Gilberto Ramirez saw what he needed to see from this past Saturday’s clash between Dmitry Bivol and Canelo Alvarez.
As Bivol had his hand raised in victory inside the ring at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Ramirez was just as confident watching from the comfort of his couch as he is now that he has the skill-set and the game plan to defeat Bivol.
Ramirez has to take care of business first Saturday night as he faces Dominic Boesel of Germany at the Toyota Center in Ontario, California (DAZN, 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT). The 12-round bout will determine the mandatory challenger to face Bivol, who holds the WBA world light heavyweight title.
At Friday’s weigh-in, Ramirez weighed in at 174.8 pounds. Boesel weighed 174.2.
Ramirez (43-0, 29 knockouts), who resides in Mazatlan, Mexico, last fought on December 18, stopping Yunieski Gonzalez in the 10th round. The win over Gonzalez took place over five months after Ramirez knocked out former contender Sullivan Barrera in the fourth round.
The 30-year-old is facing a fighter in Boesel (32-2, 12 KOs), a fringe contender who has won his last two bouts since losing to Robin Krasniqi by knockout in October 2020. Boesel would get his revenge against Krasniqi in his last bout on October 9, winning by split-decision.
Ramirez, who goes by the nickname of ‘Zurdo’ (or ‘lefty’ in Spanish), hopes Boesel brings his best to the ring on Saturday night.
“I hope he comes with his best to give a great show on Saturday,” Ramirez told The Ring Wednesday night. “I hope to come out victorious because I trained really hard for this fight. I want the opportunity to fight for a world title. I’m glad to be fighting near Los Angeles in front of my Mexican and Latino fans.”
Ramirez took in the Bivol-Alvarez fight from his home, expecting to see Alvarez come out victorious. So did most boxing fans and sports books, who tabbed Alvarez as a 5 to 1 favorite.
Should he come out victorious against Boesel, Ramirez is hopeful the WBA will follow through and force Bivol to next make a world title defense against him.
“(The result) was a surprise to me,” said Ramirez, who is ranked No. 5 by The Ring. “I thought Canelo was going to win. He was the favorite (going into the fight). I thought he was going to win a decision in a close fight, but the outcome was completely different. Dmitry Bivol won the fight going away. It was a surprise to me. As a fan, I was a bit sad because I wanted the Mexican to win. As a boxer I am, I was glad because, when I beat Dmitry Bivol, the eyes will be on me.
“Of course I want that fight against Dmitry Bivol. I want to take that belt back to Mexico. My dream is to again win a world title belt and to be a two-time world titleholder. To be the challenger and to win a world title is a great motivation for me. I was the first Mexican to win a world title at 168 pounds and I have that same desire to do it again and to become the first Mexican to be a light heavyweight world champion. It’s very exciting to me and for this to be a part of history.”
Ramirez is also eyeing the world unification title fight between unified WBC/ IBF titleholder and WBO titleholder Joe Smith, Jr., which will take place on June 18. The winner will likely be the No. 1 fighter at 175 pounds, which currently belongs to Bivol, or could possibly earn him the Ring Magazine championship.
Even as Ramirez may not currently own a world title belt, he believes he is the fighter to beat in the light heavyweight division and is gradually making his way to the lofty goal of winning 50 fights without a blemish on his record.
“I believe the best in the division is me,” said Ramirez. “It’s only a question of when those fights can be made. I have to take care of business on Saturday. After I win, I’m going to seek that fight against Dmitry Bivol and against Joe Smith, Jr. or Artur Beterbiev for those world titles.
“It’s a great motivation to try to get to 50 wins without a defeat. I’m only 6-7 wins away from that and I’m glad I would be the first Mexican to get to that goal.”
Ramirez is not getting ahead of himself. He understands a loss to Boesel could throw off his opportunity to face Bivol and his standing at 175 pounds.
He is hopeful a dominant win will send a message to the rest of the division and put everything in motion to secure a fight against Bivol.
“I (have) seen Bivol plenty of times. I like his style. He always does well maintaining his distance. But I believe I have the more-quality skill-set than anyone in the light heavyweight division.
“My style is completely different from Bivol’s. That’s an advantage for me. It’s exciting for me that I’m fighting in this world title eliminator on Saturday in a fight where I will come out victorious.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing