In an interesting bit of news that snuck by on an ultra-busy Saturday, ESPN KnockOut reports that former super middleweight champ Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez and onetime light heavyweight title challenger Sullivan Barrera have a “verbal agreement” to meet later this year. The pair are still waiting on a date and location, but it could reportedly land in June.
Ramirez (41-0, 27 KO) infamously waited out his Top Rank contract rather than compete in the WBO light heavyweight tournament, allowing Joe Smith Jr. to step in and ultimately win it all. After testing the free agency waters with a December stoppage of Alfonso Lopez, he got an offer to fight Marcus Browne for the interim WBC title, only to skip that as well and ultimately sign with Golden Boy.
The current plan seems to be to pit him against Dmitry Bivol after the WBA champ deals with Craig Richards on May 1st, but he’ll have to get through a perennial tough out in Barrera. The Cuban veteran, who boasts a dominant 2017 win over Smith, is coming up on two years of inactivity since losing to Jesse Hart in 2019.
Even if he’s old and likely diminished, Barrera’s a damn sight better than Lopez, and should serve as a nice introduction to the light heavyweight division proper.