Top Rank prospect, Gilberto Ramirez, is a 23-year-old Mexican fighter who is currently ranked seventh at the super middleweight division, according to Ring Magazine. Ramirez (30-0, 24 KOs) will be fighting on undercard of Alvarado-Rios on January 24th where he'll face Russia's Maxim Vlasov (30-1, 15 KOs). Gilberto see's himself as the "next big thing" out of Mexico, and it appears that Bob Arum agrees, so he'll be making a concerted effort to push the Mexican into stardom.
"I think that with all things being equal, if he continues along this path, that he will be more popular than either Canelo or Chavez," said Arum of Ramirez, whose nickname, "Zurdo" means "left-handed."
"I think that it's a real possibility, particularly since he's learning to speak English and that he'll be bilingual and he's got a great personality and a fabulous fighting style."
The fighting style that Arum is referring to is rather imposing. Ramirez stands 6'3", he's a good puncher and pressure fighter, and he employs an unrelenting body attack (what's not to love?). Since the man idolizes Julio Cesar Chavez, Sr., I suppose this is pretty much to be expected. But whether or not he'll gain the popularity of a Canelo or Chavez Jr. remains to be seen, however. He's not inheriting a famous lineage and he doesn't have the blazing red hair which has seemingly been an effective marketing tool. He's just meat and potatoes.
So while Ramirez and Arum think he has to potential to transcend the current Mexican stars, I think we'll have to add a grain of salt to our meat and potatoes. Arum certainly has cause to want to believe Ramirez will be his next Oscar De La Hoya - with Canelo signed to his chief rival and Chavez Jr. obviously not happy with his Top Rank arrangement. But without the other obvious marketing intangibles, the only real way for Ramirez to become transcendent is the old fashion way - by putting on star-making performances inside the ring. He has the opportunity to continue this journey by taking advantage of his upcoming fight on premium network television, against a pretty good opponent in Vlasov who is riding an 11 fight win streak.
"I really appreciate Bob Arum, HBO and my team at Zapari Boxing for giving me this opportunity. I have been waiting so long for this caliber of fight," said Ramirez.
"Vlasov is the biggest test of my career. A victory over him will validate me as a worthy challenger for a world title. I promise to give the fans a very exciting fight on Jan. 24."
Keeping your promises is one way to endear yourself to the public...