After a long layoff, Gilberto Ramirez (45-1, 30 KOs) got back to his winning ways with a wide ten round unanimous decision over a sluggish & gunshy Joe Smith Jr.(28-5, 22 KOs) in their WBA cruiserweight eliminator in Las Vegas.
For the most part, the southpaw Ramirez, 32, neutralized Smith Jr’s power advantage by moving backward & laterally when he’d come forward looking to land.
In the later rounds, Ramirez showed more willingness to stand & trade with Smith Jr, and that’s where the New York native got the better of the action.
The scores were 99-91, 99-91 and 99-91. Obviously, the fight was a lot closer than that, but the judges at least picked the right guy, Ramirez, as the winner.
Smith fought well in the opening round, nailing Ramirez with big right hands to the head & body. After that round, the huge 6’3″ Ramirez, who looked considerably bigger than Smith, got on his bike and moved constantly from rounds two through six.
After the sixth, Ramirez was too tired to stay on the move, and he had to stand & trade with Smith.
Smith looked like a mentally shot fighter tonight, no longer possessing the self-belief he once had after his second round knockout loss to IBF & WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev in June of last year.
In hindsight, Smith Jr. should’ve taken a confidence booster-level opponent tonight instead of fighting Ramirez because this is not the kind of guy you want to fight after a long 16-month layoff.
The ringside crowd at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas tonight was hushed during the Ramirez-Smith Jr. fight due to the lack of action because of Ramirez’s movement and unwillingness to stand and trade.
Ramirez really made it boring with the defensive style he used against Smith. It worked for him, but it’s not going to win him any fans, and it won’t help him beat any of the cruiserweight champions because, unlike Joe Smith Jr., they know how to cut off the ring and aren’t lacking in self-confidence.
Ramirez is going to put boxing fans to sleep if he continues to fight this way, but he doesn’t have any choice. He lacks the hand speed & power to brawl with his opponents at cruiserweight.
In Ramirez’s last fight against light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol, he was beaten to the punch all night long and lost a one-sided 12-round decision.
It’s too bad Ramirez can’t make 175 or 168 because he’s not going to do well when he fights for a world title against WBA cruiserweight champion Arsen Goulamirian (27-0,18 KOs).
That’s going to be a similar mismatch to Ramirez’s loss to Dmitry Bivol last November. Golden Boy would be better off matching Ramirez against WBC cruiserweight champion Badou Jack. He’s pretty old at 39 and would be ideal for Ramirez.
Bek “The Bully” Melikuziev stops Alantez Fox
In the chief support bout, top ten-ranked super middleweight contender Bek “The Bully” Melikuziev (13-1, 10 KOs) destroyed an overmatched Alantez “SlyAza” Fox (28-5-1, 13 KOs), scoring a fourth-round technical knockout.
As usual, Melikuziev loaded up with everything he threw, leaving himself open for counters but not having to worry because his opponent Fox, was afraid to take advantage of the openings that were being presented to him.
In the fourth, Melikuziev knocked Fox down with a left to the body. After Fox got back up, Melikuziev finished him off with a storm of heavy shots that caused the referee to stop the fight. The time was at 2:44.
Bektemir says he wants a world title shot next, so we’ll see if Golden Boy can produce that for him.
to retain his WBA Intercontinental title. Melikuziev, a 2016 Olympic silver medalist, dropped Fox to a knee in round four and got a referee’s stoppage with his follow-up barrage. Time was 2:44.