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Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez vs. Rocky Fielding possible for June/July

Gilberto Ramirez

By Chris Williams: WBO World super middleweight champion Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez (37-0, 26 KOs) could be making his next defense against #3 WBO Rocky Fielding (26-1, 14 KOs) in June or July in a Top Rank promoted card on ESPN in the U.S.

Fielding was knocked out in the 1st round by Callum Smith on November 7, 2015. Smith knocked Fielding down three times in the 1st round before it was finally halted. Fielding has won his last five fights, beating Kael Horejsek, David Brophy, John Ryder, Istvan Zeller and Christopher Rebrasse. Don’t be too fooled by the 30-year-old Fielding’s 26-1 record. Those wins have largely come against weak opposition at super middleweight. The only two decent – not good – opponents that Fielding has faced during his 8-year pro career is Callum Smith and Christopher Rebrasse. Fielding’s record in those two fights is 1-1.

“I’ve been talking with (Top Rank vice president) Carl Moretti about doing the fight this summer,” Fielding’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing said to “We hope to agree to terms. We’re trying to get to the right number.”

With the way Top Rank is matching Ramirez, he has to be seen as having a very good chance of breaking Mayweather’s 50-0 record. That’s not because Ramirez is the best fighter in the 168 b. weight or even the second best. It’s because he’s because he’s being matched against weak opposition in record-padding fights. Nowadays when you see a fighter with an unblemished record like Ramirez’s 37-0 record, it should send warning signals to you about how this guy is being matched.

Ramirez’s best opposition thus far during his 9-year pro career are these guys:

• Jesse Hart

• Arthur Abraham – a past his best fighter

• Max Bursak – fringe contender

• Maksim Vlasov

• Derek Edwards – journeyman

It sure would be nice for Top Rank to start matching Ramirez against good opposition. I’m wondering what they’re waiting for. They should have had Ramirez take part in the World Boxing Super Series tournament against the best fighter sin the super middleweight division instead of looking to defend against Fielding, which is another mismatch for Ramirez. This week, Top Rank boss Bob Arum volunteered to have Ramirez face Golovkin on May 5th, albeit at super middleweight for his WBO title. There’s no way Golovkin was going to move up to super middleweight and challenge the southpaw Ramirez on only four weeks’ notice. Top Rank should have volunteered Ramirez to melt down and take the fight with Golovkin at 160, because that’s his weight class, not super middleweight.

Ramirez’s promoters at Top Rank are negotiating with Field’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing to put the fight together. This will be the fourth defense for the 26-year-old Ramirez of his WBO 168 lb. title. Top Rank haven’t been going out of their way to match Ramirez against good opposition since he beat Arthur Abraham by a 12 round unanimous decision two years ago in April 2016 to win the WBO 168 lb. title from him.

Ramirez has defended his WBO title thus far in mismatches against Habib Ahmed and Max Bursak. The only tough opponent Ramirez has had was fellow Top Rank fighter Jesse Hart, who he beat by a 12 round unanimous decision on September 22. The last title defense Top Rank set Ramirez up against was Habib Ahmed, who was woefully bad. It was so one-sided that was just awful to watch.

You had to wonder what went through the mind of the Top Rank match-maker to have Ramirez defend against such a terribly over-matched opponent like Ahmed on national television. You could see this was going to be a car crash type of fight from the moment the fight was signed, and it just makes you wonder if there someone asleep at the wheel with Ramirez’s management in choosing to make this terrible fight.

Top Rank needs to move Ramirez up against better opposition because he’s being wasted, and the opposition he’s been facing has been so woeful that he’s not coming out of the fights looking impressive. Usually when a promoter is setting their fighters up in showcase fights against horribly over-matched opposition, it’s done with the idea that the boxing public will get excited about that fighter and start thinking their great and will want to see more of them. I don’t see that happening with Ramirez. The reason why I suspect is because the opposition is just so bad that Ramirez looks bad for having fought the guys he’s being fed.

Hearn is throwing Fields to the wolves by matching him against Ramirez. That’s unlike Hearn. He usually is very careful in the way he matches his fighters in his Matchroom Boxing stable. Last Saturday, Hearn matched his fighter David Price against former WBA heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin in a mismatch that ended badly for Price with him getting stopped in the 5th round. It just makes you wonder if Hearn is less careful with some of his fighters in his stable than others. Fielding is way over his head against Ramirez, and I can’t believe Hearn is agreeing to make this fight. Fielding would have a better chance against WBA ‘regular’ champion Tyron Zeuge than he would against Ramirez. Instead of Hearn matching Fielding against Ramirez in a title shot that he doesn’t rate, they should put him back in with Callum smith so he can try and avenge his 1st round knockout loss.

Ramirez will have to eventually face someone good. Just when that happens, I have no idea. Hart is back at No.1 with the World Boxing Organization despite the fact that he was beaten last September by Ramirez by a 12 round unanimous decision. What happened to the days when the sanctioning bodies would lower a fighter’s rankings when they would lose? I wonder why the WBO didn’t drop Hart down five or six spots in their top 15 ranking after his loss to Ramirez.

Ramirez isn’t a big puncher, so Fielding should be able to escape the 1st round without getting knocked out by him, but he’s still likely going to lose by a knockout at some point. Ramirez is a much better fighter than Fielding. This isn’t going to be a competitive fight.

I’d like to see Top Rank match Ramirez against some good fighters for a change. If they want Ramirez to become a star, then they need to take some risks with him by putting him in with these fighters: George Groves, Callum Smith, David Benavidez, Tyron Zeuge, Jose Uzcategui, Chris Eubank Jr., James DeGale, Calen Truax, Peter Quillin, Caleb Plant, and Juergen Braehmer.

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