Gilberto Ramirez will look to rebound and reset his career on Saturday night with he makes his cruiserweight debut against former light heavyweight titlist Joe Smith Jr.
The bout will headline a Golden Boy Promotions card at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas on DAZN.
It will mark the first time Ramirez (44-1, 30 KOs) will be fighting since suffering a unanimous decision loss to Dmitry Bivol in November and blowing weight on the day of his March weigh-in against Gabriel Rosado, forcing his fight to be canceled altogether.
"I feel great at cruiserweight, this is typically the weight I've walked around my entire life. I feel much stronger in this class and most importantly I feel healthy,” Ramirez said during a recent media workout at the Brickhouse Boxing Club in North Hollywood, California.
"Dealing with the Bivol loss was really tough. It hurt my soul and it hurt my ego as a warrior. Now that I have been able to move past it, I want to come back even stronger and I want to win. I want to feel like I can do it."
The 32-year-old Ramirez, from Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico, is a former super middleweight titleholder who didn’t capture a light heavyweight crown during a six-fight stretch from 2019 to 2022.
The Julian Chua-trained Ramirez beat durable contenders like Yunieski Gonzalez and Sullivan Barrera but was outmatched by Bivol once he stepped up the level of competition.
It remains to be seen if Ramirez’s power will carry up to the cruiserweight class – all five of his wins at 175 pounds were via stoppage.
Smith will also be making his cruiserweight debut.
"I've been watching Joe Smith Jr. for many years now – probably his whole career. He is a great fighter and it's exciting for me to face him because he is a former world champion, he has faced many former champions and great top opponents,” said Ramirez.
"I am excited for me and my team to return on October 7 in Las Vegas. I am most excited for myself because some of the best shows happen in Vegas."
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer, and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, through email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com, or via www.ManoukAkopyan.com.