According to Dan Rafael, a cruiserweight unification clash that will contest the WBA and IBF titles could be heading to Russia – or maybe the U.S – on April 30th. Promoter Andrey Ryabinsky says Dennis Lebedev and Victor Emelio Ramirez have a deal in place to fight at the end of April.
Ryabinsky wants to stage the fight in America, yet he does not thus far have a TV deal to show the fight in the U.S. If he cannot negotiate a TV deal, ESPN.com reports, the fight will go ahead in Russia; either Moscow or Sochi. Either way, Lebedev-Ramirez is a good fight.
WBA champ Lebedev, 28-2(21) and at age 36 five years older than IBF champ Ramirez, looked better in his last fight than did the man from Argentina. Southpaw Lebedev proved way too powerful for Lateef Kayode, stopping the one-time heavyweight inside 8-rounds back in November. Ramirez, however, was fortunate to keep his belt in October of last year. Ramirez, 22-2-1(17) was held to a draw by a motivated and hugely hungry Ovill McKenzie. The Brit with the average-looking record boxed great and most people definitely thought he’d won. Eager for a rematch ever since, McKenzie has to watch as Ramirez goes into a bigger fight.
Lebedev, a huge star in his native Russia, will enter the April unification as a considerable favourite. Lebedev took a fearful hiding against Guillermo Jones back in May of 2013, where his face was pounded into a grotesque, unrecognisable mess. Lebedev has boxed just three times since then, winning two of the three by stoppage, and he appears to have regained his old form. Maybe another rough, tough fight will give Lebedev horrifying flashbacks to his one real loss (the 12-round split decision defeat to Marco Huck in 2010 still disgusts Lebedev) – but is Ramirez capable of taking Lebedev to those kind of places?
Ramirez, though, is a tough customer himself, both durable and physically strong. Never stopped as a pro – his two defeats coming against common opponent Huck, in 2009, and before that by Sebastian Ceballos in what was just Ramirez’ seventh pro outing – Ramirez might have simply had a bad night against McKenzie, or McKenzie had a great night.
A distance fight looks likely, unless Lebedev gets banged up or Ramirez has faded as badly as it appeared in the McKenzie fight. Lebedev should be able to become a two-belt ruler in the spring.