Top Rank’s Bob Arum made it clear leading into Saturday night’s fight between Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (32-0-0, 24 KOs) and Derek Edwards (27-5-1, 14 KOs) that if Ramirez were to win he would be in line for a world title shot against the winner of Robert Stieglitz vs. Arthur Abraham.
The two German rivals will fight for the fourth time in their careers on July 18 in Germany for Abraham’s WBO Super Middleweight title.
Ramirez held up his end of the bargain on Friday night by completely dominating and flat out battering Edwards in front of a pro-Ramirez crowd at the State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, Texas.
It was Ramirez’s 32nd professional win without a loss and his second straight test of top competition–the first was on January 24, 2015 when he took on Light Heavyweight contender Maxim Vlasov, who came down in weight and gave the Mexican a tough battle in which Ramirez would squeeze out the unanimous-decision victory.
Edwards, who shocked current WBC Super Middleweight champion Badou Jack back in February 2014 with a first-round knockout win, wouldn’t enjoy the same type of outcome against Ramirez, but instead would take the kind of beating that could stay with him throughout the remainder of his career and life.
Leading into the fight the keys would be Ramirez’s length and boxing ability against the toughness and proven one-punch power of Edwards, who’d been working with trainer Jeff Mayweather to improve his defense. Mayweather’s tutelage did nothing for Edwards, who appeared hittable all night while taking neck-breaking shots from Ramirez.
Ramirez proved in the very first round of the fight that even though he was the taller fighter, he wasn’t afraid to stand in the pocket with Edwards and exchange to the body. He did just that while showcasing the ability to better slip punches defensively.
In Round 2 we saw Ramirez work more from the outside, using his length to pick Edwards apart, frustrating the much shorter and stockier fighter. Even when Edwards was able to land a decent shot of his own, Ramirez would simply step back and regather himself, then throw combinations from a distance to the head and body.
They were shots that must have seemed to be coming from a mile away to Edwards, who was hurt for the first time in Round 4 when both fighters landed at the same time during an exchange. Edwards took the worst of it and barely made it through the last 20 seconds of the round.
Mayweather pleaded with Edwards between rounds,“Let your hands go,” but it was to no prevail. Edwards finished both Rounds 5 and 6 with his back against the ropes, barely surviving enough to prevent referee Rafael Ramos from stopping the fight.
It was then in Round 8 that Ramirez really had Edwards in trouble, pouring on a barrage of punches that had Edwards looking finished. The challenger with the heart of a lion did everything he could to hold on while even the most blood-thirsty boxing fans were screaming at their TV’s for a stoppage.
But Edwards battled on through Rounds 9 and 10, even coming forward offensively in spurts to get to the final bell. It was a one-sided fight and Ramirez was standing on the good side, all three judges scored the fight a clean sweep 100-90 in favor of “Zurdo” Ramirez.
Moving forward for the fast-rising Mexican contender, he’s faced with a very busy Super Middleweight division. While the winner of Stieglitz vs. Abraham is already an option and possibly in play, there are other big fights that could be made.
Andre Ward obviously comes to mind, the 168-pound kingpin made his long-awaited ring return just last weekend with a crushing ninth-round KO victory over outmatched Englishman Paul Smith.
A fight between Ward and Ramirez is not only makeable, but an interesting styles match up since Ramirez’s height advantage along with his boxing skill could give the recently inactive Ward fits.
Another possible matchup for Ramirez is newly crowned IBF Super Middleweight titleholder James DeGale, the 2008 Olympic gold medalist won his first world-title defeating Andre Darrell in Boston, Massachusetts back on May 23, 2015.
Also Ramirez’s name has been brought up talking about possible opponents for Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, who’s constantly in a battle to find quality opponents and is facing the possibility of once against fighting sub-par competition in his next fight.
Even Bob Arum mentioned a potential fight between Golovkin and his guy Ramirez, saying Golovkin would be “No match for Ramirez” and that he’d “Make the fight in two seconds.”
All photos by Mikey Williams/Top Rank