Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez was hoping to face WBA light heavyweight titleholder Dmitry Bivol in his next outing, but with Bivol reportedly turning down an offer from the Ramirez side, he’s instead set for an eliminator bout against Yunieski Gonzalez on Dec. 18.
Ramirez (42-0, 28 KO) is a former super middleweight titleholder with the WBO, moving up in 2019. Last year, he signed with Golden Boy, and made his debut with the company on July 9, wiping out veteran Sullivan Barrera inside of four rounds.
Gonzalez (21-3, 17 KO) represents the same sort of challenge on paper. The 36-year-old Cuban hasn’t been heard from much since he was thrashed in three by Oleksandr Gvozdyk in 2017, winning three fights between 2020 and September of this year, all against mediocre opponents. He stopped Tommy Karpency in two last time out.
For “Zurdo,” the target remains Bivol (18-0, 11 KO), and he thought the fight would be coming soon.
“I was surprised when Bivol turned down the fight we offered because it was something I thought he wanted,” Ramirez said. “I know he’s a tough warrior and aspires to be the best, which is why I was surprised. He publicly called me out and said that he was ‘ready.’ But unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case on his end.
“Again, in boxing, this seems like a common scenario where a fighter barks and barks, but he can’t back it up when it’s time to fight. With this fight in place, Bivol has nowhere to run, and he will eventually have to face me.”
The eliminator would give Ramirez, 30, a path to a guaranteed title fight, be it against Bivol or for a vacant belt if, for whatever reason, Bivol just really doesn’t want to fight “Zurdo.” But Ramirez believes that Bivol was holding out for a mega money opportunity against Canelo Alvarez, who recently received approval from the WBC for a cruiserweight title shot against Ilunga Junior Makabu, which may happen in May 2022.
“I’m not sure why Bivol thinks Canelo will face him in the near future,” Ramirez said. “The probability of that happening within the next three fights is very, very low for him. Sadly, I think he’s just the cannon fodder for this scenario.”
Things do seem to be moving toward Ramirez getting the fight he wants, but first things first, he has to take care of business against Gonzalez in their DAZN main event.