By Ian S Palmer
Unbeaten WBO Super Middleweight Champion Gilberto Ramirez of Mexico will be defending his title for the third time this Saturday, February 3rd when he takes on undefeated Habib Ahmed of Ghana at the Bank of America Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. The 12-round bout can be seen live in the U.S. On ESPN and ESPN Deportes while fans in the UK can catch it on BoxNation. Ramirez last fought in September when he beat Jesse Hart by a close unanimous decision. Ahmed’s last outing came in September when he beat Flash Isaaka by a fourth-round knockout. Ramirez, who is a southpaw, beat Arthur Abraham by unanimous decision in April of 2016 to win the title then defended it against Max Bursak and Hart.
The 26-year-old Ramirez became the first Mexican to capture a world super middleweight title when he beat Abraham in 2016 and he’ll enter the ring with a perfect record of 36-0 along with 24 Kos. He’s pretty tall for the 168 lb division as he stands close to 6-feet-3-inches and has a reach of 75 inches. He turned pro back in 2009 and has fought 193 rounds since then. Ramirez possesses pretty good power in his fists and owns a knockout ratio of 67 per cent. He’s is a bit of an oddity for such a tall boxer though since he doesn’t always use his height to his advantage.
Ramirez often prefers to work his way inside to engage instead of fighting at a safer distance. Along with Abraham, Bursak and Hart, some of his noteworthy opponents have been Derek Edwards, Fulgencio Zuniga, Junior Talipeau, and Derrick Findley. Ramirez has gone undefeated up to now basically because of his knockout power and the level of opponents he’s faced. He needs to tighten up defensively if he wants to remain unbeaten. To do this he should take better advantage of his height and control the distance in his bouts.
There isn’t too much known about Ahmed, including his age, height and reach. He’s ranked number six by the WBO though with a near perfect record of 25-0-1 along with 17 Kos. He’s got pretty good power with a current knockout ratio of 65 per cent. Ahmed turned pro back in 2011 and has boxed 123 rounds since then. The only fight he hasn’t won was a technical draw with George Bamson in June of 2016 when the bout was stopped due to an early accidental head butt. Most fans will have difficulty in recognizing any of Ahmed’s opponents other than perhaps Philip Kotey.
Ahmed will be fighting outside of Africa for the first time, but he’s confident of heading back across the ocean with Ramirez’s title. He’s taking a huge step up in class though and his lack of quality opposition up until now won’t help him. In fact, just six of his 26 fights have been against opponents with winning records. He does have power though and Ramirez struggled against Hart in his last bout, so you never know what may happen. If Ahmed does manage to win though it’ll be considered quite an upset considering he’s basically a Grade B or C boxer.
Ramirez didn’t look his best against Jesse Hart in September as he was hit hard and often. He needs to be wary of Ahmed’s power and use his size to advantage. Ramirez needs a big win to regain his confidence and should be able to retain his title here, possibly by a stoppage.