“He’s a good fighter,” Gilberto Ramirez said of his November 5 opponent, Dmitriy Bivol. “He beat one of the greatest in boxing [Canelo Alvarez], one of my guys from my country, but I will take revenge on November 5.”

Ramirez challenges light-heavyweight champion Bivol at the Ethiad Arena in Abu Dhabi next month in the biggest bout of his 44-fight career. The former WBO super-middleweight champion, wants to collect Bivol’s silverware and unify before moving up to cruiserweight.

But revenge for Canelo comes first.  

“I know Canelo, we used to train together,” Ramirez added. “We are friends. I haven’t spoken to him about Bivol, we lost our connection and have taken our own paths.”

That said, Ramirez would happily face his countryman in the future. Canelo is where the big money lies and 31-year-old ‘Zurdo’ would like to fight the all-Mexican clash.

“Of course,” Ramirez continued. “Because I want to fight with the best fighters in the world and in the sport and he’s one of the best.”

There are plenty in the queue for Canelo, and at super-middleweight, Ramirez would like to see Canelo fight undefeated David Benavidez.

“Yes, people are asking [for that contest] and it’s great for the fans to have a fight like that and as fighters we have to give the fans the fights that they ask for,” he said. 

Ramirez was talking after what he said had been a hard physical week in camp, but he was buoyed talking about his idol, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr, whom he has a good relationship with today.

Asked for his favorite Chavez fights, Ramirez said: “The fights with Meldrick Taylor, Oscar De La Hoya… but there are so many. He was my inspiration, he’s from my country and it’s great having him in boxing. I know him, he’s my friend now and that’s a pleasure for me.”

Chavez-Taylor I is one of the great fights. Does Ramirez want to be in a similar all-action if brutal contest?

“Yes, I would like to be in a fight like that but it was a different time… but I enjoy all of his fights when I watch them.”

“Zurdo” has won his last five inside the distance, beating Dominic Boesel, Yunieski Gonzalez, Sullivan Barrera, Alfonso Lopez and Tommy Karpency. While Ramirez has respect for Bivol, he doesn’t hold him in particularly high regard.

“As a man? Yes. But in the ring, I don’t have respect for anyone,” said the 6ft 2 1/2in southpaw, who turned pro back in 2009. “I like the way he has good movement, the footwork, maintains the distance, he does that really good. [But] I’ve shared the ring with many good fighters, even in Mexico with people who people might not know. They’re tough. It’s one of the biggest fights that I’ve had [with Bivol], on November 5th, and I don’t want to disrespect any fighter I’ve been in the ring with. They’re good and people don’t know them [fighters he has faced] but I think they’re good fighters. I feel ready. I feel it is the right time, the right moment and the people will see my potential and I believe in myself. Everyone will see. I expect the best fight for the fans. I will raise my hand, that’s for sure, and I want to give a really entertaining fight to all the fans in the Ethiad and in Mexico, too.”

Should he upset Bivol, he wants to unify before setting his sights further north in weight. While he insists he makes light-heavyweight comfortably – “It’s not a challenge” – he wants to win a world title in another division.

He hopes Artur Beterbiev could be next.

“Yes, that’s a fight I want,” he replied enthusiastically. “I want to give great fights to the fans and eventually I want to move up, because I’m bigger and tall.”

He also wants to get into the pound-for-pound debate and a win over Bivol could put him in the conversation.

“I know and that’s what I want because I’ve been dreaming about that,” he said. “That’s what I want and that’s why I train had every day.”

Is cruiserweight his ceiling? He has worked with bigger men before, including heavyweight contender Michael Hunter. 

“Who knows?” he concluded. “I sparred heavyweights before. Sometimes they have been taller than me, sometimes shorter than me, but they’re big. Hunter…. That was good. That’s what made me say maybe I can do it, eventually.”