Robeisy Ramirez won Olympic gold medals for Cuba in 2012 and 2016, and his professional debut was one of the most highly-anticipated in recent memory. He’d signed with Top Rank, there was already talk of him someday facing Shakur Stevenson — whom Ramirez beat at Rio 2016 — and the sky figured to be the limit.
Tonight in Philadelphia, though, it all went wrong.
Unknown Adan Gonzales scored a quick flash knockdown in the opening round, and the highly-touted Ramirez just never got out of the starting blocks, losing a four-round split decision in his professional debut.
All things considered, while this won’t grab the headlines that Ruiz over Joshua did, it’s at the very least arguable that this is an even bigger upset.
Gonzales (5-2-2, 2 KO), from Denver, turned pro back in Sept. 2015 and lost his first outing, but he had no hype. He’s just a guy who took up boxing and looked to give it a go. For the last few years, he’s fought here and there — three times in 2016, twice in 2017, just once in 2018, and again in June. He was a guy who was available. He was, frankly, a safe choice for the pro debut of Ramirez (0-1).
Just a 22-year-old kid from Denver. He’d have this fight and just be the name at the bottom of Robeisy Ramirez’s BoxRec page. Instead, he’s shocked the boxing world, most of all Ramirez.
Scores were 38-37 for Ramirez, and 39-36 and 40-35 for Gonzales.
“He’s just another man. I got in his ass, and first round, he felt it. He felt it right away,” Gonzales said after the fight. “I didn’t come to play at all. You’re gonna see some more of me here soon.”
Ramirez did no in-ring interview, leaving the squared circle in disbelief, but Crystina Poncher caught up with him backstage.
“I think I won the fight. The first round, unfortunately they called it a knockdown, I felt it was a slip,” Ramirez said through a translator. “I went down and wasn’t hurt. It was just a flash thing. I felt he was trying to use a lot of dirty tactics. He really didn’t hit me with anything significant. I feel like I won the fight.”
“I feel my punches were cleaner punches,” he added. “They were precise punches, they landed cleanly. I feel like they got it wrong.”
Asked about moving forward with his career, Ramirez said, “We’ll just have to go back to the drawing board, work harder, and make a better show of it next time.”
Ramirez, frankly, fought with an overconfidence that completely betrayed him. In some ways, you could argue this resembled the second pro fight of Vasiliy Lomachenko, where Loma lost to Orlando Salido.
But Orlando Salido won world titles and was a really good, crafty, dirty, hard-nosed veteran fighter. Meaning no disrespect to Adan Gonzales — in fact, all respect to him, he came to win and did it — he’s not Orlando Salido.
It’s also worth noting that this fight was changed during the week from a six-rounder to a four-rounder, and that certainly didn’t help Ramirez.
As for the knockdown, it was clean. It wasn’t a huge shot, but it was a clean knockdown and should have been scored as such. Ramirez just lost this fight. He screwed up and laid an egg in his pro debut.
We’ll see if he comes back from this. We know the talent is in there, but some guys just don’t really adjust from amateur to pro.
If Ramirez flops, he’ll be one of the great busts in history, and this is certainly not a good start.