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Gilberto Ramirez wants unification fight after Britsch match

Dominik Britsch

By Dan Ambrose: WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (34-0, 24 KOs) is thinking past his scheduled defense against voluntary challenger Dominik Britsch (32-1-1, 11 KOs) next month on July 23 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ramirez, 24, is being lined up by his promoter Bob Arum for a big fight against middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin in the near future, perhaps in early 2017 if not this year. Ramirez wants to fight a unification match against one of the other 168lb champions in James DeGale, Badou Jack, Felix Sturm or Giovanni De Carolis.

Whether any of those fights can happen is unclear. DeGale and Jack are facing each other in a unification match in the summer. That’ll combine the WBC and IBF titles. Getting Sturm or De Carolis to fight Ramirez could require a large offer from Ramirez’s promoters at Top Rank, because those fighters might be better off milking their titles rather than facing Ramirez in a dangerous match.

“There are other champions in this division. Badou Jack, Felix Sturm, James DeGale. I would definitely want to unify a title with them,” said Ramirez to “Hopefully, they are willing as well.”

To get the names Ramirez mentioned, it’s going to require that his promoters at Top Rank come up with some money to make it worthwhile. It wouldn’t hurt if Ramirez were to look vulnerable in his fight against Britisch. I’m not talking about Ramirez purposefully looking beatable. I’m talking about him struggling to win this fight, and that in itself might make him someone who the other champions would be interested in facing. Unfortunately, many fighters and their management aren’t willing to take fights unless they feel dead certain they’re going to win. If they’re not sure that they can beat the 6’2” Ramirez, then they definitely won’t be taking that fight.

Rather than getting a unification fight, Ramirez might need to keep busy until he gets the Golovkin fight. Top Rank can match Ramirez against #1 WBO Jesse Hart next if they want to. They promote Hart, so it’s an easy fight to make if they’re willing to cut off one of their potential future revenue streams by matching them against each other at this early point in their careers.

Ramirez doesn’t have many easy options available to him once he gets past Britsch on July 23. If Top Rank can’t get Ramirez a unification fight or a match against Golovkin next, then they’ll be looking at some tough contenders like Rogelio Medina, Juergen Doberstein, Rohan Murdock, Trevor McCumby, or Robin Krasniqi. Those are guys that would be equally as easy as Britisch. If Arum wants to make it easy for Ramirez to hold onto his WBO title, then there are a number of options they can look to make sure he doesn’t have any risk involved.

Ramirez has been talking pretty bold as of late in wanting to fight Golovkin. It looks kind of bad that he’s fighting a limited fighter like Britsch after the way he’s talked. He should at least be fighting someone tough for his first defense like Hart.

Arum thinks Ramirez will be another star in the same mold as Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. What Ramirez has going against him is he didn’t have the early start like Canelo, who was fighting well known fighters for the last four years since he was 21. In the last four years, Canelo has fought the likes of Kermit Cintron, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Austin Trout, Josesito Lopez, Alfredo Angulo, Erislandy Lara, James Kirkland, Miguel Cotto and Amir Khan. The only big name Ramirez has on his resume is Arthur Abraham.

Ramirez has a long ways to go before he can get to where Canelo is now, and there are major question marks whether Arum is going to be able to get him the fights that he needs to for him to get to that level.

Ramirez-Britisch is the chief support on the Terence Crawford vs. Viktor Postol card on HBO PPV. It’s a good fight, but not quite co-feature type material. Ramirez will do well to try and get Britsch out of there as fast as he can so that he can impress the fans. He doesn’t need to have this fight go 12 rounds like his last one against Abraham.

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