It was one of the best fights of 2017. WBO super middleweight world champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez had Jesse “Hollywood” Hart down and nearly out in the second round, only for Hart to come back with a furious late-rounds rally.
Ramirez ultimately prevailed via unanimous decision that September evening in Tucson, Ariz., but Hart, the Philadelphia native with the legendary last name, had rematch on his mind immediately after the decision was rendered.
His wish has finally come true.
Ramirez will make the fifth defense of his world title against Hart, Friday, Dec. 14 at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. Ramirez-Hart 2 and a soon-to-be announced co-feature will stream live and exclusively at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ in the United States— the new multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN. The entire undercard will stream live on ESPN+ beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Zapari Boxing Promotions, tickets to the Ramirez-Hart 2 world championship event will go on sale Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 10 a.m. CST. Priced at $100, $65, $45, and $30, tickets may be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com, at the American Bank Center Box Office, Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST, or charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000.
“This will be a good fight. I feel better prepared than the first time and even more convinced that I will finish him,” Ramirez said. “I’ve always said that I wanted to be the king of the division. I’ve been waiting for unification fights, and I’m still patient. I’m at my best, and against Hart, I want to show why I’m the best.”
“I’m very grateful and humbled for this opportunity,” Hart said. “I just want to go out there and perform to the best of my ability. I have nothing derogatory to say about Gilberto Ramirez. At this point, I just want to go out there and perform.”
Ramirez (38-0, 25 KOs), the first Mexican-born super middleweight champion, will be defending the title he won from Arthur Abraham via shutout decision on April 9, 2016. A hand injury put Ramirez on the shelf until April 22, 2017, but he didn’t miss a beat, dominating Max Bursak en route to a unanimous decision victory. In his most recent outing, June 30 in Oklahoma City, Ramirez used his boxing skills to win a unanimous decision against Alexis Angulo. Ramirez, from Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico, is a nine-year pro who is no stranger to Corpus Christi. He headlined a show at the American Bank Center on Feb. 3, knocking out the previously unbeaten Habib Ahmed in the sixth round to retain his title.
Hart (25-1, 21 KOs), the WBO No. 1 contender, is a former amateur standout, winning the 2011 National Golden Gloves and U.S. National championships at 165 pounds. A 2012 U.S. Olympic alternate, Hart turned pro in 2012 and won his first 22 bouts prior to challenging Ramirez. Hart last fought as the ESPN co-feature Aug. 18 in Atlantic City, battering Mike Gavronski en route to a third-round stoppage. After more than a year of calling out Ramirez for a return match, Hart has his shot at redemption. A proud native of Philadelphia, Hart is the son of Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, a feared middleweight contender in the 1970s who never received a world title shot. With Eugene Hart in his corner as head trainer, Jesse Hart will seek to bring a world title home to the City of Brotherly Love.