Gilberto Ramirez makes strong statement with KO of Sullivan Barrera

·2 min read

“Zurdo” is back.

Gilberto Ramirez, a former 168-pound titleholder who hadn’t been in a big fight since 2018, knocked out veteran Sullivan Barrera in four rounds to announce in dramatic fashion Friday at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles that he is a force to be reckoned with at 175.

The fight was competitive the first few rounds but Ramirez (42-0, 28 KOs) took firm control in Round 3, when a left hook to the body forced Barrera (22-4, 14 KOs) to his hands and knees with about 30 seconds remaining on the timer.

The 39-year-old got up and survived the round but that misfortune was the beginning of the end for him.

Ramirez put Barrera on the canvas again with the same punch about a minute into Round 4, although he went down after a delayed reaction. Then, moments later, Barrera fell once more as a result of several punches and was clearly finished.

Referee Thomas Taylor ended the fight without counting. The official time was 1:38 of Round 4.

“I was training all the time for that shot,” said Ramirez, referring to the left to the body. “I think it was beautiful.”

Barrera is past his prime and now 1-3 in his last four fights, which means we can’t read too much into Ramirez’s victory. At the same time, he needed to win convincingly in his third fight at 175 to show the other top light heavyweights that he belongs among them.

Mission accomplished. After his sensational victory on Friday, he will now be seen as a more attractive opponent.

Ramirez is ranked No. 3 by the WBO, whose champion is Joe Smith, and No. 5 by the IBF, with Artur Beterbiev as titleholder. However, he is targeting WBA champ Dmitry Bivol.

The Mexican was asked after he had his hand raised whether he believes he’s ready for an opponent as respected as Bivol, who also is unbeaten and has fought his entire career at light heavyweight.

Ramirez’s response was an indication of his confidence: “You have to ask him if he’s ready for me.”

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