Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez is seeking a fifth successful title defense – Jesse “Hollywood” Hart is out for revenge
** WATCH Ramirez vs Hart LIVE on Friday at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ – Click here for a one month free trial ** (Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank)
Ramirez (38-0, 25 KOs) will defend his WBO super middleweight world against Hart (25-1, 21 KOs) Friday at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, site of his February knockout of Habib Ahmed. Ramirez bested Hart via unanimous decision last September in one of the finest world championship fights of 2017.
In the co-feature, unbeaten 140-pound contender Arnold Barboza Jr. (19-0, 7 KOs) will face Manuel Lopez (14-2-1, 7 KOs) in a 10-rounder.
Ramirez-Hart 2 and Barboza-Lopez will stream live at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ — the new multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN. The entire undercard, including appearances by female fighting sensation Mikaela Mayer, 130-pound contender Jamel Herring, Gabriel Flores Jr., and big-punching bantamweight Joshua Greer Jr. will stream live on ESPN+ beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Zapari Boxing Promotions, tickets to the Ramirez-Hart 2 world championship event are on sale now. Priced at $100, $65, $45, and $30, tickets may be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com, at the American Bank Center Box Office, Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST, or charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000.
Hart and Ramirez worked out for the media Tuesday at Corpus Christi Boxing Club. This is what they had to say.
“I’m coming to Corpus Christi to give the fans a great fight. I have very good memories of the last time I fought here. They treated me well. I felt right at home, and that’s why I asked to fight here again. I will not let them down. I will close the year the same way I started it, with a knockout win in Corpus Christi!”
“I don’t take this fight as a rematch. The first one was a good fight, but I beat him clearly. For this fight, I’m coming better prepared mentally and physically. I’m focused on taking care of business and winning convincingly.”
“Camp was great. It was real tough because I did things l never did before. I chopped wood for the first time. I climbed rope. Going into camp this time, I was in tremendous shape. I didn’t take any time off after my last fight. I knew the rematch was looming, so I stayed hungry and ready to go. After I win this title, I’m definitely going to take a vacation and spend time with my daughter and my family.”
“Right after the decision, I wanted to fight Gilberto again. When you look at all of his opponents, I was his only opponent that came close to beating him. He’s fought a lot of credible guys, but no one came as close as me.”
“I’ve never been more ready for a fight in my life. Gilberto Ramirez is going to see a different fighter this time around. All I can do is keep honing my craft and get better.”
It was one of the best fights of 2017. WBO super middleweight world champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez had Jesse “Hollywood” Hart down and nearly out in the second round, only for Hart to come back with a furious late-rounds rally. Ramirez ultimately prevailed via unanimous decision that September evening in Tucson, Ariz., but Hart, the Philadelphia native with the legendary last name, had rematch on his mind immediately after the decision was rendered.
His wish has finally come true.
Ramirez will make the fifth defense of his world title against Hart, Friday, Dec. 14 at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. Ramirez-Hart 2 and a soon-to-be announced co-feature will stream live and exclusively at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ in the United States— the new multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN. The entire undercard will stream live on ESPN+ beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Zapari Boxing Promotions, tickets to the Ramirez-Hart 2 world championship event will go on sale Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 10 a.m. CST. Priced at $100, $65, $45, and $30, tickets may be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com, at the American Bank Center Box Office, Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST, or charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000.
“This will be a good fight. I feel better prepared than the first time and even more convinced that I will finish him,” Ramirez said. “I’ve always said that I wanted to be the king of the division. I’ve been waiting for unification fights, and I’m still patient. I’m at my best, and against Hart, I want to show why I’m the best.”
“I’m very grateful and humbled for this opportunity,” Hart said. “I just want to go out there and perform to the best of my ability. I have nothing derogatory to say about Gilberto Ramirez. At this point, I just want to go out there and perform.”
Ramirez (38-0, 25 KOs), the first Mexican-born super middleweight champion, will be defending the title he won from Arthur Abraham via shutout decision on April 9, 2016. A hand injury put Ramirez on the shelf until April 22, 2017, but he didn’t miss a beat, dominating Max Bursak en route to a unanimous decision victory. In his most recent outing, June 30 in Oklahoma City, Ramirez used his boxing skills to win a unanimous decision against Alexis Angulo. Ramirez, from Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico, is a nine-year pro who is no stranger to Corpus Christi. He headlined a show at the American Bank Center on Feb. 3, knocking out the previously unbeaten Habib Ahmed in the sixth round to retain his title.
Hart (25-1, 21 KOs), the WBO No. 1 contender, is a former amateur standout, winning the 2011 National Golden Gloves and U.S. National championships at 165 pounds. A 2012 U.S. Olympic alternate, Hart turned pro in 2012 and won his first 22 bouts prior to challenging Ramirez. Hart last fought as the ESPN co-feature Aug. 18 in Atlantic City, battering Mike Gavronski en route to a third-round stoppage. After more than a year of calling out Ramirez for a return match, Hart has his shot at redemption. A proud native of Philadelphia, Hart is the son of Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, a feared middleweight contender in the 1970s who never received a world title shot. With Eugene Hart in his corner as head trainer, Jesse Hart will seek to bring a world title home to the City of Brotherly Love.
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