By Keith Idec
BoxingScene.com has learned that promoter Bob Arum is trying to arrange a Gilberto Ramirez-Matt Korobov bout.
Russia’s Korobov has agreed to move up from 160 pounds to 168 for a shot at Ramirez’s WBO super middleweight championship. The 25-year-old Ramirez is fully recovered from hand surgery performed last summer and eager to make the first defense of a world title he won nearly 10 months ago.
Arum’s Top Rank Inc. promotes Mexico’s Ramirez (34-0, 24 KOs) and Russia’s Korobov (27-1, 14 KOs). If Ramirez-Korobov can be made, Arum might put the fight on the Manny Pacquiao-Jeff Horn undercard.
Due largely to his hand injury, Ramirez hasn’t fought since the southpaw easily out-pointed Armenia’s Arthur Abraham (45-5, 30 KOs) to win the WBO 168-pound championship in a 12-rounder on the Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley undercard April 9 in Las Vegas. He was supposed to defend his championship against Germany’s Dominik Britsch (32-3-1, 11 KOs) on July 23 in Las Vegas, but that fight was canceled when Ramirez tore a tendon in his right hand during training camp.
The 6-feet-2½ Ramirez mostly was a middleweight for the first four years of a pro career that began in August 2009. He became a full-fledged super middleweight three years ago.
The left-handed Korobov, 33, is 3-0 since Ireland’s Andy Lee (34-2-1, 24 KOs) stopped him in the sixth round of their December 2014 fight for the then-unclaimed WBO middleweight title in Las Vegas. Other than his pro debut, which was contested at the super middleweight limit, the 5-feet-11 Korobov basically has been a middleweight throughout a pro career that launched in November 2008.
A deal hasn’t been finalized, but the Philippines’ Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs) is expected to defend his WBO welterweight title against Australia’s Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs) on April 23 (April 22 in the United States).
A site hasn’t been secured for the Pacquiao-Horn bout, but Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia, Horn’s hometown, is the frontrunner to land the card. Suncorp Stadium, primarily used for rugby, could accommodate more than 50,000 fans for boxing.
It hasn’t been determined, either, if the card headlined by Pacquiao-Horn will be televised via pay-per-view. Arum would prefer to broadcast the event on basic cable, premium cable or free TV in the United States, but that’ll depend upon the level of interest from networks in what generally is considered an easy fight for even a 38-year-old Pacquiao.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.