Undefeated former Super Middleweight World Champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez returns to the ring on Friday, December 18, challenging North American Boxing Federation (NABF) light heavyweight champion Alfonso “El Tigre” Lopez at Galveston Island Convention Center in Galveston, Texas, live on pay-per-view. “The Battle of Rio Grande” will be co-promoted by Zurdo Promotions and El Tigre Promotions, the first promotion for each under their respective companies.Tickets to are on sale and can be purchased here https://zurdopromotions.events.com/
ALFONSO “El Tigre” LOPEZ: I’m extremely excited to back in the ring. It’s been a long year of ups and downs and we have been kind of unsure. At my age I’m saying this is not what a fighter needs. I am used to fighting on a consistent schedule. It’s unfortunate but I’m very grateful we got to pull this off.
What did you do during the pandemic?
ALFONSO “El Tigre” LOPEZ: I stayed in the gym, lifting weights and hitting the bag. I made a little gym in the garage since all of the gyms had been shut down. A lot of running, keeping the body in shape and not overindulging on the food a deserts. We had to stay strict hoping the opportunity would come and here it is.
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How do you plan to fight Zurdo?
ALFONSO “El Tigre” LOPEZ: In the fight, as the rounds go on, we are looking for consistency and great conditioning. We focused a lot on conditioning and our strength. I think as the rounds go on you are going to see patience and growth as a fighter from over the years and the wins that we have had and bring it all together on December 18.
It looks as though you two have respect for one another . . .
ALFONSO “El Tigre” LOPEZ: When you have tremendous respect for each other, what happens is both fighters bring their A-game to the table and you end up getting this amazing fight not only for yourself but the fans in general. It’s a blessing that we are both humble and respecting guys because the people that get to witness the fight we are about to put on are the overall winners.
Keys to victory?
ALFONSO “El Tigre” LOPEZ: Just kind of being me. The keys are going to be you have to be in shape any time you are going to fight Zurdo. He is one of the best pressure fighters in the business – he stays on you and keeps driving. I have to be prepared mentally to deal with his strength and to really stay in there and bang it out with him. We’ll see how it turns out. We don’t know what’s going to happen until we get in there. 40 guys have gone in there against him and 40 have failed because he is legitimate – one of the best in the business. We’ll just get int here and see how the fight turns out and we’ll make adjustments as we go.
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How is it promoting your own fight?
ALFONSO “El Tigre” LOPEZ: As a promoter I have been in the business for 3 or 4 years now, so it was a little easier for me because we kind of had it all laid out so just making it on a larger scale. With Zurdo, that kind of added a little more stress because it is such a big event. We are fighting for a NABF title and we are both ranked in the top ten. There is more at stake here so creating it for the fans and a little more stress but he has a great team and I have a great team. I think we are going to do a great job and it’s an amazing even from the undercard to the main event.
What do you mean by “being me?”
ALFONSO “El Tigre” LOPEZ: I am a boxer mover. You have seen me I can box and move around the ring to offset what he is going to pressure me with. Or at the end of the day, I am Mexican blooded and I can get in there and bang. If it has to turn into forehead to forehead, hey lets go for it. Being me is letting my competitive nature dictate what I do and not getting frustrated with anything.
What kind of challenges have you had to endure to train in the pandemic?
ALFONSO “El Tigre” LOPEZ: The challenges were you had to make your own gym. They had everything shut down so we created a gym in the garage and tried to do some bag work with the coaches but a lot of us were stuck at home, especially if we had close elderly family members. We really couldn’t get together and you find yourself doing long runs alone and bag work alone and strength work alone. It was a little difficult but here in Texas it opened up a little bit and we got to get out and get into some of the gyms as long as we stuck to the guidelines but I wouldn’t say it was the best case scenario for a training camp but we did the best could and we are going to be a in great shape.
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What are you expecting on December 18?
ALFONSO “El Tigre” LOPEZ: On December 18 I am expecting the best Zurdo that we have yet to see. He is going to bring a filled in light heavyweight body and he is going to use that size to his advantage and I think he is going to be better physically prepared since he has had time to settle into the light heavyweight body.
Did you train differently for this fight?
ALFONSO “El Tigre” LOPEZ: In this training camp I made some adjustments to how I was conditioning compared to several of my other fights. I spent a lot more time doing road work and strength and conditioning and really focused on a lot of flexibility just to make sure that for the longevity of the sport we can be 100%. I know the dedication is there and the hunger is there and during a lot of my runs I just feel great and can’t wait to get back in there.
Do you have a message for Zurdo?
I ALFONSO “El Tigre” LOPEZ: don’t have anything to say to Zurdo exactly. I am expecting Zurdo to be at 100% and may the best man win.
Who do you like in the Canelo-Callum fight?
ALFONSO “El Tigre” LOPEZ: I like Canelo in a late round stoppage from some body shots.
How do you like being a parent?
GILBERTO “Zurdo” RAMIREZ: It is really interesting and different.
Why did you decide to go on your own?
GILBERTO “Zurdo” RAMIREZ: I have been in boxing a long time but I think I made a lot of mistakes and that’s why I made my own promotion company because I want to help young fighters reach their goals as a fighter and as a businessman to let them know how negotiate to reach those goals.
How was the break with Top Rank?
GILBERTO “Zurdo” RAMIREZ: We are still friends. My contract expired and I didn’t want to renew and that’s what happened but I think in the near future we can still work together because he has one champion and potentially another so we will see.
How did this fight come together?
GILBERTO “Zurdo” RAMIREZ: We reached out to the Tigre Lopez team and they agreed to a fight with us to do a co-promotion deal and it’s really good for me because I have been outside of the ring for almost two years and no I come back. Alfonso Lopez has the NABF title and I hope he’s coming really prepared to put on a great show for all the people and all the fans.
How has the pandemic affected you?
GILBERTO “Zurdo” RAMIREZ: I have been training the whole time, even during Corona. Before during training I was a little upset because of first my contract and then Corona but now everything is in place. I put all of the pieces in place and I feel ready now to get in the ring and put on a great performance.
Will we see anything new ion the ring?
GILBERTO “Zurdo” RAMIREZ: Yes you are. I am going to put everything that I have done in training to put on a great show for the fans and that’s all I want is for people to watch the fight on December 18.
What do you have to say to Alfonso Lopez?
GILBERTO “Zurdo” RAMIREZ: I hope El Tigre comes in in great shape to put on a great show and best of luck.
Who do you like in the Canelo-Callum fight?
GILBERTO “Zurdo” RAMIREZ: I like Canelo because he is Mexican
What should we expect in the fight?
GILBERTO “Zurdo” RAMIREZ: Expect a WAR, El Tigre has Mexican blood and inside the ring 2 Mexicans it’s guaranteed a WAR. My team and I worked on the game plan together. I believe he is real good he’s never been stopped and he has 10 victories in a row. I trained like a true champ not taking him lightly I think it’s a good for us both at this time.
Expecting a knockout?
GILBERTO “Zurdo” RAMIREZ: More than anything my hand will be raised I’m 41-0 and I think the KO will come on it’s own
How about Zurdo Promotions?
GILBERTO “Zurdo” RAMIREZ: I feel happy and excited to help young fighters. I’m working hard with El Tigre Promotions. They have a good team as a promoter everything is working out as planned and as a fighter I’m gonna leave it all in the ring. That’s right my fight will be live only on Fite TV 24.99 make sure you guys go get it and don’t miss a fun night of action
You announced the fight on the 19th then changed it to the 18th and now you are on same night as GGG. . .
GILBERTO “Zurdo” RAMIREZ: Nothing controversial the fans know boxing they will watch both fights it really doesn’t matter we can both fight on the same day and people will still tune in boxing is what people want and they are getting it. And GGG, it’s a good thing because the fans want to see boxing it’s been needed and like I said the fans will be watching all 3 fights that weekend .
You and GGG training in the same place?
GILBERTO “Zurdo” RAMIREZ: Yes, GGG and I have been in the same gym training for our fights
Canelo and Eddy Reynoso again said they will not face a Mexican opponent . . .
GILBERTO “Zurdo” RAMIREZ: I know that fight will happen one day I’ll just keep winning and do what I do and that fight will happen. I also want to be the face of boxing and I know to be the face of boxing I will have to beat him down the line – I just gotta keep on winning.
How was training during the pandemic?
ALFONSO “El Tigre” LOPEZ: We focused a lot on boxing and strength and conditioning because he is an amazing fighter and he brings a toughness to all of his fights. He world a world champion and he’s undefeated. We have prepared ourselves for the best fighter in the world and be ready the best that we can.
Will you try and go for early KO?
ALFONSO “El Tigre” LOPEZ: I don’t think is the best way to jump into a fight with Zurdo. We both have a lot of experience and we both will rely, in the ring, on all of our experiences. He has never been hurt really – he has a heck of a chin.
Do you feel disrespected in boxing?
ALFONSO “El Tigre” LOPEZ: I don’t feel disrespected, Zurdo is a superstar in the sport. I know what he brings to the table and I know why kind of fighter I am because of what I have put into the sport of boxing. It’s the business of boxing if people don’t see you and you aren’t promoted everyone sees you as a guy that is just there and that’s the business of boxing.
There was some talk of you fighting Bivol . . .
GILBERTO “Zurdo” RAMIREZ: My team and I, we discussed it (Bivol fight) and decided that Alfonso was the best opponent for us right now but I think in the near future the Bivol fight will happen, but right now I don’t see beyond and I am focusing on Alfonso.
It seem throughout your career you have been having a tough time getting the top opponents . . .
GILBERTO “Zurdo” RAMIREZ: Right now I feel great and that’s why I started my own promotional company so I can choose my best path for my career and I will have control, after this fight, all those kind of fights will happen. At the beginning I was frustrated abut that (getting top fights) but all of the fighters want the big names. It didn’t happen during that time but now I can make that happen. I can work with different promoters but right now I have Alfonso Lopez and he has the NABF title and I have prepared for this fight because he has what I want.
GILBERTO “Zurdo” RAMIREZ: I have to be worried about the fight in the ring and be sharp. I don’t feel like I have to be worried about anything in particular because I have trained so long for this fight – I was my longest training camp in my life and I feel great. I feel ready to rumble. Ready to put on a great show in Galveston, Texas on December 18. I can’t wait to be in the ring as a fighter.
How is the promotional company coming along?
GILBERTO “Zurdo” RAMIREZ: I have ten fighters in my promotion. Some of them fought in Mexico a couple weeks a go and some will be fighting on my card. We are going to have another show in February in Mexico. It is really interesting being a promoter because I want to help the fighters. I want to have champions to, obviously, but I want to teach them how the business is as a fighter and as a promoter. They have to know everything and I want to help them.
What do you want to accomplish against Lopez?
GILBERTO “Zurdo” RAMIREZ: I want to send the message that I am the best light heavyweight in the world and everybody will see on December 18. Alfonso has been winning in his last ten fights in a row and he’s never been stopped and we are going to put on a great show for all the fans.
Can you make it back to 168?
GILBERTO “Zurdo” RAMIREZ: I could make 168 if I cut off my leg. But I don’t think I can go back to 168, it is too much on my body and I feel that I would rather move up. Move up to cruiserweight and then heavyweight – why not?
Do you think a Canelo fight will happen?
GILBERTO “Zurdo” RAMIREZ: Of course a Canelo fight can happen. Like you say with me and him fighting back-to-back this weekend – people will watch Canelo and they will watch me, and if the fans want to see us fight then we could make that fight happen. Eventually I will reach out to his team and I want to propose to make the fight happen. He has his own promotional team and I have my own promotional team so we can make it happen. If the people want to see the fight and there will be belts, for sure.
What weight would a Canelo fight be at?
GILBERTO “Zurdo” RAMIREZ: The Canelo fight would have to be at 175. He already fought at that weight against Sergey Kovalev and I don’t want to go back to that weight. We’d have to fight at the same weight with no rehydration clauses or any of that.
GILBERTO “Zurdo” RAMIREZ: Don’t miss the fight on December 18 on FITE.tv. It is going to be a good fight and we are going to put on a great show for all of them and you will see a new Zurdo Ramirez, so don’t miss it!