By Keith Idec
Gilberto Ramirez thinks the judges got in wrong the first time he shared a ring with Jesse Hart.
Ramirez beat Hart by small margins when they fought for the Mexican southpaw’s WBO super middleweight title 14½ months ago in Tucson, Arizona. A confident Ramirez remembers the action unfolding differently when he withstood Hart’s rally to retain his 168-pound championship in a 12-round encounter ESPN televised.
“I dominated that fight,” Ramirez said during a press conference Wednesday to promote their rematch Friday night. “And this fight won’t be any different. It will only be one side – my side.”
Truth be told, their first fight was significantly closer than Ramirez recalls.
Philadelphia’s Hart showed real resolve by getting up from a second-round knockdown and giving Ramirez the most difficult fight of his championship reign. The challenger hurt Ramirez with a right hand during the 11th round, but Ramirez also demonstrated toughness and determination by overcoming that trouble to win on all three scorecards (115-112, 115-112, 114-113).
The 27-year-old Ramirez (38-0, 25 KOs) doesn’t intend to rely on the judges to determine the outcome of his rematch with Hart (25-1, 21 KOs) at American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.
“I started with a knockout in Corpus Christi,” Ramirez said, referring to his sixth-round stoppage of Habib Ahmed on February 3 at American Bank Center. “And this time I wanna finish with a knockout, too, in Corpus Christi. I hope everybody comes to enjoy that night.”
The 29-year-old Hart has won each of his three bouts by TKO since suffering his lone loss to Ramirez in September 2017. Those victories earned Hart the No. 1 spot in the WBO’s super middleweight ratings and made him its mandatory challenger for Ramirez.
“Things will be different because we corrected the little mistakes that didn’t go right the first time,” Hart said Wednesday. “So I just think with the mistakes that [trainer] Fred Jenkins corrected with me, and being on that stage and that platform, I believe you will see a change in the outcome.”
The Ramirez-Hart rematch will headline an ESPN+ stream scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT on Friday. Ramirez-Hart should begin at some point after 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.