Gilberto Ramirez to fight on Lomachenko-Crolla card on April 12 on ESPN+
By Dan Ambrose: Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez (39-0, 25 KOs) will be fighting as the chief support for WBA/WBO lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko in his title defense against former WBA 135 lb champion Anthony Crolla on April 12 on ESPN+ at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
Ramirez, 27, will be fighting a 10 round bout at light heavyweight, and he won’t be defending his WBO super middleweight that he’s had since 2016. The opponent for Ramirez is still yet to be decided by Top Rank Boxing.
Things would be so much easier if Ramirez simply made up his mind. The WBO needs to create a rule for champions that decide they want to test the waters by moving up in weight. You can argue the champions shouldn’t be allowed to freeze their title when they decide to try out other weight classes, because that’s not fair to the contenders that are waiting for their world title shot.
Ramirez still hasn’t vacated his WBO super middleweight title, which is a little confusing because it was believed that he would be giving it up in moving to light heavyweight. Former WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders is scheduled to fight Shefat Isufi on April 13 in a contest that was supposed to have the vacant World Boxing Organization 168 lb title on the line. Now it’s unclear what happens with that fight. Whether the Saunders-Isufi still takes place or not is the big question. Considering that Ramirez is testing the waters at light heavyweight, it’s possible that if he looks good in winning his fight, he could decide to stay at that weight and look to challenge WBO 175 lb champion Sergey Kovalev. With Ramirez’s WBO title at 168, he would be made the mandatory challenger to Kovalev at 175 if he decides to vacate his WBO 168 lb title.
For Ramirez to get a good gauge of how well he can handle the light heavyweight competition, his test at 175 will need to be a good contender for his fight on April 12. It’s pointless for Ramirez to be put in with a light heavyweight journeyman, because that’s not going to tell him anything about how he’ll do against a hard hitter like Kovalev, Dmitry Bivol, Artur Beterbiev or Oleksander Gvozdyk. If Ramirez can”t make the weight any longer at super middleweight without struggling bad, then he’s going to need to move up to light heavyweight, because he’s not going to hold onto his title for much longer with Billy Saunders breathing down his neck. Saunders will be strong at super middleweight, and he’ll take his title from Ramirez if he can earn the #1 spot in the rankings with the WBO in beating Isufi on April 13.
It’s tough on Saunders and Isufi with them still not knowing whether their fight will have the WBO super middleweight title on the line.