By Chris Williams: Habib Ahmed (25-0-1, 17 KOs) says he’s coming to American to take the title away from WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez (36-0, 24 KOs) next month on February 3 at the Bank of America Center, in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Ahmed is out of his league against Ramirez, but the timing is perfect for an upset. Ramirez was battered by his last opponent Jesse Hart just 4 months ago in a 12 round affair. Ahmed should follow the blueprint set by Hart by loading up and fighting in brief spurts. Ramirez can stand and throw nonstop punches for 12 rounds if he has an opponent that is willing to trade with him. Hart did well when he would come forward and nail Ramirez with enormous power shots to the head before moving away to the outside. That’s Ahmed’s best bet in beating Ramirez.
Ahmed is a complete unknown that was picked out by Ramirez’s promoters at Top Rank for his voluntary defense. If Ahmed is as good as he talks, he’s going to be a real headache for the 26-year-old Ramirez next month. But if Ahmed is the real McCoy, then you’d think that there would have been talk by now about. There hasn’t been. Ahmed is someone that the World Boxing Organization placed in their top 10 at #6, and it’s likely very convenient for Ramirez, who could use a soft touch right about now after his grueling fight with fellow Top Rank fighter Jess Hart last September.
Ramirez won that fight, but he was badly exposed Hart and he barely won by a close 12 round unanimous decision by the scores 115-112, 114-113 and 115-112. With the punishment Ramirez absorbed against Hart, he needs a good long rest of at least 2 soft jobs back to back in 2018 for him to recover. The WBO’s rankings are so awful from what I can see. Ramirez will likely get a nice rest against Ahmed by getting an easy win.
“I have an important message for Gilberto Ramirez,” Ahmed said to Boxnation.com. “I am coming to America to take your title. I am going for the knockout. All of Ghana and all of my fans are going to be so proud, so happy. This is the opportunity I always wanted. I am taking Ramirez’s title with me to my homeland,” said Ahmed.
If Ahmed has a shred of talent, then he’ll have a decent chance of beating the 6’2” Ramirez, since he’s catching him at the right time with him coming off his grueling fight with Hart. If Ahmed can take the fight to Ramirez and land some big shots, he might be able to score a knockout. Ramirez was shaken uyp by Hart on more than one occasion in the fight. Even when Ramirez wasn’t getting hurt by big shots, he was getting nailed with solid punches.
Ahmed says he’s going to beat Ramirez, and then bring his WBO belt back to Africa with him after February 3. That would be a major upset if Ramirez lost to Ahmed, and it would be crushing blow to Top Rank, who obviously selected this guy for a reason. Ramirez isn’t supposed to lose to Ahmed. The fighters that are viewed as a real threat to beating Ramirez aren’t being matched against him. I’m talking about George Groves, Chris Eubank Jr. and Callum Smith. If Ramirez loses to Ahmed, it’s going to be a shock to a lot of people. Ramirez must have a rematch clause just in case he gets beaten, but that still won’t take away the loss from his record. Ramirez’s record will now longer be unblemished. It took a lot of work to build Ramirez’s record to 36-0. The resume has nobody talented aside from Jessie Hart, who would likely be trounced by Eubank Jr., Callum Smith and Groves.
“Habib Ahmed is an undefeated fighter with a good knockout record,” said Ramirez to Boxnatoon.com. ”He is fighting outside of his home country for the first time and that makes him a very dangerous fighter,” Ramirez said. “He knows that he has a great opportunity in front of him. I’m going to train even harder than for my last title defence. I think this will be a very good fight.”
Ahmed has recent wins over these fighters:
• George Bamson (3-7)
• Flash Issaka (23-14)
• Philip Kotey (30-10-2)
• George Amuzu (18-18-1)
• Kwesi Tutu (11-23)
• David Okine (0-0)
• David Okai (17-14)
The records for Ahmed’s opponents speak for themselves. Only the WBO knows why they’ve given Ahmed a No.6 ranking with their organization based off his wins over those types of fighters in his last 7 fights. Top Rank could have done so much better than this in selecting an opponent for Gilberto Ramirez.
It’s unclear what the objective is in matching Ramirez against this type of fighters. If it’s to make Ramirez look better than he is by putting him in showcase fights against a guy with an inflated resume, then Top Rank is going in the right direction with this type of match-making. But this is not right move to turn Ramirez into a star in boxing. To make a star out of Ramirez, he needs to be matched against the best in the super middleweight division.
Top Rank boss Bob Arum is interested in making a fight against middleweight champion Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin. I don’t think that’s going to happen though. If/when Golovkin moves up to super middleweight, he’s going to likely be going after the winner of the World Boxing Super Series tournament. That’s where the big money is for Golovkin by fighting the likes of George Groves, Callum Smith or Chris Eubank Jr. Golovkin against any of them would be a big deal. Golovkin fighting Ramirez on ESPN would likely not do much. I don’t know how that fight happens, to be honest. Golovkin is under contract to have his fights shown on HBO. If Ramirez is only fighting on ESPN now, then that creates an issue right away. Ramirez might be stuck fighting only guys that aren’t with HBO or Showtime. I don’t think Golovkin vs. Ramirez is a big enough fight for it to be televised on both HBO and ESPN on the same day. This isn’t Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao.