Gilberto Ramirez: It’s All About Legacy & Being The Winner After Every Battle
This NYF exclusive checks in with light heavyweight contender Gilberto ‘Zurdo' Ramirez as he takes on WBA champion Dmitry Bivol this Saturday live on DAZN.
Boxing fans are difunctionally obsessed with whether Spence vs. Crawford will come to fruition that they are knowingly or unknowingly blowing off a world title fight between two of the greatest light heavyweights in the world. It's ludicrous that boxing fans always ask for mega-fights but are oblivious to the ones taking place. A super showdown for the WBA light heavyweight title is taking place just days away, and no one seems to be talking about it.
Well, the team at NYFights has got you covered. On November 5th from the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (44-0, 30 KOs) will be challenging Dmitry Bivol for his WBA light heavyweight title (20-0 KOs).
In an exclusive interview with NYFights, I sat with Gilberto Ramirez ahead of his quest to become a two-division champion. Ramirez talked about his preparation for this fight and fighting so far away from home. The Mexican native is adamant that he will beat the Russian champion despite Bivol's success against boxing's heralded champion and fellow countryman, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Additionally, “Zurdo” also shares his thoughts about Canelo's unwillingness to fight another Mexican boxer and the possibility of a future fight with the super middleweight monster, David Benavidez.
Please enjoy this Q& A with the undefeated light heavyweight contender Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez.
NYF: On behalf of NYFights, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us. First, how are you doing?
GR: I feel good. I am happy and excited about this fight. It's going to be in Abu Dhabi, so I'm excited about that. I would've preferred it to be in Los Angeles or Las Vegas so all my fans could watch the fight but wherever it takes place, it's okay.
NYF: What challenges are there to fighting so far away from your home and your fans, if any?
GR: There are no challenges that present themselves fighting so far away from home. It's the same because, inside the ring, it's only him and me. Although I've only been to the Middle East for the press conference, it's a beautiful place, and the people were friendly and hospitable; I like it there a lot.
NYF: How has the training camp been going? Have you done anything different in this training camp than in others?
GR: I'm training hard, as I always have. Staying active-nothing has changed. I'm focused on winning, being victorious once again, winning this title, and, more importantly, remaining undefeated.
NYF: Do you consider this fight the biggest fight of your career?
GR: Yes. But all my fights are essential. However, this fight presents a challenge for me to remain undefeated. But I have confidence in my abilities.
NYF: You and Bivol aren't strangers. You have shared the ring as sparring partners. How do you think Bivol has changed as a fighter since you last saw each other?
GR: Both of us have grown as boxers. We both have had good fights and gained a lot of experience. This fight is dedicated to all my fans, especially Latin boxing fans. Because I'm going to win this title, and I'm dedicating this victory to Mexico.
NYF: You've been asking for this fight. There are many good fighters in this division. Why specifically call out Dmitry Bivol?
GR: Because he's the champion-he challenged me- he called me out on social media; this is good. It's good when two big named fighters agree to fight, and the people want to see this kind of fight. SIGN UP WITH DRAFTKINGS >>
NYF: In an interview with Marco Villegas back in May, you stated that you would easily beat Bivol. Do you still feel that way?
GR: Yes, I know I'm going to win. It's going to be a good fight. The fans will be the winners because the two warriors will give each other the best. So the fans are going to be satisfied with this fight.
NYF: What weaknesses do you see in Bivol that gives you so much confidence?
GR: He is an excellent fighter with many skills; he moves well but I believe in my skills. I believe in myself and what I'm capable of doing. Above all, I believe in my potential, But I know I have potential, and I will show the world. I will be an example for young kids to believe in their dreams and that they can achieve them.
NYF: Is there a specific weakness you plan to exploit during the fight?
GR: My height and boxing abilities will be a challenge for him. The weakness of Dmitry Bivol is that he will be fighting against me.
NYF: How does winning this fight change your life? What doors will it open for you in terms of your career?
GR: I will win this fight, and it will open a lot of doors. I'll be a two-time champ and finally receive the credit I deserve.
NYF: We can't talk about the 175 lbs. division without talking about Canelo Alvarez. A fight against Canelo Alvarez will generate a big payday for any opponent. However, Alvarez has gone on record saying he doesn't want to fight fellow Mexican fighters. So, is Canelo not fighting Mexican boxers like yourself likely robbing you of an opportunity for a big-money fight?
GR: That fight can be made. Because the fans want to see the best fighters fight each other-especially two Mexican warriors, just like Barrera vs. Morales and Chavez vs. De La Hoya. The fans want to see it. But first, I have to beat Bivol and then see what the near future holds.
NYF: I understand, but what do you make about his comments? Do you think he doesn't want to fight a fellow compatriot, as he claims? Or do you think he doesn't want to fight Mexican boxers with a high level of boxing skills like yourself, and perhaps he'd rather fight guys like Caleb Plant or a 40-year-old GGG?
GR: I have no idea. I don't know why he wouldn't want to fight Mexican boxers. But I am willing to fight with the best fighters in the world. It doesn't matter if he is a fellow Mexican boxer. It's all about legacy and being the winner after every battle.
NYF: If a fight against Canelo presents itself, I doubt he will be willing to come up to 175lbs to fight you, given what happened when he faced Bivol. Will you be willing to come down to 168 lbs.?
GR: No, of course not. For me, 175lbs. is my ideal weight, and I feel good at this weight. So cutting weight to make 168 is over for me.
NYF: Speaking of legacy. Do you believe you need that fight to cement your legacy? A fight against another elite Mexican boxer like Barrera, Morales, and Chavez did. A warrior like yourself against a top Latino fighter like Benavidez is a fight likely essential to cement your legacy and needs to happen?
GR: Great fights are important when speaking of one's legacy. Above all, to have credibility with the fans. But for me, it doesn't matter if I fight a Chinese or a Mexican boxer-it doesn't matter, I will fight them.
NYF: I know you believe you will be victorious on November 5th vs. Bivol. What's next for Zurdo Ramirez? Who do you want to fight next, Beterbiev or maybe Benavidez, if he moves up?
GR: I want to unify titles at 175 lbs. I want to fight Artur Beterbiev. That fight interests me very much. The Benavidez fight can happen. We have worked out together and shared the ring; he said he is willing to make that fight. That would be a good fight for my legacy. I want to make the best fights because the fans deserve them.
NYF: Champ, thank you for dedicating a little bit of your time to NYFights. We wish you the best in your upcoming fight. You have the last word for the fans.
GR: I want to thank all the fans. Do not miss this fight on November 5th in Abu Dhabi. You have a Mexican idol and, above all, a Latino idol.
Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez isn't content with being just a champion. Legacy was the word that Ramirez kept revisiting throughout our interview. Like all the great Mexican champions before him, “Zurdo” knows that to etch his name among those iconic warriors, he must fight the best fighters of his generation. The Mexican warrior knows that the highway to boxing immortality is constructed with roadblocks with no rest stops along the way. The first roadblock that Ramirez must breach is Dmitry Bivol, a skilled Russian champion who has successfully defended his title eight times.
Additionally, Bivol is riding a high wave of confidence after beating Canelo Alvarez, a fight many believed he would lose. However, Ramirez is not Alvarez and poses a real threat to Dmitry's championship reign. When fighters fight for more than just a payday and strive for their place in history, that's usually when the best fights happen. For Ramirez, Bivol is the first roadblock he must trample over on his voyage toward boxing greatness. While Spence and Crawford talk about legacy, Bivol and Ramirez are chasing it. On November 5th, one warrior will be fighting to establish his legacy, and the other will seek to preserve his.