By Ryan Burton
On Friday night in Tucson, WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto "Zurdo" Ramírez (35-0) will defend his title for the second time when he faced his mandatory challenger Jesse "Hard Work" Hart (22-0). The fight will serve as the ESPN televised co-feature along with WBO featherweight champion Óscar Valdez squaring off against Genesis Servania.
In today's version of boxing, if a fight doesn't make economic sense, a lot of times titles end up getting vacated. Ramirez's trainer Hector Zápari hopes that the very best version of Hart steps in the ring on Friday so that they can give the fans their monies worth.
"This fight is important because it is a mandatory," said Zápari. "It is rare these days that mandatory fights actually happen. We hope that Jesse Hart is in great physical condition and comes in with the intention of giving the fans a great fight in Tucson. This is what we hope for, we want a good opponent that will bring out the best in Zurdo. So far no one has made him dig deep."
Ramírez last fought in April when he shut out an overmatched Max Bursak over 12 rounds. The fight was his first in a little over a year because of surgery on his right hand after his title winning performance over Arthur Abraham in April, 2016. Zápari felt he was a little by sluggish and tentative in his first fight back.
"Zurdo was inactive for a year with his hand injury and that inactivity affected him in his last fight. He was a little rusty but he is passed that now and we will see a Gilberto Ramírez that is a lot more confident with his his punch and will find his rhythm," said Zápari.
Ramírez hasn't had a stoppage win since 2014 and Zápari said that some of that can be attributed to opponents that wouldn't engage and were content to just go the full 10 or 12 round distance, even if they didn't win more than a single round in the fight. He hopes that Hart lives up to his pre-fight trash talk.
"Zurdo always trains as if he will be fighting for 15 rounds. Jesse Hart did a lot of talking and disrespected the champion but that doesn't bother us because we have came ready for a war. Those that are worried are those that aren't prepared for a war and just want to make it to the final bell.
"We come from a family of boxing and we are hungry to triumph and on September 22nd, there will be a great spectacle between Ramírez and Hart and we can't wait for the day to arrive. Zurdo is anxious to demonstrate why he is the king of the 158 pound division and to show why Mexican boxing is one of the next in the world," Zápari told BoxingScene.com.
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