Should super middleweight world titleholder Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez retain his title on Saturday night, he can expect to be awfully busy this year with possibly three more bouts, Top Rank chairman Bob Arum told ESPN.
Ramirez will make the third defense of his 168-pound world title when he faces Habib “Wild Hurricane” Ahmed in the main event of the Top Rank ESPN card (ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 10:15 p.m. ET) at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.
If Ramirez beats Ahmed (25-0-1, 17 KOs), 27, of Ghana — and Ramirez is the heavy favorite — Arum said he will be back in action in May.
Rohan Murdock (21-1, 15 KOs), 25, of Australia, is also fighting on Saturday’s card in an eight-rounder against Frankie Filippone (24-6-1, 8 KOs), and Arum said if he wins, Murdock would also fight on the May undercard ahead of a possible fight with Ramirez.
“We brought over this Australian kid, Murdock, and hopefully he looks good,” Arum said. “I saw him fight in December when I was in Australia [for the Jeff Horn-Gary Corcoran welterweight title fight]. If Murdock wins Saturday we’ll put him on the May card with Ramirez, and if everything works out, then in September or October we’re going to do another event in Australia. We’re going to do a fight right there on the beach on the Gold Coast, 45 minutes from Brisbane.”
Arum said he has a group that wants to bring the fight to Australia.
“The money is terrific for this Gold Coast venture,” Arum said.
And should Ramirez go on to defeat Murdock, “then maybe we’ll do another fight for Ramirez in December, a bigger fight. Four fights in the year. He can handle it. He’s a young guy and he’s getting better.
“This guy [Ramirez] reminds me of [all-time great middleweight champion Carlos] Monzon. He’s bigger than all the rest of them, he moves very well, he boxes well, and he takes a really good punch. The only knock on him is he doesn’t have big knockout power. He has power to knock guys down, but as he matures that knockout power is going to come.”
For the potential fourth fight of the year for Ramirez, Arum said he is hopeful he might be able to match him with the winner of the World Boxing Super Series, whose semifinals begin on Feb. 17 with world titleholder George Groves defending against British countryman Chris Eubank Jr. and the second semifinal between Callum Smith and Juergen Braehmer taking place on Feb. 24. The final will take place in May or June.
Arum also said that at some point he could see Ramirez (36-0, 24 KOs), a 26-year-old southpaw from Mexico, eventually facing the winner of the May 5 rematch between unified middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez.
There have been previous discussions between Arum and Golovkin promoter Tom Loeffler when Golovkin was looking for a fight and was considering moving up in weight to face Ramirez. “Loeffler and I have talked about that fight in the past,” Arum said. “Ramirez would love nothing better than to fight Canelo or Golovkin. There would be no impediment.”
Arum said just because Ramirez now fights on ESPN as part of Top Rank’s deal with the network and Golovkin and Alvarez are under contract to HBO does not mean they could not make either fight.
“Canelo is one of the few name fighters that HBO has and I’m sure (Golden Boy Promotions CEO) Oscar (De La Hoya) would be reluctant to move Canelo off HBO. It’s been a good platform for him,” Arum said. “We would have no problem signing a provision of services contract and allowing Ramirez to fight Canelo on a Golden Boy card on HBO.”
Arum said he would do the same thing with Loeffler in order to get a fight for Ramirez against GGG. Ramirez simply wants a major fight, be it Alvarez, Golovkin, the winner of the World Boxing Super Series or a unification fight with David Benavidez, who has a Feb. 17 rematch scheduled against Ronald Gavril on Showtime.
“He’s good,” Ramirez said of Benavidez, who was 20 when he became the youngest 168-pound titleholder in history in September. “We know each other. We’ve done sparring many times. I’d like to make that fight happen. Maybe 168, maybe 175. I want it to happen.
It’s a good fight. Everybody is asking for that fight. I want to be the best pound-for-pound fighter so I will fight with anybody.”