings to the ring, so we’re preparing with different styles.”
“Zurdo” had similar things to say about his last foe, Habib Ahmed, who entered their February meeting carrying similar credentials. Like Angulo, Ahmed was a total unknown, even to the most hardcore of American boxing fans, but he did posses an undefeated record.
When fight night rolled around, it was clearly a grotesque mismatch and Ramirez scored a sixth-round stoppage.
“Angulo is going to be a tough opponent,” said Ramirez, 27. “I expect a tough fight from him. He seems like a great fighter; his record proves it. From what I know, he’s a big puncher, and I know that he will try to knock me out. I’m going to try and knock him out, too. He doesn’t have a loss on his record, but he will on Saturday.”
He’s probably right about the outcome. The bigger mystery is when Ramirez will finally step up to a formidable foe. Bob Arum tried to lure super middleweight titleholder David Benavidez to the Top Rank stable with designs on pairing him with Ramirez down the road, but after a short legal battle with promoter Sampson Lewkowicz, the fighter returned the $250,000 signing bonus.
Benavidez remains with Lewkowicz and advisor Al Haymon and will continue to ply his craft on Showtime rather than ESPN.
Perhaps Ramirez will meet the winner of the World Boxing Super Series, whether that’s Groves or Smith. Either bout is an attractive matchup and a genuine step-up for Ramirez.
After what feels like a wasted first half of 2018, Ramirez needs the proper dance partner to advance his career. He possesses good looks, has the full backing of Top Rank, and a great platform to show off his stuff in ESPN.
Ramirez is clearly talented, too, Now, he needs to prove just how good he cam become.
“I am looking for unification fights,” he said. “That’s what I want. But first things first. We have a tough fight with Angulo, and after that, we are looking at any of those fighters. Let’s do it. Let’s make it happen.”
Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for RingTV.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger