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Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez vs. Roamer Alexis Angulo in the works for June 30

Gilberto Ramirez

By Chris Williams: WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez (37-0, 25 KOs) will defend his WBO title against No.10 WBO Roamer Alexis Angulo (23-0, 20 KOs) of Colombia on June 30 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The Ramirez vs. Angulo fight will be televised on ESPN.

I’ve never heard of Angulo before. In the video I’ve seen of Angulo, he seems to have some punching power with his right hand. He looks slow though, and doesn’t have any jab to speak of. Angulo was mentioned as a possible opponent for Mikkel Kessler to fight last November, but the fight never happened.

The location of the fight is interesting. Ramirez is from Mexico, so it would seem like a better option for him would be to fight in California in Southern California or in Texas where the fight would have a better chance of selling out.

Oklahoma City would be great if this were a basketball game instead of boxing. The reason the Ramirez vs. Angulo fight is taking place in Oklahoma City is because the Top Rank promoted light welterweight contender Alex Saucedo (27-0, 17 KOs) is fighting in the co-feature bout against Lenny Zappavigna (37-3, 27 KOs) in a 10 round fight.

The 23-year-old Saucedo is from Oklahoma City, and he has a large following in that area. However, Saucedo is still a contender at this stage of his career and not a world champion yet. He’s ranked #2 WBA and #3 WBO. Top Rank could either have Saucedo challenge WBA 140lb champion Kirlyl Relikh or fight for the WBO title in the near future.

They’re not positioning Saucedo to go after the WBC title, and one possible reason for that is Top Rank already has one of their fighters holding the belt in Jose Ramirez. He might not hold it for very long though, because he’ll need to fight Regis Prograis soon, and he could be the best fighter in the 140 lb. division today now that Terence Crawford is gone. Even if Crawford was still around, Progais might still be the best fighter at 140. Saucedo has a good chance of beating Relikh for the WBA title or fighting the winner of the Terry Flanagan vs. Maurice Hooker fight for the WBO belt. The Saucedo vs. Zappavigna fight was supposed to be taking place on the undercard of the June 9 fight between WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn and Terence Crawford, but Top Rank decided to move the fight.

This will be the fourth title defense for the 26-year-old Ramirez, whose promoters at Top Rank have been matching him against beatable contenders for the most part since he captured his WBO title two years ago in beating Arthur Abraham. In Ramirez’s three prior successful title defenses, he’s beaten Habib Ahmed, Jessie Hart and Max Bursak. The win over Hart was a close 12 round decision for Ramirez. The Bursak and Ahmed fights were mismatches against fringe contenders.

There are a couple of ways boxing promoters attempt to turn their fighters into stars. The first method is to match them against mediocre opponents in showcase fights to make them look better than they actually are. The other method is to put them in against the best, and hope they look good and don’t get beaten. It appears that Top Rank is trying the first method by matching Ramirez against beatable opposition in showcase fights. You can argue that the only good opponent that Ramirez has fought since he won the WBO title against Jesse Hart last year in September. Ramirez barely won the fight by a 12 round unanimous decision. Hart came within an eyelash of knocking Ramirez out. The scoring was close with Ramirez getting the nod by the scores 115-112, 114-113 and 115-112.

This choice of opponent by Top Rank for Ramirez is a disappointing one for boxing fans, because they want to see the Mexican fighter start stepping it up against better opposition already. Ramirez has been matched like he’s being protected from the better fighters in the division.

The 34-year-old Roamer Alexis Angulo has been fighting as a pro for the last 8 years since 2010, and his best wins have come against Rolando Wenceslao Mansilla (13-4-1), Everet Bravo (24-8) and Claudio Ariel Abalos (30-15-3). Angulo is taking a big step up in taking on Ramirez at a fairly advanced age for someone that is still fighting journeyman level opposition. Angulo might not be ready for such a big step up in class.

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