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Gilberto Ramirez vs. Tommy Karpency – preview & prediction

Gilberto Ramirez

By Aragon Garcia: Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (39-0, 25 KOs) will be making his first fight in the light heavyweight division this Friday against Tommy Karpency (29-6-1, 18 KOs) in a scheduled 10 round fight in the co-feature bout on the undercard of Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Anthony Crolla on ESPN+ at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The card starts at 11:00 p.m. ET/8:00 p.m. PT.

This could be a new start for the 27-year-old Ramirez at 175. He has a new trainer, and he’s looking to see if he’s good fit for the 175 lb weight class. Ramirez is having problems getting down to the 168 lb weight division for his fights, and he would like to move up, but not if the weight class isn’t ideal for him. Ramirez wants to stay at light heavyweight and challenge for a world title. He would make the most noise fighting WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev, but he’s busy negotiating a title defense against his mandatory Anthony Yarde.

“Everybody will see that I am ready for anybody at 175 or 168 pounds,” Ramirez said to “I want to put on a great show and have my best performance. I feel stronger at light heavyweight and I am going to try to show my skills in the ring and all the things I’ve been working on.”

Ramirez will need to be a lot stronger at light heavyweight than what he’s shown at super middleweight for him to be a factor in this weight class. Although Ramirez scored a lot of knockouts at 168, those were were done with his volume punching against fighters tht weren’t always the best.

By far the most talented fighters that Ramirez has fought during his career at 168 is Jesse Hart and Maxim Vlasov. Ramirez didn’t come close to hurting either of them, and he had to be content with beating them by decisions. Ramirez was hit a lot by both of those fighters. He can’t let the top light heavyweights hit him as much as those fighters did, otherwise his stay at in the division will be a short one.

The southpaw Ramirez has been dominant as the WBO 168 lb champion, defending the title successfully five times in beating Jesse Hart twice, Roamer Alexis Angulo, Habib Ahmed, and Max Bursak. Ramirez could probably hold onto the WBO title for a long longer, but it’s become a lot of work for him to melt down to the 168 lb limit for him make weight each time. Moving up to 175 will put Ramirez in position to get some nice paydays against the other Top Rank fighters in the companies’ promotional stable. Besides Ramirez, Top Rank has the following light heavyweights that he could potentially fight at 175: Sergey Kovalev, Eleider Alvarez, Artur Beterbiev and Oleksandr Gvozdyk. If Ramirez could beat all of them, he would be doing really well. Those are four good fights that await Ramirez if he makes a permanent move up to light heavyweight.

Ramirez has moved from Mexico to Los Angeles, California for him to be able to train, and move his career along in a forward direction. His goal is to win world titles at light heavyweight, and become a pound-for-pound star. It won’t be easy for Ramirez to accomplish though, as the fighters hit harder at 175, and he narrowly won in his two toughest fights of his career against Jesse Hart. Ramirez will need to raise his game for him to beat the bigger fighters at light heavyweight. Ramirez’s defense is key. He can’t get hit as much at 175 as he was in the 168 lb division. Top Rank never put Ramirez in with the more talented fighters in the weight class like Callum Smith, George Groves, Chris Eubank Jr., David Benavidez, Saul Canelo Alvarez, Caleb Plant and Jose Uzcategui.

“I am in L.A. I want to be a pound-for-pound fighter and…now I am staying here and buying a house,” Ramirez said about him moving from Mexico to Los Angeles.

If Ramirez fails to succeed at 175, he can move back down to 168 and continue defending his World Boxing Organization title against the top contenders in their top 15 ranking. Former WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (27-0, 13 KOs) wants to fight for the WBO 168 lb title, be it against Ramirez or whoever. That’s a fight that awaits Ramirez if he moves back down to super middleweight. Saunders is facing Shefat Isufi (27-3-2, 20 KOs) on May 18 for the interim WBO super middleweight title. The winner of the Saunders vs Isufi fight could be elevated to full WBO super middleweight champion if Ramirez chooses not to turn to the division to resume defending his belt.

Ramirez says he would move back down to 168 if they give him a unification fight against one of the other champions. David Benavidez would be an ideal opponent for Ramirez to fight if he beats WBC super middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell, but that fight hasn’t taken place yet. WBA super middleweight champion Callum Smith would take the fight with Ramirez, but it would be a shared network fight. Smith fights on DAZN, whereas Gilberto is with Top Rank on ESPN.

The southpaw Karpency should provide Ramirez a good test to show whether he’s a good fit for the 175 lb weight class. Karpency has been in with Chad Dawson, who he beat, Adonis Stevenson, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, Karo Murat and Andrzej Fonfara. Karpency lost to all of those fighters except for Dawson.

Beating Dawson by a 10 round split decision in 2014 was a big accomplishment for Karpency, but he was injured and not nearly the same fighter he had been seven years earlier when he was still in the prime of his career and considered one of the best fighters at 175. Further, Karpency knocked Gvozdyk down in the first round of their fight in 2016. Karpency was stopped later in the sixth round, but he impressed fans with the amount of punches he landed in the first two rounds of the fight.

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