By Scott Christ
Gilberto Ramirez and Jerwin Ancajas defend their belts on ESPN this Saturday.
Record: 36-0 (24 KO) … Streak: W36 … Last 5: 5-0 … Last 10: 10-0 … Stance: Southpaw … Height/Reach: 6’2½” / 75” … Age: 26
Thoughts: Zurdo Ramirez has emerged as arguably the top super middleweight in the world, though no matter what happens in this fight, the winner of the World Boxing Super Series 168-pound tournament will have their own argument.
Ramirez doesn’t have a particularly special skill set. He’s not notably fast, not a defensive wizard, not a huge puncher. But he’s solid all around and tall, and unlike many who give up their height, he often uses that to his advantage. Not always, mind you — Ramirez can still be drawn into a closer quarters fight — but he knows how to use his height and reach, and can do so effectively.
In his last outing, Ramirez got a strong test from a resilient, hard-headed Jesse Hart in September 2017. It was a closer fight than some expected, but Hart proved he’s a legitimate contender at super middleweight more than “exposing” Ramirez as being less than believed, or at least that’s how I took the fight.
Also, Ramirez has simply never been overwhelmingly impressive. He hasn’t knocked anyone out in his last six fights, which coincides with a step up in competition in 2015. But he did go four fights — against Derek Edwards, Gevorg Khatchikian, Arthur Abraham, and Max Bursak — without losing a round.
Ramirez is the clear favorite in this fight, but he’s also facing a bit of an unknown.
Record: 25-0-1 (17 KO) … Streak: W3 … Last 5: 4-0-1 … Last 10: 9-0-1 … Stance: Orthodox … Height/Reach: 5’8” / N/A … Age: N/A
Thoughts: I’ve never seen Habib Ahmed fight. There’s no footage. He’s spent his entire career at home in Ghana, a country noted for producing tough fighters who can really go. If he lives up to tradition, it could be a tougher outing for Ramirez than expected.
Again, I say this plenty, and it doesn’t always mean much, but I stand by it: just because someone hasn’t fought at a high level doesn’t mean they can’t. We find out on Saturday.
Matchup Grade: No grade. Having never seen Ahmed fight, I can’t grade this. It’s going to wind up that Ahmed can fight at this level, or he can’t. But I think it’s worth tuning in to see, too.
- Jerwin Ancajas vs Israel Gonzalez: The super flyweight division is one of the very best in boxing — I’d argue better and more interesting than the more star-heavy welterweights — and now it comes to ESPN, with new Top Rank signee Jerwin Ancajas (28-1-1, 19 KO) defending his IBF title against Israel Gonzalez (21-1, 8 KO). Ancajas is coming off of an absolutely dominant TKO-6 win over Jamie Conlan in November, and before that wiped out Teiru Kinoshita on the Pacquiao-Horn undercard. Gonzalez has never fought on this level. On paper, it’s a showcase for Ancajas, but hopefully we get some excitement out of it, and Ancajas is not a boring fighter.
Source:: Bad Left Hook