By Dan Ambrose: WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (34-0, 24 KOs) and his promoters at Top Rank are very interested in setting up a match against unbeaten middleweight Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (35-0, 32 KOs).
While the fight has been talked about taking place in early 2017, there is an outside chance that we could see the two fighters facing each other at the end of this year if Ramirez wins his next fight on July 23 against #11 WBO Dominik Britsch (32-2-1, 11 KOs) – and if Golovkin’s promoters at K2 Promotions aren’t able to negotiate a fight against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez or WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders.
Canelo is Triple G’s Plan-A opponent, Saunders the Plan-B option, and Ramirez the Plan-C. Ramirez, 24, does not have a great chance of getting the GGG fight in 2016, but there is a slight chance if Golovkin’s management comes up empty in trying to lure Canelo and Saunders into the ring with Golovkin.
I think the odds are very high that Golovkin won’t get the fight against Canelo in 2016. Saunders is a different story. It’s a doable fight for Golovkin as long as they come up with the money he wants, and possibly agree to fight him in the UK.
“I’m skeptical but I guess it could happen if Zurdo wins July 23,” said Dan Rafael during his chat at espn.com.
I’m in agreement with Rafael. I think it’s highly doubtful we’ll see Golovkin fighting Ramirez this year, but for it to happen, Ramirez will need to get past the 28-year-old Britsch on July 23 on HBO PPV. If Ramirez fails to win that fight, then he can forget about Triple G. The good news for Ramirez is that Britsch is hardly invincible. His resume is padded from top to bottom with weak journeyman and novice level opposition.
Britsch has never beaten a high quality or even a mid-range level opposition. His wins have all come against very weak opposition. Only the World Boxing Organization knows why they ranked Britsch at No.11. Britsch has lost in the past to Soufiene Ouerghi and Roberto Santos. He never got around to avenging either of those defeats. In Britsch’s last four fights since his loss to the little known Ouerghi, he’s beaten the following lower level opponents: Slavisa Simeunovic (20-13), Aro Schwartz (6-1), Adnan Zilic (12-11), and Suleyman Dag (10-63). The WBO has made it easy on Ramirez to get an easy title defense by ranking Britsch rather than putting some tougher contenders in their rankings.
Golovkin wants the fights against Canelo or Saunders, but he may wind up facing the 6’2” Ramirez. It could turn out to be a good thing for Golovkin because Ramirez will help attract a lot of boxing fans to the fight. If they stage the Golovkin-Ramirez fight in Texas or Southern California, it’ll be a big deal. It obviously won’t be comparable to a Golovkin vs. Canelo fight, but I think it’ll be a bigger fight than Golovkin vs. Saunders. The only thing that Saunders brings to the table for Golovkin is his WBO middleweight title. Golovkin wants that belt, and the only way he can get it is to take on a less than popular fighter in Saunders.
Apart from the Golovkin fight, Top Rank needs to increase the level of opposition Ramirez is facing if they want to turn him into a star in the United States. Putting him in with fringe level opposition like Britsch isn’t going to do much to raise Ramirez’s profile. Top Rank boss Bob Arum needs to match Ramirez against the better fighters in the division. Ramirez can probably hold onto his WBO title for many years if all Top Rank is going to do is match him against fighters like Britsch.