Arum offering Gilberto Ramirez as replacement for Gennady Golovkin on May 5
By Chris Williams: Top Rank promoter Bob Arum reportedly is offering his fighter WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez (37-0, 25 KOs) as the replacement opponent to face Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) on May 5 on Cinco de Mayo if Saul Canelo’ Alvarez is suspended further by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, according to news from Michael Benson.
(Photo credit: World Boxing Council)
The catch is GGG would have to move up to 168 to challenge the 6’2 ½” Ramirez for his WBO super middleweight title rather than the fight taking place at 160 for Golovkin’s IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight straps. Ramirez, 26, barely makes weight for the 168 lb. weight class, and he would have a huge size advantage over Golovkin. You can argue it would be Golovkin fighting a light heavyweight. Ramirez really should be thinking about moving up to 175, because the guy is huge for the 168 lb. weight class.
“On behalf of Zurdo Ramirez, we would accept a challenge from GGG to fight for Zurdo’s super middleweight title,” Arum said.
The fighters are coming out of the woodwork to volunteer to be Golovkin’s replacement opponent for May 5th. Besides Gilberto Ramirez, Demetrius Andrade, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Jermall Charlo have expressed interest in wanting to fight him. Chavez Jr. posted on Instagram that the fight with GGG should take place at 168. Obviously, that’s not going to happen. Chavez Jr. hasn’t fought since losing an embarrassingly one-sided 12 round unanimous decision to Canelo last May on HBO PPV.
If Golovkin moves up to super middleweight, he’s better off fighting WBA champion George Groves or Callum Smith, depending on which of those two who win the World Boxing Super Series tournament. Golovkin can make big money traveling to the UK fighting the winner of Groves-Smith. Golovkin vs. Ramirez is more of a lesser fight, because the Top Rank fighter is not a star in the U.S. Golovkin would be doing Ramirez and Top Rank a big favor if he agrees to this fight, because it would be giving him a lot of attention without getting much in return.
Arum has been interested in matching Ramirez with Golovkin for well over a year now. However, Golovkin hasn’t been ready to move up to 168 to take on Ramirez for his WBO 168 lb. title. Golovkin wants to beat Canelo in their rematch, and then unify the 160 lb. weight class by beating WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders. If Canelo is suspended by the Nevada Commission for 6 months to a year, then it’s going to delay Golovkin moving up to super middleweight. Golovkin might not move up to super middleweight anyway, even after he does face Canelo in the rematch and unify the middleweight division. Golovkin might stick around the 160 lb. weight class and fight Canelo a third time and then defend his titles against challengers Daniel Jacobs, Jermall Charlo and Sergiy Derevyanchenko.
It’s unlikely to happen. Golovkin would only have 3 weeks to prepare for Ramirez, because the Nevada Commission doesn’t meet with Canelo Alvarez until April 18. That’s when Golovkin will find out whether he’ll be facing Canelo on May 5th or not. Golovkin is certainly not going to move up to super middleweight and take on Ramirez with only 3 weeks’ notice, even though he’s a vulnerable champion and not viewed as the best or even the second-best fighter in the 168 lb. weight class by boxing fans. The best at super middleweight is George Groves and Callum Smith. Ramirez is possibly No.3 or No.4 depending on what one thinks of WBC champion David Benavidez and WBA ‘regular’ champion Tyron Zeuge.
Ramirez obviously wouldn’t move up to 175 on 3 weeks’ notice and take on WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol. That would be an insane move for Ramirez, and it would likely end badly for him.
The potential replacement opponents for Golovkin to fight on May 5th are Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan and Jaime Munguia. O’Sullivan, 33, is a fringe contender at middleweight, whereas the 21-year-old Munguia is a lower level contender at 154.
It’s being said that Munguia has already been offered the fight with GGG if Canelo is banned by the Nevada Commission. Munguia is from Mexico, and the May 5th date for Golovkin’s fight falls on the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo at the T-Mobile in Las Vegas, Nevada. The fight is still going to be taking place on HBO pay-per-view. Golovkin vs. Munguia is probably not going to sell at all on HBO PPV. It might sell some tickets for the T-Mobile, but it won’t attract a lot of PPV buys, because even the hardcore boxing fans aren’t well familiar with Munguia, and he’s a complete unknown with the casual fans. O’Sullivan is well known – but not well thought of – by the hardcore fans in the U.S. He’s not a household name with the casual fans. It’s basically the same thing as Golovkin fighting Munguia. Few fans are going to be interested in seeing either of those fights. The only thing Golovkin can hope for is the boxing fans tune in to see him just based on his popularity. In other words, the fans will only be tuning in to see him, and not because he’s facing Munguia or O’Sullivan.
Ramirez, 26, has been a disappointment as the WBO 168 lb. champion. When Ramirez became WBO super middleweight champion two years ago after being an over-the-hill Arthur Abraham, it was thought he would face good opposition and show that he’s the best fighter in the 168 lb. weight class. Instead of facing the best, Ramirez has been milking his WBO title beating little known Habib Ahmed, Max Bursak and fellow Top Rank fighter Jesse Hart. Ahmed and Bursak were terrible opponents for Ramirez. He won but the fights were one-sided from start to finish.
The match-making was so bad that Ramirez might as well have been a contender again rather than a world champion. Ramirez’s fight with Hart was a good one last September with both guys landing huge shots, and Ramirez winning a close decision despite being rocked a few times by big uppercuts. Top Rank didn’t have Ramirez participate in the World Boxing Super Series tournament for some reason. That was the perfect opportunity for Ramirez to make a name for himself competing against the likes of George Groves, Chris Eubank Jr., Juerge Braehmer and Callum Smith. It’s too bad Ramirez didn’t compete in the tournament because he would have increased his fan base if he won the tournament. That was a huge missed opportunity for Gilberto Ramirez.