Many believe World Boxing Association (WBA) Super Light Heavyweight Champion Dmitry Bivol (18-0, 11 KOs) is being used as a puppet by Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn, preventing undefeated Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (42-0, 28 KOs) from challenging Bivol in a battle of undefeated, world-class fighters.
“I know my team is pushing for this fight but we’ve yet to hear from Dmitry or his team,” Ramirez said. “I’m not sure if he’s being silenced but he should remember that he is the fighter and the voice to make things happen. Before my last fight, he yapped and called for this fight, but is now radio silent. I’m not sure if he needs permission from the higher-ups but, hopefully, he’s not just being used as cannon fodder.”
When the pandemic started, Bivol and Ramirez, the former World Boxing Organization (WBO) Super Middleweight World Champion, openly spoke about fighting each other in a major confrontation.
“Gilberto Ramirez is one of the top players in the light heavyweight division,” Bivol said. “We have talked about this fight for a long time. The time has come to bring this to a reality. We have trained together and some sparring as well. He is a professional and a gentleman. A very good fighter.
“He is an ex-world champion, he has proven to become one of the best, fights like this excite the fans. This is what boxing is all about, fighters where either boxer has a 50-percent chance of being victorious. We are both at the level that we can make a dynamic fight.”
“I think this is a great fight for boxing,” Ramirez explained, “the light heavyweight division, and ultimately for the fans. There’s great history in both Mexican and Russian boxing and hopefully this is something that brings excitement back to the light heavyweight division. Beyond that, I personally believe Bivol is the toughest champion and fight at the moment, and I hope that this caliber fight is the only one I’m in talks for going forward. Plus, we’ve talked about it for two years now, and it’s time to make it happen.
“Bivol is a great fighter and I know this will be the biggest challenge. I’ve seen his game improve every time we’ve met in the ring. He does everything well. He’s quick on his feet and throws great combinations with power. At the same time, he brings a high IQ into the ring, which always makes it a challenge. He’s not world champion by a fluke or design. This guy is probably one of the most disciplined fighters I’ve seen in a while.”
Before and after Ramirez’ recent knockout victory over Sullivan Barrera (22-3, 14 KOs), Bivol wished Ramirez good luck in hopes that they could fight later this year, and it appeared to be a lock. Suddenly, though, Bivol shifted gears and challenged WBA and WBC Super Middleweight Champion “Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs), at either 168 or 175 pounds. Ramirez understood, realizing “Canelo” is boxing’s rainmaker.
When Bivol realized he wasn’t getting the fight with “Canelo,” instead of then returning his attention to fighting “Zurdo,” he went completely dark.
Why? The stars are aligned and Bivol and Ramirez are both available as neither has an upcoming fight lined up, in addition to both fighters having fought on DAZN, whose purse strings are controlled by Hearn.
Out of nowhere, Hearn announced last week that he wants to match Bivol in October at O2 Arena in London, against super middleweight John Ryder (29-5, 16 KOs), a relatively obscure southpaw from London, at least outside of the United Kingdom, who is supposed to be fighting David Morrell for the WBA regular title. Two fights ago, Ryder lost a 12-round unanimous decision to Callum Smith, and Ryder’s most recent fight was a 10-round unanimous decision win against somebody named (12-5-1) Mike Guy.
Ryder has never fought as a light heavyweight and if Bivol was an independent thinker, not Hearn’s puppet, he wouldn’t even consider fighting Ryder, never mind allow Hearn to grandstand. What would a win over Ryder prove? His last challenger, Craig Richards, was undeserving of a world title fight, yet Bivol went the distance with him.
No mention of Ramirez!
Hearn even went one step further, claiming he wants to put Bivol in against 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Joshua Buatsi (15-0, 13 KOs) next March.
No mention of Ramirez, or course!
The 30-year-old Ramirez is currently rated No. 2 by the World Boxing Organization (WBO) and No. 5 by the International Boxing Federation (IBF), as well as No. 9 in The Ring independent rankings.
True superstars in boxing need epic fights and rivalries to secure their place in boxing history. In that respect, Bivol and Ramirez need to fight each other, because both fighters have defeated only one world champion each, Jean Pascal for Bivol, Arthur Abraham for “Zurdo.”
Boxing fans are always clamoring for blockbuster match-ups. Bivol and Ramirez are a combined 60-0 (39 KOs), world champions, and have fought on DAZN. There’s no good reason for Bivol vs. “Zurdo” not to happen, unless Hearn pulls Bivol’s puppet strings in a different direction.
“I would be surprised if Bivol looks for another opponent,” Ramirez concluded. “This is the fight fans are looking for! At the end of the day, I know he’s a good fighter and hopefully he stands by what he says.”
Isn’t it time for Bivol to speak for himself and demand that Hearn make a historic match against “Zurdo?”