Artur Beterbiev had some wicked momentum rolling when he defeated Oleksandr Gvozdyk in brutally effective fashion in Oct. 2019, but his momo slowed to ‘no go,’ as he didn’t glove up once in 2020 and has had various setbacks trying to get a fight with Adam Deines in the books.
Beterbiev holds the IBF and WBC light heavyweight straps, and was slated to face Deines on Jan. 30, which was yet another date for the oft-delayed bout. That plan went off the rails when the 35-year-old Russian tested positive for COVID.
In the meantime, time and the boxing world march on.
There are light heavyweight contests to make, and here’s one that is seemingly in the works. Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (41-0, 27 KO), who recently got back to business on Dec. 18 with a stoppage win over Alfonso Lopez in Mexico, could next get it on with Marcus Browne (23-1, 16 KO).
The 29-year-old Zurdo didn’t have any rust shedding issues against Lopez, despite his last outing having come in Apr. 2019, before a split with Top Rank shelved him for a spell. Ramirez started his own promotional entity, so would a Ramirez-Browne tussle be on Zurdo’s turf in Mexico, or would it land on a Premier Boxing Champions card, because the 30-year-old Browne fights under the Haymon banner?
This would be a battle of two lefties, and some lean to Zurdo to prevail, being that Browne last fought in Aug. 2019, against Jean Pascal, dropping a technical decision after hitting the canvas three times. Contemplating the loss of one’s “0,” combined with a possible case of the rusties, well, the case could be made that Zurdo would be the favorite.
Zurdo and Browne have jostled on social media, and Ramirez’s manager David Suh checked in with Bad Left Hook and helped us achieve a bit more clarity on the matter.
“The WBC just ordered the fight, an interim title fight, because Beterbiev has been out,” Suh told me, as he awaited details and an official announcement from the sanctioning body. “No date yet, it would go to purse bid Feb. 5.”
They’d be open to fighting in Texas or Mexico, Suh said, but they are looking to be flexible and see what works for everyone.
“It would be a good fight for the fans, they’ve been back and forth on social already.”
A scrap could unfold in March, maybe, Suh said that Zurdo is fit and ready for rumbling on that time frame. They’d need to see if Browne is on the same page, fitness-wise, so March, April, May, that would be up for debate.
For the record, Zurdo, who’s said he’d like a crack at fellow Mexican Canelo Alvarez, is ranked No. 1 by the WBC. Pascal is rated No. 2.
Joe Smith is rated No. 3, but he’s facing Maxim Vlasov for the vacant WBO title on Feb. 13 on ESPN. Sergey Kovalev is No. 6 in the WBC rankings, and he is seen by some pundits as a decent bet to get beaten by Bektemir Melikuziev when they tussle on Jan. 30 in Russia.
You have maybe picked up something, or a couple of things. One, this is a division filled with guys who are likely to have fewer fights in their future than they’ve piled up already. And also, there are solid names at light heavy, so this division could easily be a focal point in 2021, and end the year giving plentiful bang for the buck.
For sure, a Zurdo-Browne tango would fit in nicely with the activity we’re seeing play out in the near future. Readers, talk to me: Zurdo against Marcus Browne, who wins, and how?