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Robeisy Ramírez defeats Shakur Stevenson


By Allan Fox: Cuba’s Robeisy Ramírez captured his second gold medal in defeated Shakur Stevenson in the men’s finals in the bantamweight division in beating him by a three-round split decision in the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Brazil.

The taller, more powerful 19-year-old Stevenson landed the cleaner and hard shots in the fight, but the judges were more impressed with aggressiveness and combination punching from the 22-year-old Ramírez, who was constantly coming forward looking to turn the fight into a brawl on the inside.

After the judges’ scores were announced, Stevenson started crying and he was pretty emotional about losing.

While some boxing fans griped about the ultimate decision, Ramírez appeared to be the better fighter. Stevenson’s professional style and his slow and deliberate pace of fighting just aren’t suited towards the amateur level and definitely not the upper rungs of Olympic competition. It requires a much faster pace of fighting with a lot of combinations, which is what we saw from the Cuban Ramirez. His style of fighting was too much for Stevenson, who didn’t look ready for the speed, talent and pressure from Ramírez.

There was no one that Stevenson fought in Rio Olympics that could prepare him for a fighter like Ramírez.

If Stevenson had won the gold medal, he would have been the United States’ first gold medal winner since 2004, when Andre Ward captured a gold medal in the light heavyweight division.
Before this fight, Stevenson had beaten the following fighters in the 2016 Olympics in Rio:

Robenílson de Jesus (Brazil)

Tsendbaatar Erdenebat (Mongolia)

Vladimir Nikitin (Russia)

Stevenson only has himself to blame for the loss to Ramírez, because he wasn’t letting his hands go nearly as frequently as the Cuban fighter. Ramírez looked well coached and seemed to realize exactly what he needed to do to get the points victory.

Stevenson, as talented as he was, didn’t fight the right kind of fight to beat Ramírez. With the right coaching ahead of time, Stevenson possibly could have won this fight, but we’ll never know now. Stevenson lost clearly, and he’ll be turning pro after the Olympics and fighting with Floyd Mayweather Jr’s stable of fighters.

For his part, Ramírez will probably look to capture a third gold medal in the 2020 Olympics. He’ll only be 26, and young enough to go for another gold medal if he can make the Cuban Olympic squad. It’s country that is always producing amazing talented fighters, so it’s possible that Ramírez could get beaten out by another amazing fighter. However, as good as Ramírez is, he would likely switch to a different weight class and still make the Cuban Olympic team. He’s too good to be denied.

Ramírez looked great in breezing through his competition in the Olympics in beating these fighters:

Shiva Thapa (India)

Mohamed Hamout (Morocco)

Jiawei Zhang (China)

Murodjon Akhmadaliev (Uzbekistan)

Stevenson and Ramírez southpaw styles clashed with each other at times, as both guys looked to land shots and were nailed with left hands to the head.

Ramírez’s blazing hand speed and fierce attacking style enabled him to jump out quickly in the lead after round one. Stevenson wasn’t ready for the kind of speed and the attacking style of Ramírez initially and he definitely gave up round one. Stevenson came back strong in round two to land some hard shots that caught the shorter Ramírez. Stevenson won round two by all three cards by the judges.

However in the third round, Ramírez was back on the attack in nailing Stevenson and pushing the pace. Stevenson looked like he wanted to box, and play defense instead of punch, which in hindsight was the wrong thing to do. Ramírez was telling Stevenson to fight so that they could make it exciting for the boxing fans at ringside, but Stevenson ignored him and continued to box slowly.

Not surprisingly, two of judges gave Ramírez round three based on his aggressiveness. I can’t blame the judges. I thought Ramírez won the third round too, because he was the one trying to make the fight.

Stevenson’s fighting style should help him find success in the pro ranks. However, he’ll need to move up in weight to make the bigger money because the paydays at bantamweight, super bantamweight, and lightweight aren’t huge in the pro ranks. If Stevenson can move up to light welterweight at least, he could have a nice future in the pro ranks and make good money.

It’s better for Stevenson to turn pro right now because there’s no guarantee that he would win a gold medal in the 2020 if he chooses to stay an amateur for another four years to see if he can win a gold medal. Further, if Stevenson continues to fight like he does now, he could find himself having the same problems in the next Olympics as he did in this one in not having a busy enough fighting style to beat the top guys from Cuban some of the Eastern European countries.

Stevenson is a good fighter, but he just doesn’t seem capable of fighting at a fast enough pace to dominate the better schooled fighters that have styles that are perfect for the amateurs. Stevenson fought like some of the pros that took part in the 2016 Olympics. They weren’t fighting at a fast pace like the amateurs because they had become so accustomed to fighting slowly in the pros in order to break down their opponent over a 10 to 12 round fight. You can’t fight like that in the amateurs because you only have three rounds and you need to fight at a blistering pace.

Stevenson should feel proud that he was able to give Ramírez so many problems because this was not an easy fight for him. Stevenson gave the 22-year-old Ramírez all he could handle with his punching power, size and defense in the fight. Stevenson made it hard for Ramírez to land his fast combinations. We saw the frustration on Ramírez’s face in round three, when he annoyingly motioned repeatedly for Stevenson to start fighting and stop fighting at a slow pace. Stevenson made it difficult for Ramírez to land his shots in that round.

It’s unfortunate that Ramírez can’t turn pro. The only way he can turn pro would be if he left Cuban like some of the past Cuban Olympic gold medalists have done. Ramírez looks like he has the talent to be another Vasyl Lomachenko type of fighter, but more exciting though because he likes to mix it up more.

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