Gilberto Ramirez on brink of making history again, this time at 200 pounds

Gilberto Ramirez has fought as light as 158½ pounds. Now he’s talking about moving up to heavyweight soon.

Yes, “Zurdo” is trying to follow in the footsteps of such legends as Bob Fitzsimmons, Floyd Patterson and Roy Jones Jr., relatively small, but talented and determined men who accomplished great things in the highest weight classes.

His next challenge comes Saturday at YouTube Theater in Inglewood, California, where he’ll challenge 200-pound beltholder Arsen Goulamirian in a bid to become the first Mexican cruiserweight champion (DAZN).

“It is an honor to be able to be the main event at YouTube Theater and make a statement and potentially become a legend. This is my motivation,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez (45-1, 30 KOs) had known nothing but success against solid opposition until a year and a half ago. The now-32-year-old southpaw shut out Arthur Abraham to become the first Mexican to win a 168-pound title in 2016 and also twice beat Jesse Hart at that weight.

He moved up to 175 in 2019 and took down a series of capable opponents, including Sullivan Barrera and Yunieski Gonzalez.

Then came disaster. He challenged 175-pound beltholder and pound-for-pounder Dmitry Bivol and was outclassed in November 2022, losing a one-sided sided decision and much of the luster on his resume.

Following that he missed weight by a whopping 7.6 pounds for a 175-pound bout with Gabriel Rosado that was canceled in March of last year, further damaging his reputation.

His next move was obvious: Move up to cruiserweight. And his choice of opponent was clever: Joe Smith Jr., a well-known former 175-pound beltholder who also was moving up in weight. They agreed on a 193-pound catch weight.

The result got Ramirez moving in the right direction once again. An excellent technician, he outboxed the powerful, but limited Smith to win nine out of the 10 rounds on all three cards.

The victory earned him a shot at Goulamirian (27-0, 19 KOs), a Frenchman who has fought once in four-plus years but has ability and has fought at 200 pounds his entire career.

Ramirez told that he’s now a natural 200-pounder.

“I feel great at this new weight class,” he told the outlet. “It’s my natural weight and there is not too much cutting. I walk around at 210, 215 all year round, so making 200 is a breeze compared to 175 or 168.

“After moving up in the weight class, I’ve been working on my strength and boxing. I feel the work that I put will allow me to be strong in pocket and trade any shots with him. My overall strength and skill set will be the difference.”

Ramirez’s goal is to do what he couldn’t do at 175, win a major title, and then go on to even bigger and better things.

“The only thing I know is that he has what I want (the WBA cruiserweight title) and I’m going to take it,” he said. “I’m here to stay and conquer the division before moving up to the heavyweight division.

“I know there isn’t too many fighters my size from my country, so I have to represent well. Viva Mexico!”

Story originally appeared on Boxing Junkie