By Chris Williams: WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez (39-0, 25 KOs) overcame a late surge from #1 Jesse Hart (25-1, 21 KOs) to win a narrow 12 round majority decision on Friday night in their rematch on ESPN+ at the American Bank Center, in Corpus Christi, Texas. The judges’ scores were 115-113, 115-113 for Ramirez, and 114-114.
(Photo Credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank)
Ramirez, 27, suffered an injury to his left arm late in the fight in the 8th. From that point on, Ramirez was mostly fighting with just one arm, and struggling at trying to hold back the 29-year-old Hart. Ramirez got the worst of it from rounds 8 to 11. In the 12th, Ramirez came on strong to buzz Hart in the early going. However, Hart came back to hurt Ramirez in the last 20 seconds of the round with a big uppercut.
Ramirez was able to make it out of the round just barely without getting knocked out. Ramirez did enough to get the decision by the superior work that he did in the first seven rounds. He really struggled in the last five rounds. That was a pure cave in for the 6’2 1/2″ Ramirez. If he had been facing someone with more of a constant work rate than Hart, he likely would have been knocked out tonight.
Hart gave away far too many rounds by not being busy enough. He didn’t show a sense of urgency until the later rounds after Ramirez was hurt. Hart wasn’t letting his hands go the way he needed to for him to have a chance of winning the fight. Ramirez wasn’t spectacular. He was just busy, and that was the key to victory.
Ramirez was in denial after the fight, talking about how he thought he won every round of the fight despite the fact he was getting lit up like a Christmas tree from the 8th round on. From Ramirez’s perspective, the huge shots that Hart was landing in the last five rounds weren’t enough for him to win the rounds. The judge obviously had a different view of things, as they gave Hart the majority of the rounds in the second half of the contest. If not for Ramirez’s steady work in the first six rounds, he would have lost the fight tonight.
“I won every round. I beat him clearly again,” Ramirez said after the fight. “I hurt my elbow in the eighth round, but if I didn’t hurt my elbow, I would’ve knocked him out. I am going to 175. I am ready to challenge Gvozdyk.”
Even if Ramirez didn’t hurt his elbow, he likely wouldn’t have knocked Hart out. Ramirez gassed out badly in the championship rounds, and that had nothing to do with his injured elbow. Ramirez was simply tired. Maybe that was the effects of having to drain down so much weight to make the 168 lb weight limit last Thursday. It was the same thing in the first fight between Ramirez and Hart. Ramirez dominated the first six rounds, and then got tired and was worked over much of the second half of the fight by the hard hitting Hart. Like tonight, Hart didn’t throw enough punches to get the win, and he was too reliant on his uppercut for his offense.
As far as Ramirez fighting WBC light heavyweight champion Oleksander Gvozdyk in his first fight in the 175 lb weight class. That might not be a good idea for Ramirez to take that fight right away. Gvozdyk is heavy-handed, and if he opens up on him with combinations in the second half of the fight, he could take him out like he did Adonis Stevenson recently. Ramirez needs to work on his conditioning. If he gets tired against Gvozdyk in the later rounds, he’ll get taken out.
With the victory, World Boxing Organization champion Ramirez said he’s going to be moving up to 175 to campaign as a light heavyweight. It appears that the struggles that Ramirez has had to make to get down to 168 has finally got up to him. It’s not surprising. Ramirez has looked huge for the super middleweight division in the last two years, and it was only a matter of time before he eventually moved up in weight to light heavyweight.
In moving up in weight, Ramirez will need to make a decision which belt to go after. WBO light heavyweight champion Eleider Alvarez might be the most vulnerable right off the bat for Ramirez. It depends on how good Ramirez’s punch resistance is. If he can hang with the power of the elite fighters at 175, then he should go after WBC champion Oleksander Gvozdyk, IBF champ Artur Beterbierv or WBA champ Dmitry Bivol. WBO belt holder Eleider Alvarez might be the weakest of the champions in the division right now. Ramirez would have a good chance of beating Alvarez to win the WBO belt. As the WBO 168 lb champ, Ramirez can get pushed to #1 in the WBO’s rankings at 175 and fight for the title soon if that’s the belt he wants to go after.
In other boxing results on tonight’s Ramirez vs. Hart II card:
Undefeated light welterweight Arnold Barboza Jr. (20-0, 7 KOs) defeated Manny Lopez (14-3-1, 7 KOs) by a 10 round unanimous decision. The scores were 100-90, 100-90 and 100-90. Barboza Jr. looked good. If he had a little more punching power, he’d be a threat to a lot of the fighters in the 140 lb weight class.
Bantamweight Joshua Greer Jr. (19-1-1, 11 KOs) defeated journeyman Daniel Lozano (15-6, 11 KOs) by a 7th round knockout.
Female featherweight Mikaela Mayer (9-0, 4 KOs) defeated Calixta Silgado (17-11-3, 12 KOs) by an eight round unanimous decision. The scores were 80-72, 80-72 and 80-72.
Super featherweight Jamel Herring (19-2, 10 KOs) defeated journeyman Adeilson Dos Santos (19-6, 15 KOs) by an eight round unanimous decision. The scores were 80-70, 80-70 and 80-70. Herring knocked Dos Santos down in the 1st and 2nd round of this one-sided contest.
Undefeated bantamweight Ruben Vegas (11-0-1, 5 KOs) and Oscar Mojica (11-5-1, 1 KO) fought to a six round draw. The scores were 58-56 for Vegas, 58-56 for Mojica and 57-57.
Welterweight Roberto Duran Jr. (2-0-2 KOs) defeated Leonardo Pena (0-3) by a 1st round knockout.
Undefeated super featherweight Gabriel Flores Jr. (11-0, 5 KOs) stayed unbeaten with a one-sided six round unanimous decision win over Edward Kakembo (10-6, 3 KOs). The scores were 60-54, 60-54 and 60-54.
Undefeated Jesus Arechiga (7-0, 6 KOs) defeated David Martino (6-6, 4 KOs). The score were 40-36, 40-36 and 40-36.