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Avila Perspective, Chap. 205: Zurdo Ramirez and More SoCal Fight Talk

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  • Avila Perspective, Chap. 205: Zurdo Ramirez and More SoCal Fight Talk

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    By David A. Avila

    Southern California gyms are heating up even more than usual with major prize fights on the horizon in October.

    Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez greeted media in downtown Los Angeles recently to chat about his upcoming light heavyweight world championship challenge against WBA titlist Dmitry Bivol in Dubai.

    Usually, downtown L.A. is busy with walking and driving traffic, but things are not completely back to normal says the security officer at the Golden Boy Promotions headquarters. The pandemic is still in effect to a small degree.

    Mexico’s Ramirez (44-0, 30 KOs) signed to meet Russia’s Bivol (20-0,11 KOs) on Nov. 5, at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. It’s a battle of undefeated light heavyweights and round two of Mexico versus Russia.

    It was a mere five months ago that Bivol hung a loss over Mexico’s number one fighter Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Now he meets Ramirez who is several inches taller than Canelo.

    Ramirez (pictured with Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez) trains in Los Angeles and signed with Golden Boy primarily for one reason: he wanted a crack at stardom and to fight a world champion with clout. Enter Bivol who slapped Alvarez around for 12 rounds. Neither fighter was ever in danger of going down. Bivol won by unanimous decision.

    Many say Bivol was too big for Alvarez, but I think Canelo simply has slipped a little in terms of preparing properly. I call it the “silk pajama syndrome.”

    It’s hard to get up at 5 a.m. and train when you sleep in silk pajamas. Ever since Alvarez began hanging out with the yacht club guys and playing golf on a regular basis, he’s lost that hunger. If you’re a prizefighter, hunger is everything.

    Canelo admits he plays golf almost every day including during his training periods. He’s also been seen attending Del Mar Racetrack to watch the ponies. Upper crust kind of stuff.

    Ramirez, on the other hand, though he doesn’t appear like the usual Mexican roughneck, has a certain schoolboy kind of look. No one would ever guess he comes from a rough Sinaloa upbringing.

    Even his manner of talk has a gentle charm.

    ‘I feel happy and excited to fight for the title with Dmitry Bivol,” said Ramirez inside the Golden Boy headquarters. “I’m ready to show in this fight what I can really do. I’m ready for whatever he brings to the ring.”

    Both Bivol and Ramirez have sparred before.

    “We didn’t do a lot of sparring,” said Ramirez, adding that it was enough to surmise what to expect when they meet in November.

    Another who sparred Ramirez is former two-time super middleweight titlist David Benavidez. Both sparred recently and when asked who was better, Ramirez leaned toward Benavidez.

    Interesting.

    Zurdo and Benavidez also want a crack at Canelo the Golden Fleece of boxing. But the red head from Guadalajara has balked.

    Though Benavidez and Ramirez are very good and capable of giving Canelo a struggle, neither has made a mark on sales. It’s one thing to be undefeated; it’s an entirely different thing to attract fans on television or sell tickets.

    If Ramirez beats Bivol he is on the right path. If Benavidez, a very strong fighter, can attract a big name to enter the prize ring with him, then he too can entice Canelo to a showdown.

    Jojo and Zepeda in San Diego

    Another who appeared in Golden Boy headquarters were lightweight contenders Jojo Diaz and William Zepeda set to clash at the end of October in San Diego.

    Diaz, a former American Olympian and two division world champion, last fought in December 2021 against Devin Haney before Haney became undisputed lightweight world champion. Diaz did far better than George Kambosos did against Haney.

    The former featherweight and super featherweight world titlist showed moving up in weight was not a problem. And though he lost to Haney, he competed at a high level and landed solidly far more often than the Aussie did.

    “When I looked at the tape I saw I could have done more,” said Diaz (32-2-1, 15 KOs) about his loss to Haney.

    Now, the South El Monte fighter has a Mexican fighter streaking toward the top in Zepeda.

    Mexico City’s Zepeda (26-0, 23 KOs) burst on the American scene two years ago during the height of the pandemic and soundly defeated two ranked American fighters in Roberto Ramirez and Hector Tanajara. Add two more knockout wins since then and the hard-hitting southpaw has blazed a path to the top.

    Now its lefty versus lefty at the Pechanga Arena in San Diego on Saturday Oct. 29. Tickets are now on sale.

    “I’m facing a very talented young fighter,” said Zepeda, 26. “It can be a good victory to beat a former world champion.”

    Diaz, 29, expects and desires only hard fights.

    “This fight represents everything. I’m coming off a defeat to Devin Haney,” said Diaz. “I’ve got a big set of balls and love to fight the best.”

    It’s a Golden Boy Promotion card and will also feature the return of welterweight contender Alexis Rocha.

    Commerce Casino

    Six undefeated prospects are set to perform on Saturday Oct. 1, at Commerce Casino in the City of Commerce, California. The boxing card is staged by Elite Promotions and Red Boxing and partnering with nonprofit Breast Cancer Angles from Los Alamitos, Calif. to support their cause.

    Situated near East Los Angeles, the casino has recently become a popular location for local club shows. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

    Expected to perform on the fight card are Brandon Mendoza, Cristopher Rios, and William King. For more information contact: redboxinginternational@gmail.com.

    Premier Boxing Champions

    Super welterweight contenders Sebastian Fundora (19-0-1, 13 KOs) and Mexico’s Carlos Ocampo (34-1, 22 KOs) meet on Saturday, Oct. 8, at Dignity Sports Park Complex in Carson, Calif. Showtime will televise the interim WBC super welterweight title fight.

    Known as the “Towering Inferno” because of his 6’5” height, Fundora lives and trains in Southern California and defeated world title challenger Erikson Lubin by technical knockout last April in Las Vegas. He’s trained by Ben Lira.

    Tickets are on sale for the card that also features Dominican fighter Carlos Adames who upset Sergiy Derevyanchenko last December by majority decision. Adames meets Mexico’s Juan Macias Montiel who battled Jermall Charlo 12 rounds and lost by decision for the WBC middleweight title.

    SoCal note

    Riverside’s veteran trainer Willy Silva contacted us to mention his nephew Sebastian Estrada (4-0, 4 KOs) faces undefeated Fidel Samano Lopez (5-0, 4 KOs) in a battle of undefeated super lightweights on Saturday in San Luis Rio, Mexico. It’s the main event.

    Silva has trained many former top contenders such as Mauricio Herrera, Carlos Bojorquez, and Jose Reynoso the nephew of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s first trainer Jose “Chepo” Reynoso.

    Photo credit: Al Applerose
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