By Mark Eisner: Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez could have his career on the line tonight against the big-punching Joe Smith Jr. in their 8:00 p.m. ET event on DAZN in Las Vegas. Ramirez & Smith are moving up to cruiserweight for a catchweight fight in a WBA title eliminator at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Boxing News 24 will give live updates & results of the card below tonight.
It’s a make-or-break fight for Zurdo and Smith Jr, especially for the Golden Boy-promoted Ramirez. He’s been well-managed during his 14-year professional career, put in with soft opposition, matched in a similar way as Jaime Munguia.
Tonight’s Ramirez-Smith Jr. card
Bektemir Melikuziev vs. Alantez Fox-co-feature bout
Darius Fulghum vs. Alan Campa
Eric Tudor vs. Jose Luis Sanchez
Tristan Kalkreuth vs. Aaron Casper
Daniel Luna vs. Erick Benitez
Jahyae Brown vs. Victor Toney
When Golden Boy finally threw Zurdo into the deep end of the pool last November against Bivol, he floundered & sunk to the bottom and showed that he lacked the talent to compete at the highest level.
Ramirez looked horrible in his last fight, losing to Dmitry Bivol by a one-sided twelve round decision last November.
The performance by Ramirez was so bad that it was hard to see any type of future for him at 175 or cruiserweight, as he’s too slow, and the fighting style that he had depended on in the past, leading with his face, won’t work for him in either division.
This is a fight that Ramirez (44-1, 30 KOs) cannot afford to lose because, unlike Smith, who has massive power and will continue to do well, Zurdo depends on his high punch output & massive size to win.
That’s not going to get the job done at cruiserweight, however, because they punch hard and they have equal size as Zurdo.
Is this the end for Gilberto Ramirez?
“I had a lot of input in it. I was asked about whether that’d be a good fight for Zurdo, based on my experience, and I said it would be not only a good fight, but it would be a dangerous fight,” said Golden Boy promoter Bernard Hopkins to Fight Hub TV about the decision to match Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez against former WBO light heavyweight champion Joe Smith Jr.
“It will show whether Zurdo is really serious about his career and going forward in this second chapter of his career. We know the first chapter, he went 30-0, undefeated, and he tasted defeat[against Dmitry Bivol].
“So now just reboot, take a deep breath, and now he’s coming back after doing these things to say, ‘Hey, I’m going to come back stronger, smarter, more experienced, and I’m coming back as a cruiserweight at 190.’
“We’re giving him that chance, but we’re not giving him that chance to fight a stiff, or let’s dig him up from the graveyard and hopefully blow oxygen into some dead man and bring him in and say, ‘Okay, show us what you got.’
“Do you know how you show a person what you got? You put in there with somebody that can be a threat to them. That’s how show what you are really packing. So, let’s take it back a step. We didn’t throw a towel in on him. As long as he didn’t throw the towel on himself, this is, to me, a make-or-break-your-career type of fight.
“It could be over for him [Ramirez], or it could be the beginning. So there’s a lot on the line. His career is more on the line than Joe Smith.
“No, I don’t believe in wishes. I believe in go get it,” said Bernard when asked if he wished Gilberto Ramirez had fought Smith Jr. earlier in his career. Joe Smith is fighting a fighter that we are promoting, and I’m part of the promotion and promoting him,” said Hopkins.