A critical look at the past week in boxing
The former 168-pound titleholder is back, such as that is. Light heavyweight champ Dmitry Bivol exposed his limitations by easily outpointing him this past November. That fight demonstrated that Ramirez (45-1, 30 KOs) is a solid, unusually durable boxer but doesn’t’ have the speed, athleticism or punching power (at the higher weights) to take down a pound-for-pound talent. Joe Smith Jr. (28-5, 22 KOs)? That’s a different story. Ramirez will generally thrive against an opponent like that, as we saw when he defeated the even-more limited American by a one-sided decision at a 193-pound catch weight Saturday in Las Vegas. It wasn’t exciting but it was efficient. Ramirez is talented and experienced enough to do better at 200 pounds than has at 175, where Bivol and Artur Beterbiev still reside. Ramirez will never be a special fighter but he has a decent chance of winning a major belt in a second division 32 pounds heavier than the limit at super middleweight, at which he won his first title. That’s special.
BIGGEST WINNER II
The 126-pound titleholder probably won’t be remembered as one of the best fighters England has produced. He’s one of the most exciting, though. The same man who knocked Michael Conlan out of the ring in the final round to win a fight he was losing last year delivered another unlikely victory on Saturday in Sheffield, where he was behind on the cards and was nearly stopped himself only to brutally knock out former champion Josh Warrington (31-3-1, 8 KOs) in the seventh round and retain his title. Wood (28-3, 17 KOs) was losing all three cards at the time. To say the 35-year-old from Nottingham has the flair for the dramatic is an understatement. I don’t know whether he has the ability to unify at featherweight or win a title at 130 pounds. I do know that his solid ability, toughness and never-ever-say-die mentality would give him a chance to beat anyone. Win or lose, you can bet he’s going to entertain the fans. It’s no wonder he’s so popular in his home town.