July 22, 2020
Ramirez (40-0, 26 KO) became the first Mexican fighter to ever win a 168-pound title when he took the WBO belt from Arthur Abraham via shutout decision in Apr. 2016, and that performance plus the fact that he’s got a great natural fan base had some thinking he might become a legitimate star and drawing card.
That didn’t ever really happen for “Zurdo,” who was a big super middleweight but doesn’t have an action style and isn’t really a power puncher. Title defenses against Max Bursak, Jesse Hart, Habib Ahmed,Roamer Alexis Angulo, and Hart again in a rematch all went his way — the only close calls were against Hart — but he never gained big traction as an attraction.
His decision to go up to 175 gave him a chance to go after notable Top Rank fighters at the weight — the company has or has a piece of Artur Beterbiev, Sergey Kovalev, and Eleider Alvarez, plus they had Oleksandr Gvozdyk, who has recently retired.
But “Zurdo” wasn’t keen on his contract status with Top Rank and turned down an offer to be in a four-man tournament to crown a new WBO titleholder, which is essentially a tournament controlled by Top Rank, promotionally-speaking.
As for a potential landing spot, forget the fact that he’s not become a big star, he’s still a guy any promoter would love to have on board. He’s undefeated, credible, in his prime, a Mexican fighter, a contender at 175.
If he looks to the DAZN stable, with either Matchroom Boxing or Golden Boy, he could be a bit limited, but it could set up a fight with WBA titleholder Dmitry Bivol, or something with Callum Johnson in due time.
Premier Boxing Champions has Jean Pascal, the secondary WBA “world” titlist, plus the likes of Marcus Browne and Badou Jack. And there are guys at 168 who very well might move up in weight sooner than later, including three titlists: Callum Smith, a Matchroom fighter, plus David Benavidez and/or Caleb Plant, both with PBC, could come up to light heavyweight.
In short, Ramirez will have options.