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Loeffler: Gilberto Ramirez is Golovkin’s best option if no Canelo

Billy Joe Saunders Canelo Alvarez Gennady GolovkinBy Dan Ambrose: According to IBF/IBO/WBA middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler, unbeaten WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (34-0, 24 KOs) is Golovkin’s best option for later this year if they can’t get WBC middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez or WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders inside the ring for a unification fight.

Ramirez defeated WBO champion Arthur Abraham last Saturday night in outclassing him by winning a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ramirez vs. Abraham was televised on HBO PPV on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao vs. Tim Bradley 3 card.

Ramirez not only beat the 36-year-old Abraham, but he totally dominated him. In winning that fight, Ramirez won over a lot of boxing fans that had never seen him before in the fight. Ramirez made it look so easy in beating the hard hitting Abraham. It clearly wasn’t an easy fight for Ramirez, as his face took a pounding in the fight but he still made it look easy. Abraham is just a hard hitter and he bruised Ramirez’s face up.

The 24-year-old Ramirez would be Plan-C for Golovkin if he can’t get either Canelo or Saunders to agree to fight GGG. Loeffler is hoping that Canelo’s huge pride will cause him to eventually agree to take the fight with Golovkin this year, but if he doesn’t, then Ramirez could come into play. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who promotes Ramirez, wants to have him defend his title in the summer against likely Jesse Hart.

If Ramirez wins that fight, then the idea is to have him face Golovkin either late this year or in early 2017. Arum doesn’t think Canelo will agree to a fight against Golovkin. He thinks that Canelo wants no part of that fight. Arum doesn’t have any qualms about having his bigger fighter Ramirez face Golovkin, as long as the fight takes place at 168 in the super middleweight division. The 5’10 ½” Golovkin would move up in weight for one fight to take the fight with the bigger 6’2” Ramirez.

“If Canelo or Saunders won’t fight, Ramirez is the best option.… I’ve learned with Gennady I need a Plan A, B and C … so we can get a date,” Loeffler said to the latimes.com. “Ramirez would be the biggest fighter [at nearly 6-foot-2] that Gennady has fought. He has a following and gained new fans Saturday night. It’d be a huge event, to combine that with the momentum and energy Gennady has. Gennady just needs to win April 23.”

It might wind up as a big event if Golovkin faces Ramirez. It’s obviously a little soon in Ramirez’s career for it to be a huge fight, but Golovkin just turned 34, and he cannot afford to wait four or five years for Ramirez to season and become a big name before he agrees to fight him.

Golovkin pretty much has to face Ramirez now, especially given that Ramirez will likely need to move up to light heavyweight sooner or laster. He already looks huge for the super middleweight division. It’s hard to imagine Ramirez being able to make 168 for too much longer once he starts filling out more. Therefore, it’s better for Golovki to fight Ramirez now while he’s still able to make 168 rather than waiting for him to move up to 175. The fight won’t be doable once Ramirez is fighting at light heavyweight.

“Bob doesn’t promote Canelo,” Loeffler said. “Everyone can have an opinion. Until Canelo makes a decision, it’s up to him … and hard to speculate. I know Canelo is a proud champion and not afraid to take risks. It’s nothing personal, but Gennady wants the WBC title.”

It’s a win-win situation for Bob Arum of Top Rank if he can get Golovkin to move up all the way to super middleweight to fight Ramirez, because it speeds up the process of turning Ramirez into a star. He doesn’t need to win in order to become a big name. All Ramirez needs to do is be competitive against Golovkin in losing. That’ll be enough for Ramirez to get known by a lot of fans, who will likely be impressed with him as long he doesn’t get run over like a speed bump by Golovkin.

Ramirez will need to figure out a different game plan to use against Golovkin than the one he used against Abraham last Saturday night, because the constant movement thing won’t work against Golovkin. Abraham had feet like lead last Saturday night, and he simply couldn’t cut off the ring against the constantly moving Ramirez. Even worse was that Abraham didn’t have the sense enough to realize that he needed to throw body shots against Ramirez to get him to stop running.

Golovkin is a lot better at dealing with runners. He stays with them as they move around the ring, and he’s constantly nailing them with body shots. They’re literally unable to run against him. If Ramirez can’t run around the ring against Golovkin, then he’ll be like a fly without it’s wing about to face a menacing spider.

Ramirez is good at fighting on the inside, but that not that good. He was almost beaten by Maxim Vlasov last year, which is why Ramirez’s handlers changed his fighting style to turn him into a runner. If Ramirez can’t run against Golovkin, then he’s going to be a sitting duck and he’ll get taken apart at the seams. When Ramirez can’t run, he’s very average fighter and not truly world class. I think we’re going to see Golovkin badly expose Ramirez if this fight takes place.

Ramirez is Plan-C for Golovkin. Loeffler is obviously going toi be working hard to try and get Canelo or Saunders in the ring for later this year. However, Loeffler can’t drag Canelo kicking and screaming into the ring with Golovkin. If Golden Boy Promotions’ golden goose Canelo doesn’t want to fight Golovkin, then there’s nothing Loeffler can do about it other than move on and look for his Plan-B option of facing WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders in a stadium fight in the UK.

Saunders and his promoter have been talking about wanting to take the fight with Golovkin after they take care of their next opponent Max Bursak on April 30. If Saunders chooses to drag his feet after that fight rather than accept the fight against Golovkin, then Loeffler will know at least that he’s only interested in name dropping and fighting soft options. They can then move on to Plan-C against Gilberto Ramirez.

Hopefully, Arum isn’t just name dropping Golovkin’s name too in trying to make his fighter Ramirez more popular the easy way instead of having him fight the best. It’s better for Arum to have Ramirez fight Golovkin because without a big name like that to fight Ramirez, it could take years for him to become a huge star.

At 84, I’m sure Arum would like to see his investment in Ramirez pay off sooner rather than later. It would open up a new revenue stream for Arum and his Top Rank company just as they’re losing their biggest money maker in Manny Pacquiao. Ramirez will need to put in a great showing against Golovkin to shoot his star power to the top. Even then, Ramirez would still need to prove that he can beat the top super middleweights in the division in James DeGale and Badou Jack.

It wouldn’t hurt if Arum were open to having Ramirez temporarily move up to light heavyweight to take on some of the most talented fighters in that weight class like Sergey Kovalev, Andre Ward, Adonis Stevenson, Juergen Braehmer, Artur Beterbiev, Eleider Alvarez, and Vyacheslav Shabranskyy. There are at least seven good fights for Ramirez at 175 if Arum is willing to test him against those fighters. Again, Ramirez would need to be able to actually fight these guys rather than running, because there is no way on earth that Ramirez would beat these fighters by running around the ring like he did against Abraham.


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