This Saturday from the exotic locale of Abu Dhabi at the Etihad Arena (the Madison Square Garden of the Middle East) the WBA light heavyweight championship is on the line as Dmitry Bivol defends his title versus Gilberto Ramirez.
It's one of the best remaining match-ups on the boxing calendar as 2022 winds down.
Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs) is currently rated number one at 175 by Ring Magazine, with Gilberto Ramirez (44-0, 30 KOs) ranked third. This is the rare fight in boxing where you have two undefeated boxers in their physical prime facing one another.
For Bivol, this is a lucrative reward for conclusively defeating Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez back in May. And it wasn't that he just pulled the upset, he thoroughly dominated the reigning pound-for-pound king over 12 rounds. From the very onset, he commanded the ring, and dominated behind his 1-2, and control of distance and spacing. In short, it was a boxing clinic, and he promptly sent the Mexican star back down to super middleweight.
It was confirmation that Bivol truly is one of the most talented boxers in the game. For a few years he had seemingly been unable -- or maybe unwilling -- to take it out of cruise control as he was less-than-spectacular against the likes of Umar Salamov and Craig Richards in recent outings. But against Canelo he shifted into another gear, and shined on the biggest stage he has ever performed on.
There is a bit of a Winky Wright-like quality to him in that against rather nondescript opposition, he will just more or less just do what it takes to out-point his foes. But like Wright did when taking on Shane Mosley and Felix Trinidad, Bivol had no issues raising his level of performance.
Which brings about this question: will he go into overdrive to defeat Ramirez? While not the star, or nearly as accomplished as Alvarez, he is a naturally bigger boxer than Alvarez, who began his career as a welterweight. The physical advantages that he held in May do not exist with 'Zurdo' who is a 6'3 southpaw.
For Ramirez, this is a chance to be the star he has always thought he was destined to be. Unfortunately, with his methodical style of the past, he became that rare boxer from south of the border who was unblemished in over 40 fights -- and the Mexican's still didn't care about him. There was a realization that winning wasn't just enough, style points matter. He was methodical to the point of being monotonous,
In recent bouts against Sullivan Barrera, Yunieski Gonzalez and Dominic Boesel has put forth entertaining performances and scored emphatic stoppage victories under the tutelage of bright young trainer, Julian Chua. But the reality is that some of this is the product of some adroit matchmaking by Golden Boy Promotions.
Golden Boy Promotions
Regardless, this has been a much more television-friendly version of Ramirez to watch. He's no longer ZZZZZurdo. Chances are he wont be able to out-box the fleet footed Bivol, but he holds advantages in size and length. He will have to force Bivol out of his comfort zone.
If we get the most recent version of Bivol and Ramirez this weekend, a real fight may actually break out.
On Tuesday night WBO welterweight titlist, Terence Crawford, did a live on Instagram to give his explanation of why the showdown with unified champion, Errol Spence, is not taking place this year. Instead, he will be facing contender David Avanesyan on December 10 in Omaha, Nebraska.
A couple of interesting things from this chat: Crawford said he had two hedge funds willing to pay each of them $25 million. I'm guessing it wasn't Waddell and Reed. Also, Crawford had problems remembering just who was streaming his upcoming fight, which was a bit funny.
Now, they say there are always three sides to every story: your side, my side -- and the truth. Well, believe who and what you want in this instance. It will be interesting to see if Spence has any rebuttal. Perhaps if they don't meet inside the ring anytime soon, they can do a Verzus battle by the end of the year.
Kenshiro Teraji (he'll always be Kenneth Shiro, to me) put forth a dominating effort in Japan on Tuesday in stopping Hiroto Kyoguchi in seven rounds to unify the WBC and WBA 108-pound titles...Coverage of Bivol-Ramirez on DAZN begins at 1:30 pm ET/10:30 pm, PT....Showtime has a card later that night featuring David Morrell from the Armory in Minneapolis...The real main event this weekend is Tennessee-Georgia between the hedges....I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org......