Gilberto Ramirez drops Sullivan Barrera three times en route to fourth-round stoppage
LOS ANGELES – Gilberto Ramirez got the kind of victory his career sorely needed on Friday, an entertaining KO in front of an appreciative and enthusiastic crowd.
Ramirez (43-0, 28 KOs), a former super middleweight titleholder now campaigning as a light heavyweight, stopped former contender Sullivan Barrera in the fourth round of a scheduled 12-rounder in the main event of a Golden Boy Promotions/DAZN presentation at Banc of California Stadium. Ramirez, a 28-year-old southpaw from Mazatlan, fought his debut bout under the Golden Boy banner “Mexican Style,” by attacking the body of the battle-tested Cuban.
After controlling the distance against a mobile and wily Barrera for two and half rounds, Ramirez landed a left to the body that dropped his 39-year-old foe to his hands and knees. Ramirez did the right thing and continued to target the veteran’s midsection in Round 4, which produced two delayed knockdowns and prompted Barrera’s corner to throw in the towel.
“I think my performance was great,” Ramirez said after the fight. “I was training for the body shot. And I think it was beautiful. At 175 pounds, everyone saw a better Zurdo Ramirez. This is my division.”
His dominance vs. a solid fighter who went 12 rounds with Andre Ward and scored a points win over current WBO beltholder Joe Smith Jr. was important, but getting Barrera (22-4, 14 KOs) out of there early and sending the fans home happy was essential.
Despite being handsome, charming, bilingual, skilled, undefeated, physically imposing (he’s got the frame of a crusierweight) and accomplished (he was the first 168-pound titleholder from Mexico and he made five defenses of the belt), Ramirez has not been a hit with the fans, including Mexican fans.
That’s because most of his fights were boring. He was overly methodical and often failed to close the show when he probably could have. When he wanted to leave his previous promoter, Top Rank, they didn’t shed any tears.
But now it looks like he’s seen the light and it will be interesting to see if Golden Boy and DAZN, which streamed the fight live, can build on this victory. Ramirez is finally doing his part, including saying the right things during his post-fight interview with Chris Mannix, who asked him if he felt he was ready to challenge the likes of undefeated WBA titleholder Dmitry Bivol (who owns wins over Barrera, Smith, and former champ Jean Pascal).
“You should ask him if he’s ready for me,” Ramirez replied.