When former super middleweight champ Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (44-1, 30 KOs) faces ex-Light Heavyweight Champion Joe Smith, Jr. (28-4, 22 KOs) on October 7th, it marks over seven years since Ramirez last stepped into the ring in the famed boxing hub of Las Vegas.
Zurdo and Smith are set to be the main attraction at the Golden Boy Promotions event, broadcast live on DAZN from The Chelsea within The Cosmopolitan. This event marks both fighters’ initial foray into the cruiserweight division, with their fight set at a 190-pound catchweight.
The last time Ramirez showcased his skills in Las Vegas was on April 9, 2016. On that night, he secured his place in history as the first Mexican to clinch the world super middleweight title. He achieved this by decisively winning every round against then-defending WBO World Champion Arthur Abraham (44-4) at the MGM Grand. Las Vegas has been kind to Ramirez, boasting a 3-0 (1 KO) record, while Smith holds a 1-0 record in the city, having previously defeated a former WBO Light Heavyweight World Champion.
“Boxing in Las Vegas is unlike anything else,” Ramirez noted. “This city has hosted some of the most iconic boxing fights, and the energy here is second to none. For me, it’s not just the city’s rich boxing heritage that makes it special; it’s also the enthusiastic fans and the entire culture around boxing. The atmosphere, the venues, the lights — it’s all motivating. Las Vegas holds a special charm for any boxer; it’s where you can build a legacy and where dreams can come true. Every time I step into the ring here, I feel like I’m part of something monumental.”
On the heels of his inaugural professional defeat, Ramirez is gearing up to face Smith. His setback came from a 12-round bout against WBA Light Heavyweight Champion Dmitri Bivol (21-0) the previous year in Abu Dhabi. But even in his training camp at Brickhouse Boxing Club in North Hollywood, California, there’s a distinct vibe.
“After a loss, the key is to evolve,” Ramirez elaborated. “This setback has given me essential insights. On the physical side, I’m pushing my boundaries even further during training. I’m continuously working on improving my techniques and focusing on any areas that need attention. Mentally, the loss has fired up a renewed sense of determination. It’s taught me that bumps in the road are part and parcel of the journey, but they make you stronger. I view this as a unique chance for growth and a transition into a new weight division. I’m keen to display the lessons I’ve learned and prove that setbacks only fuel my resolve to bounce back even more robustly.”
Ramirez’s journey now leads him back to Las Vegas Boulevard, the very place where he first tasted world championship glory.