From my perspective, the biggest revelation to emerge from the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley pay-per-view last weekend was the continued development of 24-year-old Gilberto Ramirez. By winning a one-sided decision over the rugged, veteran champion Arthur Abraham, Ramirez captured the WBO belt at 168 pounds, making him the first ever Mexican champion in that division.
It’s not exactly a shock that Ramirez won that fight. He was the betting favorite going in, although I was personally on record picking Abraham. What was a surprise was the relatively easy time he had defeating a fighter who has very rarely be an easy night’s work for anyone.
Gilberto Ramirez did an outstanding job of exploiting his advantages in length to keep the fight largely on the outside. He was rugged and durable and showed solid whiskers when Abraham did manage to force himself into range to unload his own heavy shots. And when the fight did move into close range, Ramirez outscored the champ with his own stinging combinations, before moving back at an angle to re-establish a more preferable range. In the end, all three scorecards read 120-108, a perfect shutout.
It was the kind of victory that marks a young fighter as a potential star. The fight-mad Mexican fanbase is always looking for new ring warriors to get behind and Ramirez has the opportunity to become one of their favorites.
Since Gilberto Ramirez fights for Top Rank, it might be tough to make a fight between him and WBC champion Badou Jack, who is with Mayweather Promotions. IBF champion James DeGale has his own popular fanbase in England. Still, one would hope that some unification bouts could be made between the super middleweight division’s three young belt holder.
But there could be much bigger opportunities for stardom in front of Ramirez. At some point in the future, a showdown between Ramirez and middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin could materialize. If Ramirez can keep winning until GGG is ready to move up, that fight could be a mega event.