Gilberto Ramirez Opens the Door for Billy Joe Saunders to Make History
By: Shane Willoughby
Gilberto Ramirez vacated his WBO Super Middleweight Title on Monday; a title he has held since 2016, making 7 successful title defenses.
Ramirez looked impressive in his last bout moving to 40-0.
The Mexican was expected to relinquish his title last month after his stoppage of Tommy Karpency at Light Heavyweight. Gilberto Ramírez’s Jump up to 175lbs is inevitable and in the process, he has presented an amazing opportunity for Billy Joe Saunders to make history.
Saunders (27-0) will be fighting for the vacant WBO Super Middleweight title this Saturday against Shefat Isufi, looking to become only the 6th English born fighter to be a 2 weight-world champion.
Saunders could possibly join Nigel Benn, Chris Eubank Sr and Ricky Hatton with a victory over Isufi.
The British fighter was stripped of his WBO Middleweight title last year after failing a drug test for a nasal spray, but has since then, decided to continue his career at 168lbs.
If the former Middleweight champion is victorious this Saturday, it could present some big domestic fights for him, including a rematch with Eubank Jr and a possible unification fight with Callum Smith.
Similarly to Saunders, Ramirez being a former WBO champion, means that he is entitled to fight for the belt at the weight class above.
The Mexican could possibly become mandatory for the title at 175lbs, where Sergey Kovalev looks to be defending his title against Anthony Yarde.
Regardless what route Ramirez takes, it appears that his time at the Super-Middleweight division is over, and Britain may have a new world champion in the process.
Top Rank Boxing Results: Ramirez Defeats Hart
By: Hans Themistode
Gilberto Ramirez (39-0, 25 KOs) retained his WBO Super Middleweight title with a majority decision nod over Jesse Hart (25-2, 21 KOs) in their rematch Friday night.
Hart fought a much better fight this time around in comparison to their first bout. However he did not do quite enough to sway the judges in his favor tonight.
It was a nip and tuck affair as Hart used his reach advantage to keep Ramirez on the end of his punches. That success wouldn’t last long as Ramirez began to get closer and landed hard shots.
As the rounds went by a similar theme began to develop. Hart would do a good job of boxing and landing effective shots but Ramirez’s constant pressure and volume punching would wear Hart down as the rounds went on.
Towards the later rounds Ramirez aggression suddenly slowed and his punch output diminished as well. It was later found out that Ramirez injured his left elbow. That explained why we seldom saw the champion through a left hook throughout the rest of the contest. When we did see this punch thrown it wasn’t thrown with much aggression. It became clearer and clearer that the champions elbow was causing him serious issues. Hart took advantage by beginning to bank the latter rounds.
In round 11 the challenger was the most aggressive. He pinned the champ on the rope several times and unloaded shots on him. Ramirez responded with punches of his own but it was clear that he lacked the punching power at the moment to keep Hart off of him. The last round is where Ramirez shower true champion mettle. With essentially one hand he was beating his man to the punch by landing big blows.
At the end of the bout the scorecards were 114-114 and two scores of 115-113. It was another very entertaining bout by these fighters. The most intriguing part of this contest was the post fight commentary.
Ramirez revealed his plans to move up the 175 pound weight division. There will be no shortage of big name fighters he will be able to take on. If Ramirez can perform the way he did tonight while sustaining an injury during the contest then the rest of the 175 pound division will need to be on notice.
They seem to have a new intriguing fighter added to the already stacked division.
Ramirez, Hart Both Insist Nothing Familiar Will Come Of The Sequel
By Jake Donovan
Gilberto Ramirez and Jesse Hart fought each other just 15 months ago, yet both guarantee a limited amount of familiarity when they meet the second time around.
The pair of super middleweights once again collide with Ramirez’ title on the line in their ESPN+ main event this Friday in Corpus Christi. The bout is a rematch to their thriller last September in Tucson, Arizona, with Ramirez riding a 2nd round knockdown and early lead all the way to the finish line in taking a narrow decision.
Hart put up a brave stand in the second half of their contest—which, due to conflicting broadcasts, aired on ESPNews, ESPN2 and finally on ESPN by round seven—but the rally came too late to erase the early deficit. The second-generation boxer from Philadelphia has since fought three times, winning all by knockout.
That level of violence, he promises, is the version that will arrive on Friday night.
“We went back, looked at and corrected the little mistakes that cost us in the first one,” Hart (25-1, 21KOs) said on Wednesday during their final pre-fight press conference. “Those little things we fix, you’ll see that change on Friday night.”
The defending titlist not only believes him but is banking on such an adjustment.
“I’m glad to hear he’s ready to fight,” said Ramirez (38-0, 25KOs), the unbeaten 27 year old from Mazatlan, Mexico who attempts the fifth defense of the title he won nearly three years ago. “I’m thrilled the rematch is taking place here in Corpus Christi. The last time I fought here, I had a knockout. I want another knockout on Friday.”
Interestingly, the stoppage to which Ramirez refers—a 6th round drubbing of unbeaten but unheralded Habib Ahmed this past February—is his only bout to end inside the distance over the course of his title reign which began with an April ’16 points win over Arthur Abraham. In fact, his previous knockout victory also took place in Texas, coming more than four years ago in halting Fulgencio Zuniga in eight rounds in San Antonio.
Ramirez has since been extended the distance in seven of his last eight starts, none tougher than his fending off a determined Hart in their first meet. Just two fights have followed for the defending titlist; the aforementioned stoppage victory over Ahmed and a 12-round virtual shutout of unbeaten Roamer Alexis Angulo this past June in Oklahoma City.
Still, a statement-making performance awaits or so promises the super middleweight division’s longest-reigning titlist.
“I agree with my opponent, this rematch will be different,” Ramirez notes, though of course with a twist. “It will be one-sided, and all on my side.”
For the challenger, a win would mean much more than bumping off an incumbent titlist.
Hart’s father, Eugene “Cyclone” Hart was an integral part of the thriving Philadelphia fight scene during his heyday as a middleweight contender in the 1970s. His noted punching power has left historians to regard him as among the hardest hitters in boxing history; however, it never translated into a championship or even a shot at a major title.
Now battling health issues and not even to serve his role as his son’s head trainer, the next generation has made it his duty to bring greater honor to the already revered family name.
“It would mean everything to win this belt,” Hart admits. “Ever since I started boxing, me and my dad, we never dreamed of nothing else but being a world champion.
“I’m very blessed and very humbled by this opportunity I have again. I’m just going to go out there and put on the best performance I possibly can to bring home the victory. Come Friday, you are going to see a completely different version coming for this title.”
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results: Ramirez Defeats Angulo, Saucedo Wins War
By: Ken Hissner
Top Rank promoted a championship main event at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, OK, Saturday over ESPN.
In the Main Event WBO World Super Middleweight champion Mexican southpaw Gilbert “Zurdo” Ramirez, 38-0 (25), defended his title for the fourth time Saturday easily defeating No. 10 ranked Roamer Alexis Angulo, 23-1 (20), of Bogota, COL, over 12 rounds.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
In the first round Ramirez landed a left uppercut and was countered by Angulo who landed lead overhand rights to the chin of Ramirez with little effect. Ramirez landed his jab and a right uppercut well. In the second round Angulo pinned Ramirez against the ropes landing half a dozen punch some on the arms and gloves of Ramirez. Ramirez used his reach keeping the muscular Angulo at bay.
In the third round Angulo rocked Ramirez with a right to the chin. Ramirez regained control in an interesting round. In the fourth round Ramirez controlled with his jab as Angulo was loading up and when he landed a punch had a bad habit of backing up dropping his hands.
In the fifth round it was more of the same with Ramirez controlling with his jab. He rocked Angulo with a left to the chin at the midway point of the round. In the sixth round Ramirez landed a lead left on the chin of Angulo getting his attention. The fans were getting restless after being entertained by the great co-feature.
In the seventh round Angulo rocked Ramirez with a left hook to side of the head but failed to follow up. Ramirez gained control for the remaining of the round. In the eighth round Angulo missed with a right and was countered with a left from Ramirez to the chin. Ramirez came back with a hard left to the head pinning Angulo to the ropes. Angulo dug in with a left to the mid-section doubling Ramirez up.
In the ninth round Angulo landed three right upper cuts to the chin of Ramirez who had his back to the ropes. In the tenth round Angulo’s corner is yelling “go to the body” but Ramirez will not let him get inside keeping the jab in his face.
In the eleventh round Angulo comes out rushing right into a Ramirez straight left to the chin. Angulo landed a hard right uppercut to the chin putting Ramirez against the ropes. Ramirez came right back. Angulo landed a right on top of the head of Ramirez who was leaning in. Angulo who never went past eight rounds looked near exhausted. In the twelfth and final round knowing he needs a knockout Angulo starts throwing wild punches as the back pedaling Ramirez lands his jab. Then Ramirez opens up landed several punches to the head of Angulo. Ramirez pins Angulo against the ropes with a flurry of punches with a minute left in the round. Angulo is landing right uppercuts but getting countered by Ramirez lefts to the head.
119-109 twice and 120-108 as did this writer have it 120-108.
“I’m not happy for I want to unify titles and be the best,” said Ramirez.
In the co-feature unbeaten WBA-NABA USA Super Lightweight champion Mexican Alex “El Cholo” Saucedo, 28-0 (18), of Oklahoma City, OK, in a bloody war stopped Australia’s Leonardo “Lenny Zappa” Zappavigna, 37-4 (27), at 2:31 of the seventh round in a scheduled 10 rounds.
In the first round Saucedo used a good jab keeping Zappavigna on the defense. Both boxers mixed it up well and with ten seconds left in the round Saucedo landed a right to the chin and Zappavigna countering returning the favor just before the bell. In the second round Saucedo landed a hard right uppercut to the chin of Zappavigna. Halfway through the round a left hook from Saucedo opened up a cut under the left eyebrow of Zappavigna who is prone to cut.
In the third round a Zappavigna missed with a right and was countered with a right to the head from Saucedo and down went Zappavigna on the seat of his trunks. He beat referee Gerald Ritter’s count. By the end of an exciting round Zappavigna gained control. In the fourth round Zappavigna was all over Saucedo rocking him with body and head punches causing a cut over his right eye. It turned into a war with blood coming down the face of both fighters. Saucedo was forced to hold on but fought back with both exchanging punches at the bell. Zappavigna also suffered a small cut along his left eyebrow.
In the fifth round it was Saucedo’s turn to rock Zappavigna with blood flowing from both fighters. The fans have been screaming throughout. In the sixth round they picked up where they left off brawling to the delight of the fans. Zappavigna gained control for the first half of the round. Then Saucedo took over the rest of the round.
In the seventh round with Zappavigna’s corner letting him come out for one more round he comes out with his face covered with blood. Saucedo used a jab to set up his right. Zappavigna would come back on occasion with a left hook. Zappavigna’s corner stopped the fight as the Saucedo fans went wild! Zappavigna’s left eye was closed shut. “He was tough and I have to give him credit. The cuts continue to hurt me,” said Zappavigna. “I want to thank God for the victory. I want to thank the fans for their support. This is just the beginning of bigger fights,” said Saucedo. This will be up for “fight of the year” at years end. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said “He will be fighting Maurice Hooker for his title by the end of the year.” This writer had Saucedo ahead after six rounds 59-56.
Welterweight Mike “Mile High” Alvarado, 39-4 (27), of Thornton, COL, stopped Martin Angel “El Arcangel” Martinez, 18-5-1 (11), of Sonora, MEX, on a cut in the 9th in a scheduled 10.
2016 Olympic Gold Medalist super featherweight Robson Conceicao, 8-0 (5), from Salvador, BRZ, stopped Ecuador’s Gavino “Huesitos” Guaman, 5-3 (1), out of River Falls, WI, at 0:56 of round 3 in a scheduled 8.
In the first round Conceicano had his way with rights over a jab and left hooks to the body. A lead right uppercut on the chin of Guaman and down he went on the seat of his pants just prior to the bell. In the second round Conceicano landed a 3-punch combination to the body and head of Guaman. Guaman is throwing wild punches missing most. Conceicano landed a left hook to the chin driving Guaman back several steps into the ropes. Conceicano scored a pair of knockdowns before the round came to an end with referee Ritter still counting a Guaman was upright.
In the third round a right from Conceicano dropped Guaman in a complete mismatch. The referee counted to eight asking Guaman to step forward and he fell backwards against the ropes before the referee “finally” waved it off.
Heavyweight Trey Lippe “Morrison”, 15-0 (15), of Tulsa, OK, stopped Byron “The Bear” Polley, 30-23-1 (13), of St. Joseph, MO, scoring 5 knockdowns stopping him in the 3rd round of a scheduled 8.
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Preview: Saucedo vs. Zappavigna, Ramirez vs. Angulo
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the WBO Super Middleweight Champion, Gilberto Ramirez, will be defending his title in his home state against challenger Roamer Alexis-Angulo. Alex Saucedo, who is also from Oklahoma City will also be competing on the card when he takes on Lenny Zappavigna in the junior welterweight division.
This card is being promoted by Top Rank Promotions and will be televised live on ESPN. It will take place at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
The undercard will also feature several prospects and former title contenders. Mike Alvarado, Julian Rodriguez, and Mikaela Mayer are just some of boxers competing on the undercard that fight fans may be interested in seeing.
The following is a preview of both planned televised bouts:
Alex Saucedo (27-0) vs. Lenny Zappavigna (37-3); Junior Welterweights
The opening televised bout will be between Alex Saucedo and Lenny Zappavigna in the junior welterweight division.
Saucedo is a young twenty four year old undefeated prospect. He is currently six years younger than his opponent and will have a rather large four inch height advantage and about a four and a half inch reach advantage.
Saucedo has been fairly active recently He fought once in 2018 and three times in 2017. Three of his past four fights have been KO/TKO victories. Zappavigna has also been fairly active, he fought twice in 2017 and twice in 2016.
Zappavigna does appear to have an edge in two areas. He appears to be the more powerful puncher of the two. He has stopped twenty seven of his opponents while Saucedo has stopped seventeen. But, two of Zappavigna’s losses were by KO/TKO. Saucedo has never tasted defeat.
Zappavigna also appears to have the better amateur career of the two. He competed in the 2005 World Championships and was a Bronze Medalist in the 2006 Commonwealth games.
Saucedo has the better professional resume. He has defeated the likes of Abner Lopez, Gustavo David Vittori, Raymond Serrano, and Clarence Booth. Zappavigna has defeated the lkes of JK Yang, Ramon Ayala, and Misael Castillo. His losses were to Miguel Vazquez, Ammeth Diaz, and Sergey Lipinets.
Saucedo physical edges in height, reach, and age will likely be too much for Zappavigna to overcome.
Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez vs. Roamer Alexis Angulo; WBO Super Middleweight Title
Saturday night will be Gilberto Ramirez’s fourth defense of his world title.
Zurdo is a very good boxer who still needs an “elite” level victory to establish himself as one of today’s greats. Columbian boxer Roamer Alexis Angulo is not that elite level boxer that Ramirez needs.
Ramirez is in the middle of his athletic prime at twenty seven years old. Angulo is already either past or close to past his prime at the age of thirty four. Ramirez will also have about an inch and a half height advantage over his opponent.
Ramirez has been fairly active. He fought once in 2018 and twice in 2017. He also has twenty five stoppage wins on his record, but only one of his past five fights were stoppage victories. Angulo has twenty stoppage wins on his record and is currently riding a five fight win streak. However, two of those victories were against opponents with sub .500 records. Two of his past five fights were against guys with records of 2-33 and 6-19.
Angulo turned pro late and has no notable victories. His best wins to date were against Evert Bravo and Izaak Cardona. He turned professional late around the age of 26 in 2010.
Ramirez will be facing a third straight fighter with an undefeated record. He has defeated the likes of Habib Ahmed, Jesse Hart, Max Bursak, Arthur Abraham, Gevorg Khatchikian, Derek Edwards. Ramirez, a southpaw, looked especially good against Jesse Hart, a known power puncher.
Angulo is taking a big step up in competition and he has a daunting task in facing a world champion in his home state. He has never faced someone remotely close to the level of Ramirez and it’s unlikely he’ll survive to the final bell.
Gilberto Zurdo Ramirez Lackluster Title Reign in Need of a Big Fight
By: Bryant Romero
Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez’s reign as WBO King in the super-middleweight division has been lackluster and in dire need of a big fight. Ramirez (37-0, 25 KOs) defended his world title for a third consecutive time, stopping an over-matched Habib Ahmed (25-1-1, 17 KOs) in the sixth round of a one-sided affair in Corpus Christi this past Saturday. To Ramirez’s credit, it was his first stoppage win in almost 4 years as he battered Ahmed from pillar to post. The cornermen of Habib had to come in and save him as referee Laurence Cole had another bad night when it comes to his judgment in stopping a fight.
While Zurdo did stop a previously undefeated opponent coming in, Ahmed had never fought outside of his homeland in Ghana, never fought someone of note, and appeared to be the much smaller man of the two. It was an easy showcase defense for Zurdo and not the type of win that can make him a bigger star, but he did what he was suppose to do in dispatching an over-matched opponent.
Now the question is where does Zurdo go from here? It hasn’t been exactly smooth sailing since becoming a world champion. After dominating veteran Arthur Abraham in Las Vegas almost two years ago to acquire his first world title, Ramirez looking to build momentum on that win would be sidelined with an injury that would keep out of the ring for over a year. Not only was his momentum lost from his title winning victory but to make matters worse his first defense of his title against Ukraine’s Max Bursak was very forgettable affair. Since he’s defeated a previously undefeated Jessie Hart and now the stoppage win over Habib Ahmed this past weekend.
Zurdo hasn’t faced a murderer’s row of opponents as champion but one has to wonder can Bob Arum who promotes Ramirez deliver a big fight for this kid in the super middleweight division? It’s a fractured industry however, and the obvious unification bout with WBC champion David Benavidez seems like a natural to make but is pure fantasy at the moment since PBC/Showtime and Bob Arum rarely do business together.
Arum however, has left hope and even promised Zurdo to try to get him the winner of the World Boxing Super Series Tournament. Potential fights with Chris Eubank, George Groves, or a Callum Smith could be attractive options for Zurdo down the line. In the meantime, Ramirez may have to settle with a possible rematch with Jessie Hart or perhaps a fight with Australian Rohan Murdock. Ramirez however, feels he’s ready for anybody in the division, the question is will he get the chance to prove it against the biggest names at super middleweight?
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results: Ancajas and Ramirez Impress with Stoppage Wins
By: William Holmes
The America Bank Center in Corpus Christie, Texas was the host site for tonight’s Top Rank Boxing on ESPN offering.
The undercard featured several of Top Rank’s prized prospects. Teofimo Lopez, Jesse Hart, and Jose Benavidez delivered victories as expected on showcase bouts on ESPN News.
The opening bout of the night was between Jerwin Ancajas (26-1-1) and Israel Gonzalez (20-1) for the IBF Junior bantamweight title.
Many have been comparing Ancajas to Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao. Tonight was the first fight on US soil for Ancajas.
Ancajas, a southpaw, was able to back Gonzalez up with his sharp jab in the first round and scored an early knockdown with looping overhand left. Gonzalez was able to get to his feet and survive the opening round.
Ancajas unveiled his check right hook in the second round and went on the attack more. Gonzalez was able to land a few good shots in the third round, but Ancajas aggressive style was eerily similar to Pacquiao and was effective.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter
Ancajas had doubled the number of punches landed by the fourth round and had Gonzalez stumbling in the fifth from a straight left hand.
Ancajas was steady and consistent in the sixth through eighth rounds, landing straight lefts almost at will and constantly testing the chin of Gonzalez.
Ancajas looked extremely comfortable in the ninth round and was landing almost at will. A straight right by Ancajas in the tenth round hurt Gonzalez which was followed by a straight left hand that sent him back to the mat.
He bounced on his feet for the referee when he rose before the count of ten, but Ancajas immediately followed that with a hard left hook that sent Gonzalez falling back down to the mat.
The referee immediately stopped the fight at 1:50 of the tenth round.
The main event of the night was between Gilberto Ramirez (36-0) and Habib Ahmed (25-0-1) for the WBO Super Middleweight Title.
Ramirez height advantage was glaring and Ramirez opened up with a good straight left hand. Ahmed was able to land a few shots of his own and looked like he game to exchange, but Ramirez was landing more combinations and heavy shots to the body.
Ahmed was short with most of his combinations in the second round and kept a tight guard for most of the round. Ramirez’s uppercuts were getting through.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter
Ramirez suffered a cut above his left eye n the third round from a headbutt. Ramirez had Ahmed worn out by the third round and looked badly hurt.
Ramirez was snapping the head of Ahmed in the third round and battered him from corner to corner. The domination continued into the fifth round as Ahmed was just running away looking to survive.
Ramirez continued to land hard and heavy shots while Ahmed threw nothing in return in the sixth round. The referee looked close to stopping the fight several times before Ahmed’s corner finally told the referee to stop the fight.
Gilberto Ramirez was dominant with a knockout victory at 2:31 of the sixth round.
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results: Valdez, Conlan, and Ramirez Entertain and Win
By: William Holmes
Tucson Arena in Tucson, Arizona was the host site for tonight’s broadcast of Top Rank Boxing on ESPN and featured two world title fights which featured two popular Mexican boxing stars.
The co-main event of the night was between Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez and Jessie Hart for Ramirez’s WBO Super Middleweight Title and the main event was between Oscar Valdez and Genesis Servania for Valdez’s WBO Featherweight Title.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing
The undercard featured several up and coming prospects, including Irish Olympian Michael Conlan. Tonight’s card was supposed to start on ESPN, but the baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers ended later than expected and the fight card started on ESPN News.
Michael Conlan (3-0) opened up the telecast against Kenny Guzman (3-0) in the featherweight division in a six round bout.
Conlan has 340 fights as an amateur compared to 47 amateur fights for Kenny Guzman, who also works a full-time carpenter.
The first round was more of a feeling out round as Guzman was able to land some decent shots but Conlan was clearly the better technical boxer. Conlan switched to a southpaw stance midway through the first round with some moderate success.
Conlan switched back into an orthodox stance and was sitting on his punches more in the second round. Guzman’s left eye was showing signs of swelling and blood was coming from his nose as he was taking some heavy shots from Conlan. Conlan landed a heavy right hand in the final ten seconds of the second round that sent Guzman falling backwards to the mat. He was able to get back up before the count of ten but was still wobbly and the referee waived off the fight.
Michael Conlan wins by TKO at 2:59 of the second round.
The next fight of the night was for the WBO Super Middleweight Title between Jesse Hart (22-0) and Gilberto Ramirez (35-0).
Ramirez was slightly taller than Hart, who was active with his jab early on. Hart was very active while circling and was able to stay on the outside in the opening round.
Hart continued to stay active with his jab into the second round and appeared to be a little hesitant of Ramirez’s power. Hart had a habit of ducking his head low when he gets in tight and Ramirez was able to take advantage of that with a short right uppercut that sent Hart crashing to the mat. Hart was able to get back to his feet and survive the round, but he was badly hurt.
Hart had a decent third round and was given time to recover from a low blow by Ramirez, but Ramirez had an excellent fourth round and appeared close to stopping Jesse Hart several times during that round.
Ramirez kept up the pressure in the fourth and fifth rounds and was landing a high number of power shots. Hart was able to slip in a few shots of his own, but he also lost his balance several times in the corner of the ring.
Hart may have stolen some of the middle rounds from the sixth round to the ninth as he was able to land some decent counter shots and avoid getting hurt again. Hart had a very strong ninth round with good straight right hands, but Ramirez showed a strong chin and was able to continue to walk forward.
Both boxers left everything in the ring in the championship rounds with both boxers landing heavy blows and absorbing heavy punishment. But Ramirez ended the final round as the aggressor.
It was an entertaining and competitive bout. The judges scored it 115-112, 115-112, and 114-113 for Gilberto Ramirez.
The main event of the night was between Oscar Valdez (22-0) and Genesis Servania (29-0) for the WBO Featherweight Title.
Servania is a Filipino boxer who trains in Japan. This was his first professional fight outside of Asia.
Servania showed a lot of head movement early on and had some success with his left hook, but Valdez was far more active and was landing good shots to the body.
Valdez was in control in the second and third rounds and simply out landed the constantly coming forward Servania.
Servania was able to score a flash knockdown in the fourth round on Valdez as he was backing away with his hands down. Valdez was in some trouble at the end of the round when Servania was able to catch him off guard with a good combination.
Valdez turned the tide of the fight back in his favor in the fifth round when a clean left hook sent Servania crashing to the mat. Servania was able to get back to his feet and slug it out with Valdez as the round came to an end, but he was badly hurt.
Servania may have stolen the sixth round with a round ending combination, but Valdez outworked Servania for most of the round. Valdez appeared settled in the seventh round and was the more aggressive fighter.
Valdez’s body work won him the eighth round and he was cruising by the ninth. Sevania, to his credit, never stopped coming forward despite the constant barrage of punches.
Servania was reaching for his punches in the tenth and eleventh round and never had Valdez in trouble. Vadez just continued to pile up the points by throwing at Servania whenever he got in range.
The final round was exciting as Servania came right at Valdez to exchange to start the final round and took several risks throughout, but his punches just weren’t powerful enough to hurt Valdez or put him down again.
Oscar Valdez defends his title with scores of 116-110, 119-111, 117-109.
Philly’s Jesse “Hard Work” Hart – Put up or Shut Up Friday
By: Ken Hissner
This Friday over ESPN former Philly 2012 Olympic alternate Jesse “Hard Work” Hart brings his 22-0 (18) record to the Convention Center in Tucson, AZ, challenging WBO Super middleweight champion Mexican southpaw Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez, 35-0 (24).
Both boxers are promoted by Top Rank who along with Peltz Boxing and Zapari Boxing Promotions. This will be the second defense by Ramirez who won the title in April of 2016. Hart had been managed by D&D Promotions with Doc Nowicki and Dave Price for his entire professional career whose contract ran out recently. There was no comment’s from neither one to this writer upon asking them. Nowicki along with Jim Williams had Mike Jones right up to a title fight when he turned on both of his co-managers insisting they not be in the locker room or on the flight. Jones lost twice in a row and hasn’t pick many fights. The following are some of the comments from Philly area people:
“Only that Jesse is one of the hardest working, most focused fighters I know. He puts 110% into every work out,” said Frank Conto. Conto’s son one of the top amateurs in the country is a regular sparring partner of Hart’s.
Another comment from IBHOF promoter and co-promoter of Friday’s event, “It’s a question of whether or not Jesse’s intensity can last 12 rounds if he has to,” said J Russell Peltz. “Very very hot fight in Tucson Friday night. Jesse Hart promises to win as does Zurdo. Jesse says he is a Philly fighter like his father “Cyclone” and this will be a total action title fight.
“Zurdo” a great champion and is irritated with Hart’s pre-fight fireworks and says he will drive Hart straight down into the canvas,” said Lee Samuels, PR for Top Rank.
From Fight News writer, “If Jesse Hart can win the world title, he has the potential to be a true super star. He has the charisma, the personality and the smile of a true celebrity,” said John DiSanto (Philly Boxing History).
“Jesse has been able to stay focused throughout his illustrious amateur career all the way to his first world title fight. Winning the WBO Super middleweight title fight can be the best way he can honor his father, legendary Philly middleweight Eugene “Cyclone” Hart and pay homage to his trainer the great Fred Jenkins, Sr.,” said George Hanson.
“The belt is coming back to Philadelphia, the Capitol of Boxing. Gilberto is going down faster than the Titanic,” said George Hanson.
Hart is a very outspoken individual and was hard to pin down at the most recent boxing event in Philly. His trainer Fred Jenkins, Sr., had this to say “He has gone through trials and tribulations and is ready to go 12 rounds if needed,” said Jenkins.
KEN HISSNER: It’s been 5 years since getting short changed from the 2012 Olympic boxing team while fighting on even terms at the Olympic trials when he drew with now unbeaten middleweight Terrell Gausha, 20-0 (9), and split with Luis Arias, 12-0 (9) earlier in his career. You were out voted by 3-2 at the trials after becoming held to a points tie. Has this helped your drive to a championship?
JESSE HART: Yes it has.
KEN HISSNER: Who will be in your corner Friday?
JESSE HART: My father (Cyclone Hart), Fred Jenkins Sr and William Chivas.
KEN HISSNER: Do you think Top Rank who promotes both you and Zurdo held this title fight up?
JESSE HART: Yes I do.
KEN HISSNER: Any predictions?
JESSE HART: No.
Hart is flamboyant and a “Monster” in the gym I am told. His showings as a professional have not been sensational so for his sake hopefully it will all be on the line Friday. The “Philly Jinx” continues with no world champion’s today so possibility that will all change come Friday night! Ramirez hasn’t exactly been a world beater since winning the title. Both Hart and Ramirez have had hand injuries cutting down on their activity since 2016.
Stevenson, Ramirez, Valdez Win In Top Rank’s Saturday PPV Card
Stevenson, Ramirez, Valdez Win In Top Rank’s Saturday PPV Card
By: Sean Crose
Olympic star Shakur Stevenson debuted in winning fashion Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Edgar Brito, who entered the ring with a record of 3-2 was being overwhelmed when a headbutt stopped the fight at the end of the fifth round of the scheduled six round affair. The early stoppage led to a sooner than hoped for judge’s decision. Needless to say, all three judges gave the nod to Stevenson. It may not have proven to be the explosive debut Stevenson or his team at Top Rank promotions had probably hoped for, but it was a win nonetheless.
Next up was Gilberto Ramirez, who, at 34-0, was stepping into the ring to face 34-4-1 Max Bursak for the WBO super middleweight strap. Ramirez appeared sharp in the first, landing effectively. The second, however, looked to be a closer affair. Still, it was obvious that Ramirez was the better of the two fighters. In fact, Bursak’s only true moments of note were when he was deducted points in the fifth and eleventh rounds for holding. Long story short, Ramirez, who has made it clear for a while now that he’d love to fight middleweight terror Gennady Golovkin, won by unanimous decision.
It was time for the 21-0 Oscar Valdez to defend his WBO featherweight strap again the 25-1 Miguel Marriaga in front of the StubHub crowd of over five thousand people. Suffice to say, the fight was close, with Valdez having a slight edge over his opponent most of the time, but with Marriaga always staying in the contest. To be sure, several rounds may have been difficult to judge after the first. It was most certainly an action fight. And it remained one until the very end. Afterwards, Valdez was awarded a unanimous decision win – one that, although fair of the surface of things – may have been a bit too wide in favor of the champion.
The card, which aired on PPV courtesy of Top Rank promotions, certainly won’t break any records. It’s been said that even Top Rank honcho Bob Arum knows this won’t come out a financial barnburner. Still, the entertaining man event made the evening a success. It also added to the allure of the StubHub Center, which now has a reputation for being the home of high octane fights with lots of fireworks. Too bad fans couldn’t watch Saturday’s bouts without digging inside their wallets.
Top Rank PPV Preview: Jessie Magdaleno vs. Adeilson Dos Santos, Gilberto Ramirez vs. Max Bursak, Oscar Valdez vs. Miguel Marriaga
Top Rank PPV Preview: Jessie Magdaleno vs. Adeilson Dos Santos, Gilberto Ramirez vs. Max Bursak, Oscar Valdez vs. Miguel Marriaga
By: William Holmes
Bob Arum’s “three amigos”; Oscar Valdez, Gilberto Ramirez, and Jessie Magdaleno will compete on Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson California on Pay Per View (PPV). This PPV will be produced and distributed by Top Rank Promotions without the assistance of HBO or Showtime.
These three Mexican boxers have been training together in Carson, California in preparation for this bout and are ready to defend their titles. Also appearing on the undercard will be US Olympian Shakur Stevenson and Ukranian Olympian Fazliddin Gaibnazarov.
The following is a preview of the three televised title bouts.
Jessie Magdaleno (24-0) vs. Adeilson Dos Santos (18-2); WBO Junior Featherweight Title
The first title bout of the night will be between Jessie Magdaleno and Brazilian boxer Adeilson Dos Santos.
Magdaleno has a deep amateur background and was the 2009 US National Champ as an amateur and a National Golden Gloves Champion. Dos Santos has no notable amateur background.
Dos Santos will have about a four inch height advantage and is the same age as Magdaleno. However, Magdaleno has seventeen stoppage wins on his resume while Dos Santos has fourteen stoppage wins, but was also stopped once.
Both boxers have been semi active in the past two years. Magdaleno fought two times in 2016 and three times in 2015 while Dos Santos fought three times in 2016 and twice in 2015. Magdaleno has never tasted defeated while Dos Santos has gone 4-2 in his past six fights.
Magdaleno has beaten the likes of Nonito Donaire, Rey Perez, Erik Ruiz, and Roberto Castaneda. Dos Santos has no big name wins, and his biggest wins to date have come against opponents such as Devis Perez and Marcos Martinez. Dos Santos has lost to Fabian Oscar Orozco and Kid Galahad.
Dos Santos’ resume is void of big name opponents and his two losses came against fighters that are not considered by most to be world class boxers. He went outside of Brazil to fight twice, and went 1-1 in those bouts.
Magdaleno really let the boxing world he’s the real deal with his impressive victory over Nonito Donaire and has the potential to land some more big name fights in the near future. Dos Santos is an opponent who had success in Brazil, but little success either as an amateur or a professional outside of Brazil.
This should be an easy bout for Magdaleno and it shouldn’t be a competitive fight.
Gilberto Ramirez (34-0) vs. Max Bursak (33-4-1); WBO Super Middleweight Title
Gilberto Ramirez is considered by many to be the next Mexican boxer. Ramirez, who turned pro at the age of eighteen, is the current WBO Super Middleweight Champion. His opponent, Max Bursak, has fought several high profile boxers and is a rugged veteran.
Ramirez will be seven years younger than his opponent and will have two and a half inch height advantage as well as a four inch reach advantage. He also has the power advantage as he has twenty four stoppage wins while Bursak only has fifteen stoppage wins.
Ramirez only fought once in 2016 due to an injury and fought three times in 2015. Bursak fought once in 2016 and three times in 2015. Bursak fights out of an orthodox stance while Ramirez fights as a southpaw.
Neither boxer has a notable amateur background, but Ramirez already has the better resume as a professional.
Ramirez has never tasted defeat and has beaten the likes of Arthur Abraham, Gevorg Khatchikian, Derek Edwards, Maksim Vlasov, Junior Talipeau, and Giovanni Lorenzo. Bursak has defeated the likes of Nick Blackwell and Brian Vera. His losses were to Zac Dunn, Martin Murray, Jarrod Fletcher, and Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam.
This is another bout on this pay per view that shouldn’t be very competitive. Ramirez should beat the elder Bursak easily.
The bigger question is who will Ramirez face next? Arthur Abraham has already indicated that he wants a rematch, and fellow Top Rank Boxer Jesse “Hard Work” Hart has also called out Ramirez.
Oscar Valdez (21-0) vs. Miguel Marriaga (25-1); WBO Featherweight Title
On paper, this appears to be the best and most competitive fight of the night.
Oscar Valdez is an extremely talented boxer with a high level ceiling. He has a deep amateur background and represented Mexico in the 2012 Summer Olympics and won a bronze medal in the 2009 World Amateur Championships. His opponent, Miguel Marriaga, has no notable amateur background.
Valdez is four years younger than Marriaga but will be giving up about two and a half inches in height and one inch in reach. Both boxers have considerable power in their hands. Marriaga has twenty one knockouts on his resume while Valdez has nineteen. Three of the past five opponents of Marriaga failed to make it to the distance while Valdez is currently riding a win streak of five wins by stoppage.
Both boxers have been fairly active the past two years. Valdez fought three times in 2016 and four times in 2015 while Marriaga fought three times in 2016 and three times in 2015.
Valdez has never been beaten and has defeated the likes of Hiroshige Osawa, Matias Carlos Adrian Rueda, Evgeny Gradovich, Chris Avalos, and Ruben Tamayo. Marriaga’s lone loss was by decision to Nicholas Walters, he has defeated the likes of Eduardo Montoya, Guy Robb, and Christopher Martin.
Oscar Valdez is a joy to watch and this Saturday should be no different. On paper it’s the most competitive fight of the night, but in the ring Valdez should blow out his opponent just like the other two Mexican boxers on the televised card are expected to do.
Boxing Insider Interview with Gilberto Zurdo Ramirez: The Next Big Thing
Boxing Insider Interview with Gilberto Zurdo Ramirez: The Next Big Thing
By: Francisco Martinez
Gilberto Zurdo Ramirez a 168lbs southpaw standing 6′ 2” with technical boxing ability along with speed and stamina and not to mention good looks is an easy sell to the public. This coming Saturday April 22nd he’s set to step back into the ring after a lay off do to a hand injury and defend his WBO 168lbs title for the first time against Max Bursak of Germany in a triple header card which will also showcase Oscar Valdez and Jessie Magdaleno whom will also defend their versions of the WBO title at 126lbs and 122lbs. All in a stacked Top Rank promotions PPV card at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
BoxingInsider was at hand for the media day at the famed Magnifico Boxing Gym own by 3 time champion, legend Israel El Magnifico Vazquez who’s gym resides in Southgate, Los Angeles as Zurdo Ramirez, Oscar Valdez and Jessie Magdaleno worked out in front of the media and fans we managed to get a few quotes from Zurdo as he taped up for his workout and this is what he had to say.
BoxingInsider: “How was training camp?”
Zurdo Ramirez: “Really good, really good, my preparation is done now” says with a big smile on his face.
BoxingInsider: “You look very happy why?”
Zurdo Ramirez: “Because the fight is really close and I’m really happy. One year and 13 days out of the ring and now it’s time to go back”
Zurdo Ramirez was suppose to defend his title on the night Manny Pacquiao soundly defeated Jessie Vargas but Zurdo suffered a hand injury which required surgery and has kept him out of the ring since April of last year. Although not being able to compete Zurdo maintained active while back home in Mazatlan, Mexico where he kept his physical shape in tact by running, swimming and strength and conditioning work. Something trainer’s, father and son Jesus and Hector Zapari feel benefited him greatly being out of the ring from over a year.
BoxingInsider: “So that was on your mind the whole time to step back into the ring?”
Zurdo Ramirez: “Yeah because one year out of the ring and now it’s closer to the fight and I’m really happy”
The bigger picture here lays within the victory of April 22nd if Zurdo Ramirez manages to successfully defend his title the possibility of a showdown with Kazak powerhouse Gennady Golovkin will be explored as both Bob Arum and Tom Loeffler have expressed great interest in this possible match up. One that the boxing community is also hoping for. After his tough earned and controversial victory against Daniel Jacobs Gennady Golovkin and his team went on record that a June fight date versus Billy Joe Sunders was the goal and with a win Gennady would move up to 168lbs as undisputed status was his ultimate vision regardless of the potential Canelo fight they were not gonna wait for him.
Those comments sparked legendary promoter Bob Arum to quickly say Zurdo Ramirez would “destroy” Gennady Golovkin and that he would be looking to make that fight. A fight Zurdo and his team are also hoping for but not over looking their April 22nd assignment. Zurdo assures us that “first thing is first, first thing is April 22nd, Max Bursak and after that like I say doesn’t matter whatever comes. I have the skills, power, everything. I’m really confident about me, myself that’s why I asked for that fight but I need to win this fight (April 22nd)”
Trainer Hector Zapari also confident in Zurdo and likes the idea of a Gennady Golovkin fight “yeah for sure Zurdo is a very complete fighter, yeah, Zurdo beats Golovkin for sure” with Gennady Golovkin now passing up on that June fight date which could have possibly ended up taking place if his home country of Kazakhstan not happening it opens the door for a possible move to 168lbs or he awaits the winner of Saul Alvarez vs Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. but given the general opinion that Alvarez will have an easy night this coming May 6th a possible Alvarez vs Golovkin fight is a little sketchy do to the history of their negotiations which have lead to nowhere and can only leave the door open for other possibilities with one of those being Zurdo Ramirez.
Tune in this April 22nd for the Top Rank promotions PPV triple header at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Follow complete coverage leading up to the fight by using #TopRankBoxing
Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez: Whoever is Next, is Next
Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez: Whoever is Next, is Next
By: Francisco Martinez
Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez the hot trailblazing southpaw, Top Rank promotions signee, Mexican import who hails from Sinaloa, Mazatlan and current 168lbs WBO world champion aims for unifications in his division coming off of hand surgery and wants to waste no time. Penciled in for a April 22nd title defense at the StubHub center in Carson, California against European Max Bursak. Zurdo Ramírez might just be the most naturally talented fighter in his division standing at 6′ 2” tall the naturally talented southpaw aims to prove why he’s the best 168lbs.
“I’m prepared for anybody, anyone” immediately after Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. last fight and win Zurdo Ramirez took to social media by challenging Chavez Jr. congratulating him for his victory and asking him “Do you want to fight with a real champ?” a challenge not acknowledge by Chavez Jr. and his team who had Canelo on their sights. Leaving Zurdo Ramirez with no real direction having won his WBO title what he thought would help lure the top 168lbs into the ring but instead turning him into the most avoided fighter in his division.
His trainer Hector Zapari hopes unifications are what this year holds “Those are the fights that we’re looking for. He’s ready for those fighters. We trust in our promoter Bob Arum that we’re gonna get those fights. We are willing to fight any champion. We won’t underestimate our next opponent because he wants to be a world champion too. All opponents are dangerous but it’s a motivation to get pass this fighter to make the unifications possible” as for Zurdo Ramirez surgically repaired hand
Senior trainer and father of Hector, Jesus Zapari had this to say in regards to the surgery “Doctor Steve Shin did a very good job. I think he is a lot better now because he is more confident in his hand before the surgery he was hurt for a while and he wasn’t confident when he punched so I think he is a lot better now than before the surgery” Hector Zapari added this to the conversation “I feel Zurdo is stronger because mentally he’s much, much better. He was active the whole time. That was good for him because he didn’t stop training after the surgery”
It seems Top Rank promotions and premier boxing champions are open to working with each other making such unification match ups in the 168lbs division a great possibility with the WBC title now vacant that Badou Jack has made a move up in weight to the 175lbs class for a rumored lucrative showdown with Adonis Stevenson. Zurdo Ramirez versus IBF kingpin James Degale becomes the most attractive fight at 168lbs not forgetting about the WBA title which belongs to German Tyrone Zeuge who fights exclusively in his native home country which could bring up serious disadvantages for both Ramirez or Degale if they so choose to unify with Zeuge we would imagine bringing him to the states would prove to be difficult as the Germans in boxing do have somewhat of a no travel policy in means to keep their title as proven throughout history time and time again. Somewhat of holding the title “hostage” with favorable judging back home.
Gilberto Zurdo Ramirez wants the big fights. Wants to unify the division. Wants to prove he is the face of Mexican boxing although he is aware those bragging rights will most likely go to the winner of Saul Canelo Alvarez vs The Son Of The Legend, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in what is being dubbed Mexican Civil War. Zurdo Ramírez and his team are confident in their abilities and skills and are willing to wait for their time while keeping their eyes on a mega showdown with Gennady Golovkin one that was talked about between Ramirez promoter Bob Arum & Tom Loeffler who manages Golovkin. A future fight both promoters do hold in mind as a possibility.
Hector Zapari had this to say in regards of the winner between Saul Alvarez & Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. “Let me tell you who’s gonna be the leader of Mexico…” points at Zurdo Ramirez “…right here. He’s gonna fight with true champions. No marketing” Zurdo Ramírez adds “I’m gonna prove to myself and to the people that they’ll see a stronger Zurdo Ramirez, a faster Zurdo Ramirez and better than ever”
April 22nd Zurdo Ramirez defends his WBO title for the first time at the StubHub in Carson, CA a venue and crowd Zurdo feels will help propel his superstardom into the next level expressing that Los Angeles has the best fans in boxing Hector Zapari adds “Los Angeles, Southern California is like our second home. We always train in Mazatlan (Sinaloa) but the last 2 months, 10 weeks we always come here to California. It’s one of the best fanbase in the world, boxing”
Be sure stay updated on boxings latest headlines and breaking news by visiting BoxingInsider.com for daily updates and exclusive interviews from boxings top names.
HBO Pay Per View Undercard Results: Valdez Impresses, Jose Ramirez and Gilberto Ramirez Win by Decisio
HBO Pay Per View Undercard Results: Valdez Impresses, Jose Ramirez and Gilberto Ramirez Win by Decision
By: William Holmes
Tonight’s HBO Pay Per View was presented by Top Rank Promotions from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. As typical for Las Vegas, the Grand Garden Arena was nowhere near filled by the time the opening bout started.
The opening bout of the night was between Manny Perez (25-11-1) and Jose Ramirez (16-0) in the super lightweight division.
Jose Ramirez is a high ceiling prospect with a lot of hype behind his name. He began the opening round strong and landed multiple jabs, but Perez showed he was here to fight and connected with several stinging straight right hands in a row in the last minute of the first round.
Ramirez had settled down by the second and third round and stayed active with his jab and Perez at bay. Perez was able to land some shots to the body in the third round, but Ramirez had a very strong fourth round and nearly doubled the number of punches connected.
Perez was able to match Ramirez in activity in the fifth and sixth rounds and had some success to the body, but Ramirez landed the harder and crisper punches and Perez’s face was starting to show signs of swelling. By the seventh round he had blood pouring out of his face.
Perez showed incredible heart and did his best to make it a fight, but he was getting beat badly and was fading badly as the rounds progressed.
Jose Ramirez remained undefeated with a decision victory over a very game Manny Perez with scores of 97-93, 98-92, and 99-91.
The next televised bout was between Evgeny Gradovich (21-1) and Oscar Valdez (18-0) in the featherweight division.
Valdez looked comfortable early on in the bout and was landing clean counters in the first round. Valdez mixed up his combinations to the body and head in the second round and battered Gradovich whenever he tried to get in close.
Gradovich’s face was red by the third round and Valdez tagged Gradovich with nearly every punch he threw. He began to really throw some power behind his shots this round and was landing some vicious ones.
Gradovich finally went down in the third round from a hard right hook left hook combination by Valdez. Gradovich was able to get back to his feet before the count of ten but the referee had seen enough and stopped the fight.
Valdez was extremely impressive and obliterated a former world champion.
Oscar Valdez wins by TKO at 2:14 of the fourth round.
The final bout on the undercard was between Arthur Abraham (44-4) and Gilberto Ramirez (33-0) for the WBO Super Middleweight Title.
Ramirez, a southpaw, was obviously longer and taller than Abraham. Abraham was content with fighting defensive early on and kept a high guard, while Ramirez threw a high volume of punches and outworked the older Abraham.
Ramired’s activity continued in the second round and Abraham’s face was showing signs of damage. Abraham was able to land a hard right uppercut in the second, but was countered with a left hook that forced Abraham to back into a corner.
Ramirez had a strong third round and was ending several of his combinations with stiff body shots. Abraham was able to throw a few wild bombs at the end of the fourth round but did not land many shots.
Ramirez continued to stick and move in the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds and was dominating the action. Abraham’s best round of the three was the sixth as he was able to land a few right hands when he let his hand go.
By the seventh round Ramirez had connected with eighty four punches while Abraham hand connected with only forty nine. Abraham was momentarily wobbled with a left hand in the seventh.
Ramirez was warned for low blows in the eighth round but continued to batter his opponent and kept up a strong pace. Ramirez connected with a thudding straight left hand in the eleventh round and only needed to play it safe in the final round to win a decision.
Abraham was never able to effectively push the pace and seriously threaten Ramirez. The judges scored it 120-108 on all three scorecards for Gilberto Ramirez.
HBO Pay Per View Preview: Pacquiao vs. Bradley, Valdez vs. Gradovich, Abraham vs. Ramirez
HBO Pay Per View Preview: Pacquiao vs. Bradley, Valdez vs. Gradovich, Abraham vs. Ramirez
By: William Holmes
The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada will be the host site for HBO’s next Pay Per View offering featuring Top Rank Promotions’ stars Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley Jr.
Saturday night might be the last time we ever see Manny Pacquiao inside the ring as he has previously stated his intentions to retire after this fight to focus on a career in politics, but he has recently waivered on that promise.
HBO usually televises at least two bouts before the main event of a pay per view, and one of the bouts is a super middleweight title fight between Arthur Abraham and Gilberto Ramirez.
The following is a preview of the three televised bouts for Saturday night.
Oscar Valdez (18-0) vs. Evgeny Gradovich (21-1); Featherweights
Oscar Valdez is a young twenty five year old prospect that competed in the Olympics for Mexico in 2008 and 2012. Gradovich is called by many the Mexican Russian and is known for his aggressive fighting style and is trained by Roberto Garcia.
Gardovich has a strong amateur background and was a member of the Russian Amateur Team, but he never competed in the Olympics like Valdez. He’s also four years older than Valdez but is still in his athletic prime.
Valdez has the heavier hands and has stopped sixteen of his opponents, including four of his past five fights. Gradovich is aggressive, but he’s not a powerful puncher. He only has nine stoppage victories and hasn’t had one in his past five bouts.
Gradovich will have about a two and a half inch height advantage as well as a one inch reach advantage. Both boxers fight out of an orthodox stance.
Valdez has been considerably more active than Gradovich in the past two years. He has fought a total of eight times in 2014 and 2015 while Gradovich fought four times.
Gradovich is a former IBF World Featherweight Champion and has defeated the likes of Alexander Miskirtchian, Billy Dib (twice), and Mauricio Javier Munoz. Valdez has not faced the level of competition of Gradovich but has defeated the likes of Chris Avalos and Ruben Tamayo.
Most concerning for Gradovich however is that he struggled in his last two fights despite winning, and was only able to manage a split decision against an unheralded Aldimar Silva Santos. He’ll have to swarm Valdez and throw a high volume of punches if he hopes to win.
This is an excellent test for Valdez to see if he can handle a former champion that’s still relatively young, but it’s a test that many expect Valdez to pass.
Arthur Abraham (44-4) vs. Gilberto Ramirez (33-0); WBO Super Middleweight Title
Arthur Abraham has been fighting as a professional since 2003 and is the current WBO Super Middleweight Champion and was the former IBF Middleweight Champion.
Age, however, is not on his side as he is thirty six years old and twelve years older than his opponent. He will also be giving up five and a half inches in height and three inches in reach to Ramirez.
Both boxers have decent power as Abraham has stopped twenty nine of his opponents while Ramirez has stopped twenty four. Ramirez has been more active than Abraham and has fought seven times in the past two years, but Abraham by far is the more experienced and tested boxer.
The Armenian born Abraham has defeated the likes of Martin Murray, Robert Stieglitz (three times), Paul Smith, Jermain Taylor, Lajuan Simon, Raul Marquez, Edison Miranda, Elvin Ayala, and Howard Eastman. His losses were to Robert Stieglitz, Andre Ward, Carl Froch, and Andre Dirrell.
Ramirez’s best victories to date have come against Gevorg Khatchikian, Derek Edwards, Maxim Vlasov, and Giovanni Lorenzo.
Abraham hasn’t fought outside of Germany in five years and two of his losses have occurred in the United States.
This will be a tough fight for Ramirez and Abraham is well known for his excellent stamina and ability to come on strong as a fight progresses. This is one of the most competitive fights on the card and most intriguing, but Ramirez is a highly regarded prospect for Top Rank. Abraham’s age and lack of success when fighting in the United States will be a hindrance for him.
This bout could go either way, but Ramirez should be considered a very slight favorite.
Manny Pacquiao (57-6-2) vs. Timothy Bradley Jr (31-1-1); Welterweights
This will be the third time these two will meet in the ring, with Bradley winning the first bout and Pacquiao winning the rematch. However, most ringside observers, including this writer, felt Pacquiao won both bouts.
Both boxers will surely have had hall of fame careers, but this might be Pacquiao’s last fight as a professional and his skills have been slowly eroding before our eyes.
He has been fighting as a professional since he was sixteen years old and weighed 98 pounds and was only 4’11”. This will be his 21st year fighting as a pro. His first professional bout was in 1995.
Pacquiao has since grown to 5’5 ½” and has a 67” reach. Bradley is only a half an inch taller but will have a two inch reach advantage. Bradley is also thirty two years old while Pacquiao is thirty seven.
Bradley has the edge in amateur experience and is a former US Jr. Golden Gloves Champion and a Police Athletic League National Champion. Pacquiao though, had the edge in world titles held and is an eight division world champion.
Neither boxer can be accused of ducking the competition. Pacquaio has thirty eight stoppage wins on his record and has defeated the likes of Lehlo Ledwaba, Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, Oscar Larios, Jorge Solis, Marco Antonio Barrera, David Diaz, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Joshua Clottey, Antonio Margarito, Shane Mosley, Brandon Rios, and Chris Algieri. He has lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr., Juan Manuel Marquez, Timothy Bradley Jr., Erik Morales, and two losses early on in his career to Medgoen Singsurat and Rustico Torrecampo.
Bradley’s lone loss was to Manny Pacquiao. He has defeated the likes of Brandon Rios, Jessie Vargas, Diego Chaves, Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez, Ruslan Provodnikov, Joel Casamayor, Devon Alexander, Lamont Peterson, Nate Campbell, Kendall Holt, Edner Cherry, and Junior Witter.
The intangibles in this fight favor Bradley.
It should be noted that Bradley recently hooked up with Teddy Atlas to be his trainer and looked sensational in his last fight against Brandon Rios.
Pacquiao’s age and recent inactivity will be a factor in this bout. He has only fought four times since 2013 and has not looked the same since his devastating knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez. He is also coming off of a shoulder surgery and even Freddie Roach noted that Pacquiao took a little longer than usual to get into fighting shape.
Pacquaio is also running for a Senate seat in the Philippines and may be dealing with those distractions, as this is the biggest political seat he has ever ran for.
Speed is usually the first thing to go with age, and at thirty seven years old Pacquiao is clearly past his prime. He’s also not fully committed to the sport of boxing and looked very hesitant to pull the trigger in his last fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
If Pacquiao wants to continue boxing and rebuild some of that luster his name used to have, he’ll need to be a little reckless and box aggressively to go for the stoppage. Pacquiao has already reached the top of the sport and he has other endeavors that he wants to pursue, and a sport like boxing requires your full attention if you want to remain at or near the top.
Bradley is hungrier than ever, and this could spell trouble for Pacquiao.
Pacquiao might have one last thrilling fight left in his body to give his fans, but all signs point to a victory for Bradley.