By Dan Ambrose: Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has a big fight for his unbeaten WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (34-0, 24 KOs) next year in May 2017. Arum plans on matching Ramirez against IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (35-0, 32 KOs), according to Lance Pugmire of the LA Times.
Golovkin will be moving up to super middleweight to make the fight happen. Arum doesn’t expect Golovkin to have faced Mexican star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez by that time. Golovkin wants the fight against Canelo, but if that fight doesn’t happen, then Golovkin will face Ramirez.
Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler likes the Ramirez fight for Golovkin. Ramirez was a third option for Golovkin this year if he can’t get Canelo or WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders. However, it looks like Arum wants to wait on the Ramirez vs. Golovkin fight until next year in May rather than having the fight take place in 2016. Golovkin will need to look for another opponent then.
“Told by Bob Arum and Ramire ‘Zurdo’ rep @KnuckleheadSean that plan is to fight twice this year, then GGG Boxing in May,” said Pugmire on his Twitter. “Arum repeats his stance that he doesn’t believe Canelo will fight GGGBoxing before then. Again, Ramire ‘Zurdo’ fights Germany’s Dominik Britsch in first WBO super-middle title defense on Crawford-Postol July 23 undercard at MGM Grand.”
Arum believes that Ramirez can become another star like Canelo Alvarez. Ramirez is less of a slugger than Canelo, but he’s a much more mobile fighter with different skill sets. If Arum can turn Ramirez into a PPV star, he would have his replacement for Pacquiao.
Terence Crawford, another one of Arum’s fighters in his Top Rank stable, might not pan out as a PPV attraction. We’re going to find out on July 23 if Crawford can bring in the buys when he faces Postol. Ramirez is fighting in the co-feature against Britsch.
If Ramirez’s fight brings in higher ratings than Crawford-Postol, then Arum will need to re-think the idea of having Ramirez fight on the undercards of Crawford. He might need to switch things around by putting Crawford on Ramirez’s undercards.
If Ramirez can fight occasionally at light heavyweight, he could further his career at a quicker pace because he could fight guys like Sergey Kovalev, Adonis Stevenson, Juergen Braehmer, Andre Ward, Eleider Alvarez and Artur Beterbiev.
Ramirez, 24, will be taking a risky fight in facing Golovkin. Ramirez wants that fight, and he’s not bringing up catch-weight or any excuses about being pressured by the WBC. Ramirez wants to face Golovkin, and his promoter Arum wants that fight too.
Arum is wise not to protect Ramirez from the better fighters like Golovkin because if he takes it slow with his career, it may take years for the Mexican fighter to become popular. At least by Arum matching him against guys like Golovkin, Ramirez can build up his name and his fan base in the process. He could learn from the Golovkin fight if he doesn’t get knocked out by him too quickly.
Ramirez will be making his first defense of his WBO super middleweight title against #11 WBO Dominik Britsch (32-2-1, 11 KOs) on July 23 on HBO pay-per-view on the Terence Crawford vs. Viktor Postol fight card from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ramirez recently won the WBO title last April in beating 36-year-old Arthur Abraham by a 12 round decision. Ramirez used combinations and movement to befuddle Abraham in a fight that was surprisingly one-sided. Abraham looked like he didn’t have his heart into the fight.
It’s unclear if the 84-year-old Arum will try and take the Cinco de Mayo Mexican holiday next May for the Ramirez vs. Golovkin fight. If that turns out to be the case, then you can expect Canelo to resist that by having his own fight scheduled on the same night. Canelo has already said that he’s going to be taking the Mexican holiday dates and using them for his fights from now on.
When Floyd Mayweather Jr. was still fighting, he was the one taking the dates. With Mayweather out of the picture this month, Canelo took Cinco de Mayo for himself in his fight against Amir Khan. However, Mayweather could be fighting on the Mexican Independence day this year on September 17 against Conor McGregor if they can get that fight put together.