Back in March, Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez came in overweight for the first time during his long career for his scheduled fight with Gabe Rosado, which resulted in the bout being canceled, as well as the former world super middleweight champion’s reputation taking a tough hit.
Ramirez (44-1, 30 KOs) plans to prove himself against Joe Smith, Jr. (28-4, 22 KOs), the former light heavyweight world champion, this Saturday night in the 12-round main event on from The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.
“The cancellation of the Rosado fight was definitely a disappointing and challenging moment in my career,” Ramirez admitted. “It was the first time I missed weight and I take full responsibility for it. I understand that it had an impact on both the fight itself and my reputation. I want to sincerely apologize to my fans, my team, and everyone who was looking forward to the fight.
“I’m aware that setbacks like this can have an impact but I believe that how I respond to adversity is what truly matters. I’m determined to show through my actions and performances that I’m dedicated to my career and to rectify my past mistakes. I’m focusing on the present and future, and I’m looking forward to proving myself in upcoming fights and regaining the trust of those who support me.”
Ramirez and Smith will both be moving up to the cruiserweight division for the first time, although their fight will be contested at 190-pounds. In some respects, Zurdo vs. Smith is an elite crossroads fight in terms of the winner becoming a legitimate world cruiserweight contender, the loser more of a name “opponent”.
Ramirez completely understands that saying he’s learned from the aforementioned Rosado fight cancellation simply isn’t enough going into the fight with Smith.
“I take full responsibility for not making weight and for any disappointment it caused,” he said. “Moving forward, I’m making several changes to ensure that such a situation doesn’t happen again, Moreover, the experience has motivated me to redouble my efforts in every aspect of my training camp. From my conditioning and skill development to my mental preparedness, I’m leaving no stone unturned, I’m determined to prove that I’ve learned from my mistakes and that I’m fully committed to my career and the expectations that come with it.
“Ultimately, I understand that actions speak louder than words, and I’m dedicated to showing through my performance that I’ve taken the necessary steps to rectify the situation and come back stronger and more focused than ever.”
Interestingly enough, Ramirez and Smith have fought four common opponents. Both lost 12-round decisions to WBA light heavyweight champion Sergey Bivol, both took decisions from Maxim Vlasov and Jesse Hart (Ramirez did so twice). The only difference was in Ramirez’ favor because he knocked out Sullivan Barrera and Smith lost a decision to Sullivan.
Does this common opponent comparison give Ramirez an advantage going into the Smith fight?
“No,” he quickly answered. Every fight is different, and I don’t ever compare any fight in that manner. Joe is a world champion who I know on fight night will come with everything he has to become victorious.”