Home Boxing News Gilberto Ramirez closes in on Arsen Goulamirian after outpointing Joe Smith Jr...

Gilberto Ramirez closes in on Arsen Goulamirian after outpointing Joe Smith Jr on cruiserweight debut

Gilberto 'Zurdo' Ramirez (right) and Joe Smith Jr. Photo credit: Cris Esqueda/Golden Boy Promotions

Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez 45-1 (30) says the move up to cruiserweight has breathed new life into his career.

The 32-year-old Mexican southpaw looked sharp in his 10-round 193-pound catchweight bout against former WBO light heavyweight champion Joe Smith Jr 28-5 (22) at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on Saturday night, winning by unanimous decision with scores of 99-91 across the board.

The bout was billed as a WBA eliminator with the winner putting their name in the mix to face the Panamanian sanctioning body’s champion Arsen Goulamirian 27-0 (18) of France who has fought just once in the past four years.

“This is a new beginning for me,” former WBO super middleweight champion Ramirez said. “I came back stronger, faster and I came forward. I was a lot smarter in the ring. I think it was a great performance for me.

“I don’t have anything to say except thank you, Joe Smith. I think he’s a great fighter and tough opponent. I wish him all the best.

“We had to take care of business in the ring. I felt like I was ahead on the cards. I never took any chances because he has heavy hands and brings a lot of heat to the ring.”

Ramirez controlled the ring and got the better of the action in the first half of the bout, but Long Island’s Smith, 34, came on strongly in the last few rounds but in the end it was too little too late.

The body attack was key for Ramirez. CompuBox stats revealled 35% of Ramirez’s landed blows (59 of 169) were body punches and 51 of those 59 body punches (86%) were power punches. Ramirez also landed 31% of his jabs.

“He is a tough opponent, he was a tough opponent,” Ramirez said. “The whole time I felt he was going to be on the top of the cards, but I didn’t trust him because I knew he has heavy hands.

“A lot of hard work was the key to this new version, but I have to get back to training and keep sharp. Zurdo is back, with more strength and more balls.

He added: “I felt I was ahead on the scorecards, but I didn’t take any chances because Smith is a big puncher. [With a] 20-pound difference [from the light heavyweight limit], I feel great.”

Smith, who was also making his debut in the new weight class, said he felt a little sluggish but credited Ramirez for the win.

“I feel I was a little heavy on my feet,” said Smith, who retired International Boxing Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins with an eighth-round knockout in Los Angeles seven year ago. “I wish I were a little more busy, but I hurt him a few times. He boxed well, kept his distance.”