When Gilberto "Zurdo" Ramirez (44-1, 30 KOs), the former world super middleweight champion, squares off against Joe "The Common Man" Smith Jr. (28-4, 22 KOs) on October 7th, it will mark a remarkable 7 ½-year hiatus for Ramirez from competing in the modern-day epicenter of boxing, Las Vegas.
The marquee bout between Zurdo and Smith will serve as the headline attraction for the Golden Boy Promotions event, available for live streaming on DAZN from The Chelsea within The Cosmopolitan. Both seasoned pugilists will make their debut in the cruiserweight division, albeit fighting at a 190-pound catchweight.
Ramirez last graced the Las Vegas ring on April 9, 2016, a historic occasion when he clinched the super middleweight world title, becoming the first Mexican native to achieve this feat. His victory was a masterclass, as he secured a unanimous decision, sweeping all 12 rounds on the scorecards of all three judges to dethrone the defending World Boxing Organization (WBO) World Champion, Arthur Abraham (44-4), at the MGM Grand. With a pristine 3-0 record (including 1 KO) in Las Vegas, Ramirez brings a significant history to the city, while Smith boasts a 1-0 record in Las Vegas, having previously halted a former WBO Light Heavyweight World Champion.
Expressing his excitement about fighting in Las Vegas, Ramirez remarked, "Competing in Las Vegas is an awe-inspiring experience. It's often hailed as the Mecca of Boxing for a compelling reason. The city boasts a rich history in the sport, having hosted some of the most iconic and legendary boxing matches. The atmosphere, the energy, and the sheer excitement of fighting in such a renowned location are truly unparalleled. Personally, I relish the opportunity to fight in Las Vegas, not just for its historical significance but also for the passionate fan base and the overall boxing culture that the city embodies. The lights, the venues, and the entire ambiance create a unique and electrifying environment that fuels my motivation and determination. While every fight location has its charm, Las Vegas holds a special place for any boxer. It's a place where dreams are realized, and legacies are etched, and I am honored to be a part of this tradition every time I step into the ring there."
Coming off his first professional loss, Ramirez is preparing to face Smith. He faced a 12-round decision loss to World Boxing Association (WBA) Light Heavyweight World Champion Dmitri Bivol (21-0) last November in Abu Dhabi. As he gears up for this bout, Ramirez's training camp at Brickhouse Boxing Club in North Hollywood, California, reflects a new approach.
Ramirez explained, "Whether in victory or defeat, my focus has always been on improvement. While the loss was disheartening, it offered me invaluable insights. Physically, I am pushing myself even harder in training to ensure I am in peak condition. I am continuously refining my techniques and addressing any weaknesses that were exposed in my previous fight. Mentally, the loss has ignited a new level of determination within me. It served as a reminder that setbacks are an integral part of one's journey and that they only make us stronger. In essence, this loss presents a unique opportunity for growth and transformation in this new division. I am learning from my mistakes and adjusting my strategy accordingly. I am eager to showcase the improvements I have made and to demonstrate that setbacks do not define me – they motivate me to rise above and return stronger than ever."