Boxing returned to the Walter Pyramid (the basketball home of the Long Beach State 49ers) on Saturday night but without their originally scheduled main event. The most cynical of fans and pundits would say that the loss of Gilbrerto Ramirez-Gabe Rosado was really like losing the walk-out bout, but we would never stoop to such indignant statements, here.
Depending on what report you believe, 'Zurdo', the tall and statuesque southpaw overshot the weight by either 12 pounds or just 7.6. Either way, Ramirez, who was coming off a loss to Dmitry Bivol, missed weight...by a whole weight class. More on Ramirez later.
Meanwhile, the junior welterweight contest between veterans Joseph Diaz and Mercito Gesta was placed as the new main event. The increasingly troubled Diaz had the good graces to only miss the contracted weight by three pounds.
This turned out to be a decent 10 round contest. For much of the night, it saw Gesta hitting on the fly, landing quick combinations, while Diaz was constantly in methodical pursuit. There was steady action throughout and the fight really heated up in the third frame as both men let their hands go liberally.
FIGHT HIGHLIGHTS | JoJo Diaz vs. Mercito Gesta
But it was the more consistent Gesta who won via split decision (99-91, 98-92 and 93-97), and for the Filipino who was the survivor in this Golden Boy 'loser leaves town' match-up, an opportunity to parlay this into at least another solid payday.
“I feel great about the outcome,” said Mercito Gesta. “We had our game plan and I listened to my corner. It was a close fight. With Coach Marvin Somodio, I have learned that I can move around a lot more and I am excited to have another full training camp with him. If I were to choose my next opponent, I want William “El Camarón” Zepeda next.”
Gesta was blessed and cursed to be compared early on in his career to Manny Pacquiao. Basically, if you were a left-handed boxer with Filipino heritage, it was inevitable. The comparisons are really unfair and unrealistic for any fighter. The likes of 'the Pac Man' are rare. But to his credit, Gesta has crafted a solid, productive career. It's nice to see one of the games good guys make a few bucks.
As for Ramirez, well, it's not clear what his future holds for him. This scheduled match versus the faded Rosado was thought to be a springboard to bigger and better things. But it's clear that after his November loss to Bivol in Abu Dhabi he did a lot of things -- none of which centered around boxing or fitness.
Regardless of the reasons (or excuses) that he has for missing weight, the reality is that Ramirez will now have to face the ramifications of his lifestyle. Bernard Hopkins he ain't. In talking to the heads at Golden Boy, it doesn't look like they're inclined to release him. Their reasoning is that this was his first transgression at the scales, and he's still a guy who's a former world champion, with a record of 44-1 (30 KOs).
The question is he's willing and able to make the 175-pound weight limit, or does he make the biggest weight jump there is in boxing to the cruiserweight class (which tops off at 200 pounds)? There are still some high profile bouts to be had at light heavyweight, but Oscar De Hoya did broach the idea of him fighting for one of the cruiserweight belts against a recognizable name, that like Ramirez, began his career at 168
Regardless, this was a lost weekend for him.
As mentioned above, this Golden Boy card was held at the Walter Pyramid on the campus of Long Beach State. I recall going to a boxing event here in the summer of 1996 as I first got started on the boxing beat. I can honestly say, this venue really worked well. And despite Ramirez's shenanigans, a decent crowd showed up this past Saturday night.
This facility has a listed capacity of 4,000, which makes it perfect for events that don't necessarily have a true marquee fight as the headliner. From what I'm told, the rent for this building is a lot less than many others in the Southern California area.
My only criticism is that I noticed that they only had a couple of concession areas open, and the lines for that and beer were about as long as the DMV on Monday mornings, after they had been closed for few weeks, with most of the staff on vacation. Yeah, that's how bad it was.
And it didn't seem like the lines were moving all that quickly, either. With that, I was left with an unused food voucher given to the media. Yeah, that's a crying shame.
A frustrated @mrboxingguru(of Twitter fame) told me afterwards, "There is no reason for me to be sober, right now."
Otherwise, a thumbs up to 'the Pyramid'.
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