Exclusive: ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez talks Abraham clash, expects war

Mexican contender Gilberto Ramirez Sanchez is fast approaching his defining night as the southpaw prepares to challenge WBO super-middleweight champion Arthur Abraham on April 9.

At just 24 years old, Ramirez can already boast a 33-0, 24 KO’s record and a 2012 Prospect of the Year accolade from WBN. The young contender now moves on to a co-feature slot on the massive Manny Pacquiao v Timothy Bradley trilogy bout.

Having signed with Top Rank in 2013 and boosted his profile significantly in the process, Ramirez has had to fight his way to a mandatory position for a world title shot due to his fast-growing reputation in the sport.

‘Zurdo’ goes into the Abraham fight as slight favourite to defeat the German warhorse, despite the champion being undefeated in eight straight bouts and only losing to former world rulers Andre Dirrell, Andre Ward, Carl Froch and Robert Stieglitz in a distinguished career. Those odds are testament to the skills and guile Ramirez has displayed thus far since turning pro at just 18, although the challenger is under no illusion of the task that faces him at the MGM Grand next month.

“It’s a big satisfaction for me to fight for the WBO title and it’s an honour to fight with a great champion. I’m very motivated as this is a dream coming true to fight with a world class champion like Arthur Abraham,” Ramirez exclusively told World Boxing News.

“Everybody has a destiny and this is the moment of my career. I truly believe I can make it happen. It’s a big HBO PPV card where a legend (Manny Pacquiao) is going to be in the main event. It will help me a lot in my profile as lots of people will be there. All the media, TV all over the world will travel for this fight and I’m very motivated for that.”

The fight was initially announced to be taking place in Abraham’s home country until last minute negotiations saw promoters Sauerland, who won the purse bid, agree to stage the fight on the Pacquiao bill.

A German venue may well have seen the odds swung in favour of Abraham should that have been the case, although Ramirez was undaunted by a trip to Europe and would have been fully ready to do so – if needed.

“I’m very happy to fight in Vegas, but I was ready mentally to travel to Germany,” he explained. “I thought the fight will be in Germany at his backyard, but at the end of the day, only we will be in the ring once the bell rings.

“It’s great that my promoter Bob Arum made the fight happen here in America as over here there are lots of Mexican fans who I am sure will be cheering me on.”

Asked what kind of fight he’s expecting on April 9 and what victory over Abraham could lead to in the future, Ramirez stated: “I’m expecting a war! – A very busy fight all night long. I’m preparing for a war like the old fighters from the older times that used to fight 15 rounds at the same rhythm from the first round until the end.

“I plan on hurting Arthur Abraham every round and throwing lots of punches. I have to begin really sharp and will make it the smartest fight of my career. I have my strategy and everybody will see it on April 9th.

“Right now, my present is only Arthur Abraham and the future doesn’t exist for the moment. My mind is only on my world title as I would like to be the first Mexican world champion in this division and make history. That’s all I care about.

“I would dedicate this fight to all my fans, and all in my country, my nation and my people,” he added.