Light heavyweight contenders Gilberto Ramirez and Joe Smith Jr. are scheduled to meet in a pivotal fight for both men in Las Vegas.
GILBERTO RAMIREZ (44-1, 30 KOs)
VS. JOE SMITH JR. (28-4, 22 KOs)
- Date: Saturday, Oct. 7
- Time: 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT (main event later in show)
- Where: The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas
- TV/Stream: DAZN
- Division: Light heavyweight (175 pounds)
- At stake: No major titles
- Odds: NA
- Pound-for-pound: None
- Also on the card: John Ramirez vs. Ronal Batista, junior bantamweights; Bektemir Melikuziev vs. Alantez Fox, super middleweights
- Prediction: Ramirez UD
- Background: Ramirez and Smith will both be trying to bounce back from damaging losses. Ramirez, a former 168-pound titleholder, won five consecutive fights after moving up to 175 but met his match in gifted champion Dmitry Bivol, who handed the 32-year-old Mexican his first professional defeat by a one-sided unanimous decision last November. Smith, a limited technician with immense power, won a light heavyweight title by outpointing Jesse Hart in 2020 and successfully defended three times. Then he ran into a monster in Artur Beterbiev, who needed less than two full rounds to knock out Smith in a title-unification bout on June 18. Ramirez was scheduled to fight Gabriel Rosado in March but came in 7.6 pounds overweight and the fight was canceled. The winner on Saturday will take a significant step toward a shot at another belt. The loser, particularly if he loses badly, could be in for an uphill battle to remain a major player in the division.