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Gilberto Ramirez vs. Maxim Vlasov on 1/24 on Rios-Alvarado 3 card on HBO

By Dan Ambrose: Undefeated #2 WBC, #2 WBO, #3 WBA, #3 IBF super middleweight contender Gilberto Ramirez (30-0, 24 KOs) will be fighting #6 IBF, #9 WBO Maxim Vlasov (30-1, 15 KOs) in a scheduled 10 round bout as the chief support for the third fight between Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado on HBO on January 24th at the 1stBank Center, Bloomfield, Colorado, USA.


This fight presents itself as the first halfway decent opponent that the long-armed 23-year-old Ramirez has faced during his five-year pro career, and it should be interesting to see how he looks. Right now it’s still extremely difficult to tell whether Ramirez is any good or not because he’s faced such poor opposition, and he’s proven to be very easy to hit.

What you can say is he’d likely be in a world of hurt if he were to be put in with the top guys like Andre Ward and Carl Froch. But if Ramirez can be maneuvered around those fighters, it’s possible he could one day in the near future win a world title belt and hold onto it for a considerable amount of time with the right match-making and the right rankings by the sanctioning bodies.

Ramirez defeated 37-year-old Fulgencio Zuniga by an 8th round knockout in a workmanlike performance last November. Ramirez didn’t look that great in the fight unfortunately, but styles make fights. It’s possible that Ramirez would look better against a different type of opponent. However, he’s going to need to fix his defense because he’s just too easy to hit right now. Against a good fighter, Ramirez is going to take too many hits to the head and you don’t want to see him getting nailed too many times as he moves up a level in opposition.

Vlasov, 28, has won his last 11 fights since he was soundly beaten by Isaac Chilemba in 2011. The loss to Chilemba incidentally was the last time that Vlasov fought a good opponent. He’s had it soft in the last three years.

“Vlasov presents a whole different problem for Gilberto Ramirez,” Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti said to Dan Rafael of ESPN.com. “His gaudy 30-1 record and no fear should present a pre-fireworks show leading up to Rios-Alvarado, which will truly shake the Rocky Mountains. This fight will go a long way in telling us where Gilberto Ramirez is as an elite fighter. I expect nothing but a good fight.”

We really don’t know if Ramirez is an elite fighter or not. Moretti is kind of getting ahead of himself here. An elite fighter is someone who is up there with the likes of Ward and Froch at super middleweight, and I don’t think you can put Ramirez in that class with the way he’s looked as a pro.

Ramirez looks to me to be a step below Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in terms of talent. I rate Chavez Jr as a good fighter, but definitely not an elite fighter at 168. He was an elite fighter at middleweight due to his size more so than his talent, but at super middleweight, Chavez Jr appears to be just another contender.


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