Here are the most eye-catching stories from this weekend’s boxing news and ring action:
– It was probably for the best that Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez missed the light heavyweight limit by a substantial 7.6 pounds during Friday’s weigh-in for Saturday’s bout with Gabriel Rosado. Widely considered a dangerous mismatch, the Ramirez-Rosado bout was scrapped from the DAZN/Golden Boy main event slot at The Walter Pyramid on the campus of California State University-Long Beach in Long Beach, California. The well-worn 37-year-old Rosado was, arguably, at his prime at 154 lbs. thirteen or fourteen years ago and has never competed above the super middleweight limit. He’s also lost his last three bouts and is 3-7-1 in his last eleven fights overall. Recent outings have seen the Philadelphia fighter take some major punishment. Ramirez, who was looking to come back after his lone career loss to Dmitry Bivol last November, faces a suspension of at least six months by the California State Athletic Commission for his failure to make weight.
Replacing the canceled Ramirez-Rosado main event on Saturday’s DAZN/Golden Boy card was the undercard co-feature of Joseph “Jo Jo” Diaz vs. Mercito Gesta.
– The Diaz-Gesta bout was marred by its own weight controversy as Diaz, who has also been in the news for some outside-the-ring controversies, failed to make the contracted lightweight limit by about four pounds. A deal was cut, however, and the fight went ahead.
Diaz-Gesta turned out to be an entertaining bout worthy of its new main event status (more worthy than the original Ramirez-Rosado main event). There was a compelling ebb and flow in action with the 30-year-old Diaz often landing the heavier shots, but the 35-year-old Gesta making up for that with a busier work rate.
At the end of the ten round contest, the scorecards were all over the place with one judge scoring the bout for Diaz 97-93, but the other judges tallying in favor of Gesta 99-91 and 98-92. The split decision victory puts Gesta back at the top of the list of lightweight contenders and probably earns him a big-money bout in the near future. For Diaz, this is his third consecutive loss. The downward career trajectory, combined with his beyond-boxing issues, puts the former world champ in a tough place.
– Jarrell Miller vs. Lucas Browne was a second-tier heavyweight bout from Agenda Arena in Dubai that promised to carry some intrigue and, despite the shockingly rotund 333 lb. body sported by Miller, it delivered. In a back-and-forth slugfest, the American former title contender stopped the Australian toughman in six rounds. This was Miller’s first significant victory in nearly five years and his third bout back after a suspension the followed multiple failed drug tests for multiple banned substances.
– Is the Tyson Fury-Oleksandr Usyk heavyweight title unification back on? Tyson Fury is on social media, talking like it is and bragging about having outwitted Usyk and his team in negotiations. We shall see.
– It was widely reported on Thursday that former four-division world champion Adrien Broner had signed a promotional deal with the 91-year-old Don King.
King, who once ruled the boxing roost as the top promoter in the sport, has been very inactive in recent years and currently has no TV deal in place. It’ll be interesting to see how this deal can work to both characters’ advantage as the boisterous pair hopes to make waves together and spearhead some sort of career comeback.
– The WBC has ordered light heavyweight world champion Artur Beterbiev to defend his title against former super middleweight titlist Callum Smith. The UK’s Smith had pulled out of a March 11 bout with Pawel Stepien due to injury, but will apparently be ready for his upcoming shot against three-belt world champ Beterbiev.