NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – Familiar friends will be forced to turn into foes when Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez takes on Gabriel Rosado in a 12-round light heavyweight fight on March 18 at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, California.

The tilt will top a Golden Boy Promotions card and DAZN show, as Ramirez looks to bounce back from his lone career loss to Dmitry Bivol in November.

Rosado, meanwhile, is looking to stop a three-fight losing streak after shocking Bektemir Melikuziev with an upset and knockout of the year frontrunner in 2021.

For the Rosado-Melikuziev fight, Ramirez was a sparring partner for Rosado helping the Puerto Rican get ready for his showcase against the then-undefeated 2016 Olympics silver medalist upstart. 

The 31-year-old Ramirez (44-1, 30 KOs) and the 37-year-old Rosado (26-16-1, 15 KOs) have helped each other with sparring for several fight camps to the tune of over 100 rounds, Zurdo estimated. 

“I know him, yes. We know each other. We are friends in the gym and outside too. I know that he's a tough opponent who comes forward and has big balls. He has a lot of heart too. That's why this fight is so special. This is not an easy fight,” Ramirez told and other reporters during a recent media workout at the Brickhouse Boxing Club

“We know that we're going to bring a good show to the people. We'll be friends after the fight. I told him that I want to go to Puerto Rico and experience the culture there. I'm planning to be more active against Rosado [than the Bivol fight]. I will throw a lot of punches and move forward. This is a good fight between Mexico and Puerto Rico. It's always a war [when fighters from both countries meet]. We're going to be a part of history. Gabriel is a challenging fight. He's a tough fighter.” 

With an uneven record, the former middleweight world title challenger Rosado is looking to land one more big win in order to keep the marquee opportunities coming. 

Rosado suffered a shutout loss to Ali Akhmedov in September, and before that, he also lost decisions to Shane Mosley Jr. in 2022 and Jaime Munguia in 2021. 

Rosado's KO win against Melikuziev came after a spirited split decision loss to Daniel Jacobs in 2020.

Ramirez trainer Julian Chua told in an interview that his fighter will be coming back with a vengeance.

"Zurdo is very concentrated on this fight. He’s ready, and he’s going to put on a great show. I want him to beat him so unbelievably and decisively, and if the knockout comes, it comes,” said Chua. “Rosado is the kind of guy that if you look for him too hard and are overly aggressive trying to get him out with one shot, he'll set his feet … and it's boxing. You saw how he split Bektimir.”

Ramirez is confident he won’t let the rough and rugged Rosado revive his career at his expense. 

“It's business, at the end of the day,” said Ramirez. “I'm looking to put on a good show for the fans and prove myself. My strength and desire will be the difference against Rosado – and not only this fight, but all of them. I have to take care of business. No hard feelings – this is boxing.” 

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer, and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, through email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at], or via