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What: Gilberto "Zurdo" Ramirez vs. Jesse Hart, Super MiddleweightsWhen: Dec. 14
How to Watch: ESPN Plus 10 p.m. ET
Why You Should Care: Because Gilberto Ramirez is sick of being overshadowed by “Canelo” Alvarez, and now the similarities are becoming overwhelming.
Gilberto Ramirez is the WBO Super Middleweight Champion of the World. He’s 27, undefeated (38-0 with 25 knockouts) and most importantly hails from Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico. But, this weekend he’s not the Mexican fighting at 168 pounds that everyone will be watching, and most weekends he’s not the Mexican fighter making noise in the boxing world.
Despite many fans believing that Alvarez lost to GGG twice, that he ducked him for years and that he knowingly used performance enhancing drugs to bulk up to middleweight after forcing 160-pound fighters to drain themselves to a catchweight he invented, “Canelo” will be the 168-pound fighter everyone is watching this weekend. And that has to drive “Zurdo” insane.
Ramirez will be facing Hart, a fighter he beat by decision in September of 2017. However, with 21 knockouts in 26 fights and the lone loss of his career being to Ramirez, Jesse Hart is a very tough fight for anybody at 168 pounds. So, Gilberto Ramirez will fight to defend his title against a thunderous puncher on a weekend that will see him once again overshadowed by the bigger Mexican star. Maybe he will look so good that he forces the boxing world to talk about him, and maybe he will look good enough to setup a super middleweight unification match, and more importantly a chance at becoming the new star of Mexico.
What: Rocky Fielding vs. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Super MiddleweightsWhen: Dec. 15
How to Watch: DAZN 9 p.m. ET
Why You Should Care: To get a sense of what boxing’s biggest star is doing with his career.
“Canelo” should easily beat Rocky Fielding. With all due respect to both Fielding and Alvarez’s first ever fight at super middleweight, “Canelo” is too good to lose this fight. In fact, when ESPN asked its boxing experts who would win the fight, every single one picked “Canelo” by knockout. So, if you shouldn’t watch it because of its competitiveness, why should you?
Because this fight will likely determine what the biggest star in boxing plans to do with the rest of his career. Yes, Alvarez is still the biggest star in boxing, although that will be hard to determine in the future with him signing with DAZN, taking away any PPV comparisons we could make. But this fight makes little sense. “Canelo” was too small for 160 pounds for a huge portion of his career, yet now he wants to fight at 168? De la Hoya says “GGG” will fight “Canelo” again, Daniel Jacobs wants to fight him on Cinco de Mayo weekend, and “Canelo” himself keeps talking about a rematch with Floyd which would never happen above 154 lbs. “Canelo” Alvarez’s career ambitions are all over the place, and will likely depend on how this fight goes.
Maybe “Canelo” will feel too small for the weight class and abandon it immediately. Maybe he wants to see how high he can move up in weight, and thinks he could outmaneuver bigger, slower guys better than he could deal with slick boxers like Demetrius Andrade. It’s hard to tell what he is doing, but after we see his performance against Rocky Fielding, for better or worse things will become clearer.
What: Ryan Garcia vs. Braulio Rodriguez, LightweightsWhen: Dec. 15
How to Watch: DAZN 6 p.m. ET
Why You Should Care: To see if switching trainers can make all well again with super-prospect “KingRy.”
Ryan Garcia’s showcase didn’t work out very well. A fight against Carlos Morales that was supposed to show the world how good he is and why he is considered the next Golden Boy cash cow, instead turned into a twitter assault from all sides with boxing media and fans deciding that although he won, when it comes to the next big star in boxing, this kid ain’t it.
In response, Ryan Garcia switched trainers. He now works with Canelo’s trainer, Eddy Reynoso. Against Braulio Rodriguez, a Dominican knockout artist who’s lost his last two fights, Ryan Garcia needs to look fantastic so that both he and Golden Boy can make the case that his trainer was the problem in the last fight, and that everything is back on track to superstardom since he made the switch. If he struggles, the doubters will have an even stronger case that Garcia is nothing but a Golden Boy hype-job, and even his most diehard believers will have to begrudgingly acknowledge that there are problems with the fighter, not the trainer.
What: Tevin Farmer vs. Fransisco Fonseca, Super FeatherweightWhen: Dec. 15
How to Watch: DAZN 6 p.m. ET
Why You Should Care: Because a Tevin Farmer loss would lead to such savage Twitter harassment from Gervonta Davis that I cringe at the thought.
Tevin Farmer is the IBF super featherweight champion, and has not lost since 2012 when he got stopped by Jose Pedraza. Fransisco Fonseca has only lost once in his career, when he was knocked out by Davis.
Farmer and Davis have been going back and forth on Twitter for months, so Farmer has declared that he will best what Davis did against Fonseca by stopping him in four rounds or less. That would make him look great, but Fonseca is too good for that nonsense. Even though he has not faced elite competition, he is not someone to try to show how flashy you are, so Farmer needs to be wary.
Especially because if Farmer loses, Gervonta Davis will assault him. Gervonta Davis attacks everybody on Twitter, from the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world Vasyl Lomachenko to whatever MMA fighter he’s watching on TV at any given moment. If Tevin Farmer loses to a guy Davis walked through, he will attack Farmer with memes, emojis, and retweets in a way that we’ve never seen before in the sport. So, I will be rooting for Farmer if for no other reason than a fear of the cyberbullying that would arise if he loses.