In a crossroads cruiserweight fight that featured back-and-forth exchanges, Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (45-1, 30 KOs) of Mazatlán, Mexico defeated Joe “Common Man” Smith Jr. (28-5, 22 KOs) of Long Island, New York in a 10-round WBA cruiserweight eliminator.
The 10-round fight saw both boxers debut in the cruiserweight division. Zurdo ultimately came away with a wide ten round unanimous decision win.
The judges scored the bout 99-91, 99-91 and 99-91.
While the cruiserweight limit is 200-pounds, the contest had a contracted catch-weight of 190. Adding to that, the WBA sanctioned the bout as a world title eliminator – despite a 10 round limit.
The event took place at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
With the victory, Ramirez bounced back from a one-sided decision loss to WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol in 2022.
Ramirez, who won his only world championship at the super middleweight limit of 168, was given expert instructions in the corner by retired boxer Malik Scott, who is best known for his work as the head trainer of former heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.
The Mexican boxer was able to move around the ring for most of the rounds, while using accurate punches to outland Smith throughout much of the fight. Smith did his best to connect with something big, but he was made to miss often and never really put his punches together on a consistent basis.
“This is a new beginning for me,” said Ramirez. “I came back stronger, faster and I came forward. I was a lot smarter in the ring. I think it was a great performance for me. I don’t have anything to say except thank you, Joe Smith, I think he’s a great fighter and tough opponent. I wish him all the best. We had to take care of business in the ring.
“I felt like I was ahead on the cards. I never took any chances because he has heavy hands and brings a lot of heat to the ring.”