Photos: Will Hart
By Eric Raskin
For the most part, Arthur Abraham’s only struggles across his 13-year, nearly 50-fight career have come against the elite of the super middleweight division, highly skilled opponents like Andre Ward, Carl Froch, and Andre Dirrell. Does Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez’s name fit in among that crew, and does he warrant the “elite” designation? You could say it’s still too soon to tell, but at least based upon the evidence seen in the co-featured bout on the Pacquiao-Bradley undercard, all indications are that the answer comes through in the affirmative.
The towering 24-year-old Mexican southpaw Ramirez (33-0, 24 KOs) dominated Abraham (44-5, 29 KOs) as thoroughly as anyone has, winning all 12 rounds on all three judges’ scorecards. As he so often does against his best opponents, the 36-year-old German came out in a tight defensive shell and was reluctant to open up, and Zurdo took advantage. He used his young legs to circle to his right and stay out of Abraham’s punching range, pounding to the flanks early and often. And he did enough damage to discourage Abraham from getting brave, wobbling him with a counter right on the button late in round two, hurting him with a right to the body in the fourth, and staggering him on a delay with another right hand in the seventh.
Ramirez never came close to forcing a stoppage, and he was taken the distance for the fourth time in a row, prompting legitimate questions about his punching power. But there isn’t much else to criticize coming out of this step up in class. Three unbeaten prospects faced tests on what was billed by promoter Bob Arum as the “No Trump” undercard, and all three turned it into a “No Chump” undercard by passing those tests. Ramirez had the toughest of the three opponents in front of him, but you’d never know it from the way the young lefty dominated every moment of the proceedings.