Editor’s note: This article was originally published on Sept. 28.
Nothing will be quite the same for Gilberto Ramirez if he wins on Nov. 5 in the United Arab Emirates (DAZN).
That’s because “Zurdo” will have beaten the man (Dmitry Bivol) who beat the man (Canelo Alvarez), which sometimes is a quick path to new, life-changing recognition in a sport that can be stingy in that department.
It’s the next best thing to defeating Alvarez himself.
“This will be my opportunity to [show] my whole potential,” Ramirez told Boxing Junkie.
Ramirez (44-0, 30 KOs) has already enjoyed success in his 13-year career, having reigned as a world titleholder at 168 pounds for three years and then continuing to win after moving up 175. And the perfect record is striking. How many fighters start their careers with 44 victories?
Still, the upcoming fight against Bivol is an opportunity to approach stardom, which has so far eluded the 31-year-old Mexican.
Of course, he has to win. And that won’t be easy. The Russian entered the ring to face Alvarez in May with a reputation as a fine boxer but stepped out of it with his 175-pound title intact and something akin to reverence, given Alvarez’s reputation.
That’s not lost on Ramirez, who knows what he’s up against. At the same time, he insists that his biggest challenges come from within.
“I’m trying to prove to myself all the time that I can do it,” he said. “The hardest thing is to believe in yourself. That’s why I came into boxing.That’s why I say the toughest challenge my whole career is myself. And I do believe in myself, believe in what I can do.
“I’ve been on the dark side, I’ve been on the good side. And I’m here still standing up.”
What’s next if he wins?
The obvious route would be to pursue a unification showdown with fellow beltholder Artur Beterbiev, although the Russian was injured while training for an October fight against Anthony Yarde and his future is uncertain.
The fight Ramirez wants most would be with his countryman, Alvarez.
Ramirez imagines a packed Estadio Azteca, the stadium in Mexico City that played host to 130,000 fans for a fight between Julio Cesar Chavez, Ramirez’s idol, and Greg Haugen in 1993.
The question is whether Alvarez would be interested. He isn’t eager to face fellow Mexicans.
“Of course, that’s the main goal, to face him,” he said of a potential meeting with Alvarez. “Two great warriors in the ring, two great fighters. People are asking for that. They want to see that fight happen.
“… It has to be something attractive,” he added, referring to any reluctance on Alvarez’s part. “Then he will [fight me] for sure.”
Now imagine if Ramirez is able to pass through that gauntlet – Bivol, Beterbiev and Alvarez — with his record unscathed. That’s no dream for him. That’s a plan.
He was asked what his ultimate goal is in boxing. He responded: “To be a legend.”
Gilberto Ramirez stops Dominic Boesel in fourth round