Finally, the time has arrived for Gilberto Ramirez to fight a top-tier opponent this Saturday night, streaming live on DAZN. The only problem with Zurdo stepping up it means challenging arguably the best light heavyweight on the planet in Dmitry Bivol. Bivol is fresh off a career-defining win over Canelo Alvarez, the current face of boxing.
If Dmitry gets the win, as long as it’s not questionable, Bivol is basically a shoo-in for fighter of the year. The undercard has two really good fights in Chantelle Cameron vs. Jessica McCaskill (Pick’em) and Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov vs. Zelfa Barret.
Back in May, Dmitry Bivol did what some in the boxing world deemed almost impossible by defeating superstar Canelo Alvarez. All three scorecards read 115-113, and rightfully so because it was a clean well earned victory. Instead of exercising a rematch clause, Alvarez chose a different route involving the trilogy fight with Gennadiy Golovkin. Now it appears Bivol is more concerned about his current division at 175, and if he gets by, Ramirez claims to be very interested in meeting up with Artur Beterbiev and a chance at undisputed.
Saturday will be Gilberto’s 45th bout as a professional, and it’s crazy to think this will be his first true top-level foe. A fading Sullivan Barrera was a good win, as were his two meetings with a solid fighter in Jessie Hart. Zurdo’s first title shot came against a way-past-his-prime Arthur Abraham all the way back in 2016, if you can believe that. An opportunity of a lifetime presents itself; what will Gilberto Ramirez do with it? Is Zurdo ready for such a high step up the ladder, or did all the waiting around facing too many mediocre boxers stunt his growth? To be fair, there are not many boxers that could actually help him prepare for Bivol’s style. Maybe several years back, Sergey Kovalev would be a good test because of his fundamental jab, but he’s more of a pressure guy.
Regardless if Gilberto’s ready or not, being the aggressor and making this a rough and tumble night is really the only path to the promised land for Zurdo. Using his jab and head movement to close the gap and get close enough to land meaningful punches. Another obvious item beyond remaining active with his punch rate is attacking the body early and often. Ramirez can’t allow Bivol to get comfortable in the early rounds if at all, to be honest. Taking the fight to Dmitry, along with dirty tactics, might fluster him enough to ask for help from the ref. Not just that, but Dmitry wouldn’t be able to consistently catch Ramirez coming in and/or at the end of his punch. Bivol has an elite jab and will throw from a variety of angles and speeds.
Whether it only takes a few rounds or the first half of the fight, Bivol’s skill level, punch accuracy, and overall sharp boxing mind will take over the fight. That is why it’s paramount to not allow Bivol to find his timing and comfortable range, thus controlling the action. Prior to the Canelo performance, we did see some holes in Dmitry Bivol’s game when he was getting roughed up at times in a few outings. Canelo didn’t have the work rate to slow down Bivol and even Alvarez, a decent defender, wasn’t able to go from defense to offense effectively. Bivol is just a bridge too far to cross for an untested Ramirez. This will turn all the way one-sided by the 5th or 6th round in favor of Bivol.
My Official Prediction is Dmitry Bivol by Unanimous Decision.
Side Note: Showtime has a tripleheader as well on Saturday headlined by David Morrell in his adopted hometown of Minneapolis fighting Aidos Yerbossynuly along with Jeison Rosario vs. Brian Mendoza and 160-pound prospect Fiodor Czerkaszyn. Don’t forget Andre Dirrell vs. Yunieski Gonzalez on Showtime’s YouTube/Facebook.
Written by Chris Carlson, Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio.