Gennady Golovkin promoter impressed with Gilberto Ramirez as ‘Canelo’ Alvarez alternative
Gennady Golovkin’s promoter has learned well that finding an opponent for a middleweight champion who’s knocked out 21 consecutive opponents is not an easy task.
So Tom Loeffler was in Las Vegas on Saturday night to watch Gilberto Ramirez fight veteran Arthur Abraham of Germany. Ramirez (34-0) impressed, became the first fighter from Mexico to win a super-middleweight world title — sweeping every round and capturing, by unanimous decision, the World Boxing Organization belt.
“My job for Gennady is to make sure we have as many options as possible,” Loeffler told The Times on Monday. “Clearly, to watch the Ramirez fight, thought he looked good. If you can dominate an established veteran who’s had a great career … the only question with Ramirez was his lack of experience on the world-championship level, but dominating an established champion — literally pitching a shutout — he has established himself as one of the best new champions in the sport.”
Golovkin (34-0, 31 knockouts) first needs to successfully defend his World Boxing Assn. and International Boxing Federation belts April 23 at the Forum against unbeaten underdog Dominic Wade, and the Kazakhstan fighter has a World Boxing Council mandate in place to fight the winner of the May 7 Saul “Canelo” Alvarez-Amir Khan title fight.
There has been some reluctance from the favored Alvarez and also WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders of England to fight Golovkin, however.
Ramirez’s promoter, Bob Arum, has said since last year his plan for Ramirez was to beat Abraham, then challenge Golovkin.
Loeffler said after attending the Ramirez fight that he’s under the impression Arum will schedule a title defense against someone else around the summer, then move to fight Golovkin for the super-middleweight belt if the Alvarez-Khan winner or Saunders balk at Golovkin.
The move to 168 pounds would be temporary for Golovkin, said Loeffler, followed by a return to middleweight.
If the Alvarez-Khan winner doesn’t agree to begin negotiations with Golovkin 15 days after the fight at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, then Golovkin gains the WBC middleweight belt.
“If Canelo or Saunders won’t fight, Ramirez is the best option.… I’ve learned with Gennady I need a Plan A, B and C … so we can get a date,” Loeffler said. “Ramirez would be the biggest fighter [at nearly 6-foot-2] that Gennady has fought. He has a following and gained new fans Saturday night. It’d be a huge event, to combine that with the momentum and energy Gennady has. Gennady just needs to win April 23.”
The optimal choice is Alvarez. With Manny Pacquiao joining Floyd Mayweather Jr. in retirement, Alvarez is boxing’s biggest name.
But there is speculation, including that by Arum last week, that Alvarez won’t fight Golovkin.
“Bob doesn’t promote Canelo,” Loeffler said. “Everyone can have an opinion. Until Canelo makes a decision, it’s up to him … and hard to speculate. I know Canelo is a proud champion and not afraid to take risks. Canelo is one of my favorite fighters. We have a great relationship with [his promoter, Oscar De La Hoya’s] Golden Boy. It’s nothing personal, but Gennady wants the WBC title, whether he wins it or is anointed.”
Loeffler crossed paths with Cowboys Stadium owner Jerry Jones at Saturday’s fight at MGM Grand.
“He’s definitely interested in having Gennady fight there, and it’s a natural location for the fight with Canelo,” Loeffler said. “But we have to make the fight first.”
As for April 23, Loeffler said ticket sales have convinced Forum officials to expand capacity to a full 17,000, on a card that includes unbeaten flyweight champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez of Nicaragua on the card.
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