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Anthony Crolla vs. Edson Ramirez on Joshua-Parker card on March 31

By Scott Gilfoid: Anthony Crolla (32-6-3, 13 KOs) will be taking a stay busy fight against little known 2nd tier fighter Edson Ramirez on the undercard of the heavyweight unification clash between IBF, WBA champion Anthony Joshua and WBO strap holder Joseph Parker on March 31 on Sky Box Office at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

It’s unclear at this point if the 31-year-old Crolla’s fight against Ramirez (18-2-1, 8 KOs) will make it on the televised portion of the card. The fight is a huge mismatch on paper, so it’s debatable whether Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn will have the Crolla-Ramirez fight on the televised portion of the card.

The undercard as already for three MUCH better fights between welterweight Josh Kelly and former IBF junior middleweight champion Carlos Molina, WBA Super World bantamweight champion Ryan Burnett defending against Yonfrez Parejo and former WBA World heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin facing former British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion David Price. It would seem to me that those three would be the likely fights that will make it on the televised portion of the Sky Box Office undercard on March 31. Crolla vs. Ramirez is too much of a mismatch.

“Eddie Hearn and I met recently and we outlined a plan to get back to world titles and Cardiff is the first fight in that plan,” said Crolla to “I need to get out there and get another win and then we can look for a big fight in the summer. I want a test and Ramirez will be well up for it,” Crolla said.

Crolla hasn’t fought in five months since his controversial 12 round unanimous decision win over Ricky Burns on October 7 at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. Boxing News 24 had Burns winning that fight. Crolla looked like he still hadn’t shaken off the after effects from having been beaten twice in a row by Jorge Linares in 2016 and 2017.

Luckily for Crolla, the judges in his hometown of Manchester gave him the ‘W’ against Burns, because he sure looked like he lost that fight to me. If I had my eyes closed for the first 10 rounds, then maybe I could give the win to Crolla, because he did fight well in the last two rounds, but Burns was clearly the better fighter on the night. Scoring like that is such a tragedy for boxing. You get a guy that didn’t deserve the victory getting the nod.

Crolla having to sit for 5 months doing nothing and then coming back to fight a B-level fighter in Ramirez, that’s not a good deal. You can’t really call this a true fight for Crolla, because he’s not going to get much from beating up on Ramirez. What Crolla needs is to be fighting the best in the 135 lb. weight class. He’s 31 now, and he can’t afford to be sitting on the shelf for five months and then coming back to fight a non-name second tier fighter like Ramirez.

It looks to me like Hearn might be overwhelmed trying to find opponents for his growing stable of Matchroom fighters. He needs to delegate authority to some other Matchroom employees to hunt down QUALITY opposition for aging fighters like Crolla to keep them busy instead of having him throw away half a year and then come against a second tier fighter in Ramirez.

Crolla is ranked #2 by the World Boxing Association. He wants a title shot, and probably will get one in the near future, but it won’t be against a guy that he’s capable of beating unfortunately. Crolla has already lost twice to Linares, and he’s about to fight Vasyl Lomachenko on May 12. Lomachenko is considered a favorite to win that fight. Crolla is going to be out of his depth against Lomachenko. He might get a nice payday against Lomachenko, but that’s about it. I don’t see Crolla being competitive against a fighter like Lomachenko.

What Crolla should do is forget about the WBA strap and go after either the IBF title against Robert Easter Jr. or the WBO belt. Crolla could also go after the WBC title once Mikey Garcia vacates the title, which could happeh very soon due to him now fighting at light welterweight and thinking about moving up to welterweight. There are two to three great opportunities for Crolla to possibly win a title at lightweight if he goes in the right direction. The WBA title is the wrong direction in my view for Crolla to be going after, because he’s not going to beat a talent like Lomachenko. There’s no point in Crolla fighting Linares again, because he’s already established that he’s the far better fighter of the two.

What Hearn should be doing is putting Crolla and Burns back inside the ring with each other and have the rematch take place in a neutral country with quality judges working. It would be far better for the boxing public to see Crolla fighting Burns again then in him facing an over-matched opponent like Edson Ramirez. That’s the type of opponent that Crolla would have been fighting 12 years ago when he was first starting out, not at this point in his career. That’s just wrong.

Crolla needs to start leaning on Hearn about keeping him busy and making sure he’s being matched against live bodies rather than fighters dragged into the ring for him to beat him. Crolla is too old to be fighting fodder at this point. He needs to take advantage of what little time left he has in boxing by being matched against the best. If not the best, then at Crolla should be fighting fringe level opposition. Ramirez isn’t even fringe level. He’s a second tier guy.

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