Making his return to the ring for the second time in 2017, Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (36-0, 24 KOs), took on No. 1 contender and Philly tough guy, Jesse “Hard Work” Hart (22-1, 18 KOs) in the co-main event on ESPN.
The bout garnered the attention of many boxing heads who felt that Hart could very possibly propose a serious threat to the undefeated Mexican.
In the opening round, Hart established a steady jab and used good movement around the ring to keep Ramirez at bay. Soon after this is when Hart took a shot from Ramirez he didn’t see coming. Midway into the second round, Ramirez pressed Hart against the ropes and let his hands fly.
During this exchange, Hart leaned forward in an attempt to slip some of the blows, but was unexpectedly caught by a sharp left uppercut that rocked him to the canvas. At this point Hart found himself in survival mode for the remainder of the round.
Barely making it out of the round, Hart returned in the following round but was still on wobbly legs. Ironically, a low blow landed by Ramirez would give Hart the extra break he needed to recover and get some sensation back in his legs to stride on.
In the middle rounds, things began to look gloomy for the Philly man. Ramirez found plenty of success finding homes for his power punches, so much so, that the fourth round could’ve easily been scored a 10-8 round despite no knockdowns.
It wasn’t until the later rounds that Hart found some success and stole a couple of rounds in his favor. Heading into the championship rounds, Hart staggered Ramirez with a quick combo in the 11th but didn’t capitalize on the moment and Zurdo cruised by in the remaining rounds.
Credit has to be given to Hart for showing tremendous heart (pun intended) especially in times of serious danger. Final judges scorecards read 115-112, 115-112 and 114-113, respectively.
“My focus was to push, push, and push all night,” said Ramirez after the fight. “He was a tough guy but I enjoy those kind of fights. I love to fight fighters like that.”
Hart came into the bout hoping to accomplish what his father, Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, could never do and that’s win a world title. “I didn’t think I did good enough,” said a disappointed Hart. “The knockdown was my downfall. I take nothing away from Ramirez, but 114-113 is just a knockdown.”
Both fighters put on a very crowd-friendly performance for the fans in Tucson and the thousands watching on ESPN.
Ramirez may start to look forward at unifying his title with someone like WBC champion David Benavidez.