Gilberto Ramirez efforts to seek out at alternate plan have left him right back at the drawing board—and potentially at the mercy of the promoter from whom he’s attempting to break free.
A purse bid hearing has been ordered by the World Boxing Organization (WBO) to determine the promotional rights for a sanctioned title eliminator between Ramirez and Eleider Alvarez. The bout was ordered by the WBO in late January, with the two sides give 15 days to negotiate terms.
With that deadline having expired, comes the call for a purse bid to be held Thursday, February 20 in the lobby area of the MGM Grand Garden Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The session is open to all WBO-registered promoters, though bids must be no lower than $300,000 to be acknowledged during the session. The winning bid will be split 50/50 between the two boxers providing the event—which must take place no later than 90 days after the purse bid hearing—is staged in a neutral location. Should the fight land either in Ramirez’s home country of Mexico or Alvarez’s adopted home country of Canada, the split will land 60/40 in favor of the visiting contender.
In the event that any party is unable to participate in the ordered bout, said boxer will be replaced both in the ordered eliminator and the WBO rankings by the next highest-ranked available
Ramirez (40-0, 26KOs) and Alvarez are both promoted by Top Rank, although all WBO correspondence has been addressed to Ramirez's manager, David Suh. The measure speaks to the boxer's estranged relationship with the Las Vegas-based promotional outfit which has left the former super middleweight titlist out of the ring since last April.
Alvarez (25-1, 13KOs) is coming off of an ESPN-televised knockout win over Michael Seals, which came right on time in more ways than one. The feat took place win came one week after another ESPN-televised light heavyweight affair, where Joe Smith scored an upset 10-round win over Jesse Hart, who was previously ranked #3 by the sanctioning body and—with a win—would have been in prime position to challenge for the vacant title.
Hart's loss was Alvarez's gain following his own win, with the WBO order for the four-man tournament coming three days later.
Ramirez was inserted as the WBO number-one contender upon forrmally abanonding his lengthy super middleweight title reign. His lone fight at the new weight came in a knockout win over journeyman Tommy Karpency last April.
Since then has been infighting with Top Rank, complete with Ramirez scouting out fights on his own in lieu of allowing the company to negotiate on his behalf. Such efforts led Ramirez to Miami's South Beach region during Super Bowl week, where he took in a night at the fights in attendance for a show promoted by Eddie Hearn.
Ramirez kept his conversations with media to a minimum, rather reportedly exploring the possibility of a showdown with reigning unbeaten 175-pound titlist Dmitry Bivol. Nothing ultimately came of the brief discussion, leaving Ramirez back at square one—and with a decision to make whether to proceed with the ordered eliminator versus Alvarez, or a continued attempt to find his own way.
The bout was one of two semifinal eliminators ordered by the WBO to vie for the light heavyweight title vacated by Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez. On the other side of the bracket, Umar Salamov and Maksim Vlasov have also been ordered to work out terms, with the winners of the two ordered bouts to collide for the vacant title later in the year.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox