By Keith Idec
Jesse Hart wants a second shot at Gilberto Ramirez, but the feeling isn’t quite mutual.
Ramirez seems content with his unanimous-decision victory over Hart in what was a very competitive super middleweight title fight September 22 in Tucson, Arizona. Hart survived a second-round knockdown, hurt Ramirez in the 11th round and lost by slim margins on all three judges’ scorecards (115-112, 115-112, 114-113).
Hart has won each of his two bouts by technical knockout since suffering his lone loss to Mexico’s Ramirez nine months ago. Philadelphia’s Hart (24-1, 20 KOs) is scheduled to meet Mike Gavronski (24-2-1, 15 KOs, 1 NC) on August 18 at Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City (ESPN).
The 29-year-old Hart is ranked No. 1 by the WBO. Assuming Hart beats Gavronski, Ramirez has 120 days from Saturday night to make a mandatory WBO title defense against Hart.
Ramirez would prefer pursuing title unification fights rather than a rematch with Hart and the champion could request an exemption from the WBO if he can land a unification fight first.
“I beat him,” Ramirez told BoxingScene.com. “I beat him and I will beat him again. He needs to win a good fight and maybe win a belt. But I think [the second] time I will beat him easy, because I know him.”
Nevertheless, the 27-year-old Ramirez (38-0, 25 KOs) wants to add another title to the WBO crown he defended for the fourth time Saturday night by defeating Colombia’s Alexis Angulo (23-1, 20 KOs) by unanimous decision in Oklahoma City.
“I’d prefer to fight with another fighter,” Ramirez said, “like in a unification fight or something like that.”
Bob Arum, whose company promotes Ramirez and Hart, told BoxingScene.com he would match Ramirez against any of the three other 168-pound champions later this year.
Those title unification fights might not be available next, however, because WBC champ David Benavidez (20-0, 17 KOs) and IBF champ James DeGale (24-2-1, 14 KOs) have respective mandatory defenses due against Anthony Dirrell (32-1-1, 24 KOs) and Jose Uzcategui (27-2, 23 KOs). The timing might not align, either, for Ramirez to fight the winner between WBA/IBO champ George Groves (28-3, 20 KOs) and Callum Smith (24-0, 17 KOs) because their World Boxing Super Series championship match might not take place until September.
“We want the good fights,” Ramirez said, “the winner of the [Super Series], unification fights.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.