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Crossroads Battle For Zurdo Ramirez – Joe Smith Jr

Crossroads Battle For Zurdo Ramirez - Joe Smith Jr

Boxing News

Crossroads Battle For Zurdo Ramirez – Joe Smith Jr

Crossroads Battle For Zurdo Ramirez – Joe Smith Jr

Coming up Saturday night in Las Vegas, former world champs Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez and Joe Smith Jr. will return to the ring for the first time in 2023 and both realize that it’s an important bout for the remainder of their careers.

The fight will headline the Golden Boy Promotions/DAZN show from the Cosmopolitan Hotel on the Vegas Strip and the fighters met with the media for the final time on Thursday.

When last we saw Ramirez,  44-1, 30 KOs and the former WBO super middleweight champ, he was being nearly shutout in his first pro loss by a 12 round decision by WBA light heavyweight champ Dmitry Bivol in November 2022.

Zurdo was to have returned from the loss to Russian champ back in March against veteran Gabriel Rosado in another DAZN/Golden Boy light heavyweight main event in Long Beach, California, However, Ramirez was embarrassingly nearly eight pounds overweight and did not bother attend the weigh-in in shame.

Further, according to our insider Dan Rafael, Ramirez lost his $400,000 purse and his “weight fiasco” also dramatically altered the Golden Boy card that still went on the next night without it’s headlining fighter. Ramirez subsequently got a six month suspension in California.

As for Smith, the New York native is 28-4, 22 KOs,  had won the vacant WBO light heavyweight title in April 2021 via a close, controversial decision over another Russian, Maxim Vlasov. Smith had one title defense in stopping American Steve Geffrard in January 2022.

However, in June of 2022, Smith was given the best payday of his career and a Top Rank Boxing/ESPN main event at the Madison Square Garden Theater. However, he was wiped out in less than two rounds by the WBC/IBF champion, another Russian Artur Beterbiev.

Hear more on why Dan and I view this as a “true crossroads bout” at cruiserweight for both Zurdo and Smith on our latest “Big Fight Weekend Preview Podcast.” Hear it by clicking play below,

Here’s what the fighters had to say Thursday from the Golden Boy release:

“I want to thank God for this. I am blessed to be here,” Ramirez said. “Thank you Golden Boy, and Joe Smith for taking the fight. The first time I fought in Las Vegas was at the Cosmopolitan and I want to repeat what happened last time and have my hand lifted in the air in victory.”

“I’m glad to be back. I’d like to thank Golden Boy Promotions and Star Boxing for this opportunity,” Smith said. “Looking forward to this Saturday. Thank you Zurdo for this opportunity. This weekend, I’m looking to make another statement.”

The co-feature has Bektemir “The Bully” Melikuziev, 12-1, 9 KOs, of  Uzbekistan, but now fighting out of Indio, California facing Maryland’s Alantez “SlyAza” Fox, 28-4-1, 13 KOs, for “The Bully’s” WBA Intercontinental Super Middleweight Title in a 10-round fight.

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A veteran broadcaster of over 25 years, T.J. has been a fight fan longer than that! He’s the host of the “Big Fight Weekend” podcast and will go “toe to toe” with anyone who thinks that Marvin Hagler beat Sugar Ray Leonard or that Tyson, Lennox Lewis or Deontay Wilder could have beaten Ali!

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