In a surprisingly easy fight, WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) defeated Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez (44-1, 30 KOs) by an impressive 12 round unanimous decision on Saturday night in their headliner at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.
Bivol started slowly in the first quarter of the fight, appearing to lose two of the first four rounds.
The scores were 118-110. 117-111, and 117-111. Boxing 247 scored it 118-110.
Ramirez fought well enough to win three rounds, and he was totally overmatched in the second half of the contest, as Bivol was dominating him with his speed and combinations.
The rounds where Ramirez fought well were the second, third and tenth. It’s troubling that Ramirez didn’t go for broke down the stretch when it was clear that he needed to go for the knockout against Bivol.
However, after the fourth, Bivol took command of the fight with combination punching, getting the better of, the slower former WBO super middleweight champion Zurdo Ramirez.
Bivol frequently backed the much larger Ramirez up from the fifth round, battering him with sharp combinations to the head. When the southpaw Ramirez attempted to land his shots, Bivol would pick the punches off on his arms and gloves.
After six rounds, Ramirez looked gunshy, unwilling to commit with his punches due to Bivol punishing him with counter shots each time.
In the championship rounds, Bivol took the fight to the inside, getting the better of Ramirez with his speedy punches. Ramirez could not match the speed of Bivol and was getting beaten to the punch repeatedly.
In the 11th and 12th rounds, a desperate-looking Ramirez went after Bivol and was getting to pieces by him.
What was interesting is that Bivol appeared to have more power on his shots than Ramirez, which was a surprise because going into the fight, the general belief that the Mexican fighter was the more dangerous puncher of the two.
In the end, Ramirez was too slow to compete with Bivol, and he lost in more of a one-sided fight than Canelo Alvarez had against the Russian fighter last May.
You can argue that Bivol’s victory tonight in addition to his win over Canelo Alvarez earlier this year has earned him Figher of the Year for 2022. The way that Bivol dominated two very good fighters in Canelo and Ramirez, it shows that he deserves the award this year.
If Bivol beats IBF/WBC/WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev and Canelo for a second time next year, he would be in prime position to win the Fighter of the Year award in 2023 as well.
It’s got to be disappointing for Ramirez and his promoter Oscar De La Hoya, but the outcome wasn’t unexpected. Ramirez had never fought anyone of note since moving up to the 175-lb division, and his 44-0 record was compiled against largely fluff opposition.
With the win, Bivol has a tough decision to make about who he faces next. Canelo has clarified that he wants a rematch with Bivol, but the feeling isn’t mutual.
Bivol wants to fight for the undisputed light heavyweight championship against IBF, WBC & WBO champion Artur Beterbiev next. However, Beterbiev is defending against his WBO mandatory Anthony Yarde in February, and it’s unclear whether he’ll be free to face Bivol after that.