It isn’t a coincidence that Robeisy Ramirez will fight Tuesday night on Shakur Stevenson’s undercard.
Bob Arum, whose company promotes both boxers, told BoxingScene.com recently that he still hopes to match Stevenson versus Ramirez at some point. It’s a natural fight to make because Cuba’s Ramirez edged the United States’ Stevenson in the bantamweight gold medal match at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Stevenson still wants to avenge that bitter defeat, but Ramirez’s loss in his pro debut obviously altered the public’s perception of their professional fight.
“I’m still mad about my loss to him,” Stevenson told host Dan Rafael in the newest episode of Impact Network’s “Stars And Champions,” which premiered Friday night. “And I’m still a little hurt about my loss, so I definitely would love to beat him up. But I ain’t gonna say it’d give me satisfaction because I want to fight the best of him, anyway. Whenever me and him fought, I wanted it to be him at his best and me at my best. But we’ve just gotta hope and wait to see like what he can do, like if he gonna get better, if he gonna shock a lot of people and open some eyes. But until then, like me and him ain’t really gonna be a fight that’ll be talked about because everybody know I’m gonna win.”
The 26-year-old Ramirez (2-1, 2 KOs), a two-time Olympic gold medalist, is set to face the Dominican Republic’s Yeuri Andujar (5-3, 3 KOs) in a six-round featherweight fight Tuesday night in Las Vegas. Ramirez-Andujar is one of five fights ESPN will broadcast before Stevenson (13-0, 7 KOs), the WBO featherweight champion, opposes Puerto Rico’s Felix Caraballo (13-1-2, 9 KOs) in the main event, a 10-round, non-title fight at the junior lightweight limit of 130 pounds.
Ramirez will attempt to win a third straight fight since Denver’s Adan Gonzales (5-2-2, 2 KOs) upset the elite amateur by split decision in his pro debut. Gonzales won their four-rounder soundly on two scorecards August 10 in Philadelphia (40-35, 39-36, 37-38).
“I think that it says a lot about the pro game,” Stevenson said regarding Ramirez’s loss. “When I came in, I definitely was saying the same thing, like the amateurs and the pros is like two different things. So, it’s two different levels. He came from an amateur Cuban style, where he could hold up a tight guard all day and pick people off. [And then] when he come to the pros, it’s smaller gloves and you holding up that tight guard, them punches gonna get through, so I think that it’s a big difference. I think that it speaks a lot of volume to the difference between the amateurs and the pros. I think it’s a whole different level. … I came up under a lot of pros, so I already had a pro style when I was amateur. So, I’m glad that I already had that.”
Stevenson’s style enabled him to advance quickly as a professional. The Newark, New Jersey, native was just 22 when he won a world title in only his 13th professional fight.
The left-handed Stevenson will fight for the first time Tuesday night since he won the then-vacant WBO 126-pound title by thoroughly out-boxing Joet Gonzalez (23-1, 14 KOs) in their 12-rounder October 26 in Reno, Nevada. He was supposed to defend his title for the first time March 14, but his fight against Colombia’s Miguel Marriaga (29-3, 25 KOs) was canceled March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.