By: Sean Crose
“I’m ready to take that belt back to Mexico” Gilbert “Zurdo” Ramirez said to ES News on the eve of his WBA heavyweight title fight with Dmitry Bivol, “to take revenge for Mexico.” Defending champion Bivol, of course, stunned a lot of people last spring when he soundly defeated Canelo Alvarez in the Mexican legend’s attempt to once again jump up in weight to snag another light heavyweight title. Unlike Canelo, the 44-0 Ramirez has been regularly kicking around light heavyweight for well over three years. “This is the fight that I deserve,” he said of Saturday’s scheduled battle with Bivol in Abu Dhabi.
Zurdo made it clear in the brief interview that the 20-0 Bivol is no easy opponent. Bivol did, after all, best Zurdo’s countryman Canelo last spring in decisive fashion. “He’s a good fight,” Zurdo admitted. “He’s a great match and he beat one of the greatest in boxing.” The 31 year old Ramirez made it clear he sees this bout as the opportunity of a lifetime. “After this fight,” he says, “everyone will know me.” Zurdo also made it clear he’s glad he’s facing a real challenge in what will surely be the biggest fight of his career to date. “He hits hard,” said Zurdo of the defending titlist. “He’s a smart guy….I like it because he’s one of the most competitive fighters at 175 pounds.”
As serious an opponent as Bivol may be, Zurdo hasn’t lost his sense of humor. “I’m handsome,” he said when asked what advantages he had over Bivol, before adding: “I think I’m smart too in the ring.” Zurdo has certainly proven to be smart in the ring so far himself. He’s already won one world title and is now going for a second. Zurdo indicated that it’s important to him that his career ends up having real value. “We have to have a legacy,” he said. He’ll certainly be adding to that legacy should he defeat Bivol this Saturday.
Bivol, however, is looking to further cement a legacy of his own, and – like Zurdo – has never tasted defeat. In fact, Bivol’s impressive wins go beyond Canelo. Joe Smith Jr, Jean Pascal, Isaac Chilemba and Sullivan Barrera have all been handed losses from Bivol in the ring. This weekend may not be presenting the most high profile bout of 2022, but it is certainly presenting one hardcore fans are likely to be interested in.
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