Zurdo, Alto y Peligroso

By Marc Livitz on February 4, 2018
Zurdo, Alto y Peligroso
Ramirez continues to blaze a unique path through the sport. (Mikey Williams/Top Rank)

Zurdo, Alto y Peligroso, as in left-handed, tall and dangerous. Just how dangerous? We’ll have to wait and see…

Earn your stripes, do your time and wait your turn. We’ve all heard such bits of advice throughout our lives. Some of us are content to indeed wait, yet we’re also familiar with the saying “fortune favors the bold.” Of course, the individual who was so bold enough to follow such a motto came to be the conqueror of the land we now know as Mexico and the very reason its inhabitants speak Spanish. History lessons aside, as we’re witnessing a different type of history these days in the ring. In particular, current WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez of Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico, continues to blaze a unique path through the sport and he’s done so while gaining crossover appeal.

The crazed boxing nation of Mexico has such a proud history and has given us such names as Chavez, Marquez, Barrera, Morales, Olivares, Sanchez and Lopez. Let’s not forget the likes of Saldivar and Zaragoza. Still, what do all of these warriors have in common besides their nation of origin? None of them stood over five feet, eight inches in height or went past the traditionally smaller weight classes. Granted, you fight where you are most comfortable and where you may find the greatest amount of success.

Gilberto Ramirez (37-0, 25 KO’s) stands at nearly 6’3”, which is quite tall for any division in boxing save for the heavyweights. On Saturday evening in the coastal city of Corpus Christi, Texas, “Zurdo” highlighted an ESPN televised card and scored his first knockout victory in just over three years with a sixth round stoppage of previously unbeaten Habib Ahmed (25-1-1, 17 KO’s) of Ghana. Granted, Ahmed’s appearance at the American Bank Center on Saturday was his first contest outside of the West African nation from which he hails. Had Ahmed scored the improbable upset, it may well have been one of Ghana’s best sporting moments since its soccer team eliminated the United States on penalty kicks in the 2010 World Cup.

While many of us absolutely detest the idea of ‘what if’s’ in boxing, can we at least ponder how Ramirez would have fared eight to nine years ago in what was known as the “Super Six World Boxing Classic”? The tournament, which was fought amongst the world’s top super middleweights and magnificently presented on the Showtime cable network was eventually won by the recently retired Andre Ward. To date, “Zurdo” has fought but one of its participants, Arthur Abraham two years ago in Las Vegas. With the twelve-round, walkover unanimous decision win, Gilberto became the first Mexican fighter to win a major world title at 168 pounds.

Since we’re not going to see Ramirez square off against Ward, Carl Froch, Mikkel Kessler or Jermain Taylor, then we’ll have to settle for the best available talent in the 168-pound ranks. A few hours after Ramirez’s TKO win over Ahmed, Top Rank Promotions Founder and CEO Bob Arum tweeted the following across social media. Let’s recall that Twitter doesn’t give awards for writing and that the devil is often in the grammar.

“There is no Super Middleweight in the world that can stand up to Zurdo Ramirez he will fight any Super Middleweight winner take all!” it read.

Game on! Ramirez indicated that he’s more than willing to hop the pond over to the United Kingdom to face the likes of George Groves or Chris Eubank, Jr. There are also challenges awaiting seven pounds upward should he make the jump to light heavyweight. Since Adonis Stevenson won’t fight Sergey Kovalev, then maybe he can fight both of them. We’ll stop ourselves, however, and admit that’s a bit of a stretch.
We still very much have yet to see the absolute best of “Zurdo” when push indeed comes to shove. He fought hard to get past Jesse Hart last September en route to a unanimous decision win. We may have to wait a bit longer to see him really up against it.

In the meantime, the fact that he has a significant grasp on speaking English could help him in the long run. It’s the least he can do since he’s not a redheaded anomaly whose best attempts have only resulted in t-shirt slogans but to be fair, that’s his choice. Zurdo, Alto y Peligroso, as in left-handed, tall and dangerous. Just how dangerous? We’ll have to wait and see.

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