Super middleweight contender Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez will get his mandatory world title shot early next year.
On Tuesday, the WBO ordered Ramirez's promoter, Top Rank, and titleholder Arthur Abraham's promoter, Team Sauerland, to negotiate the bout. The WBO gave them 30 days to make a deal or a purse bid will be ordered. If it goes to a purse bid, the minimum bid is $300,000, although it would likely go for far more than at an auction.
Top Rank boss Bob Arum told ESPN.com that they would not step aside to give Abraham a chance to defend against Bernard Hopkins, a fight that has been talked about.
Arum also said he would make Abraham’s side a substantial offer to bring him to the United States for the fight.
“It’s a question of the money,” Arum said. “But I am not concerned about going to Germany for the fight even though we’d rather have it in the United States. If we have to go to Germany, we’ll go. We know the WBO will make sure there are neutral officials. But if we can make a deal to do it in the United States, we’d look to do it in March on HBO.”
Abraham (44-4, 29 KOs), 35, of Germany, retained his title for the fifth time on Saturday in Hanover, Germany, with a hard-fought split decision victory against England’s Martin Murray.
The night before, in Las Vegas, Ramirez (33-0, 24 KOs), 24, of Mexico, risked his mandatory status against Gevorg Khatchikian but rolled to a near-shutout 10-round decision.
“Looking at Abraham’s style, he plays into all of Gilberto’s strengths,” Sean Gibbons, Ramirez’s adviser, told ESPN.com. “His size, his length, his boxing ability -- they are things Arthur Abraham has not experienced at 168 pounds and barely at 160. So, therefore, I think Ramirez’s style is very bad for Abraham. Ramirez can box inside and outside. He is the full package, and we want to make history. Ramirez wants to be the first Mexican super middleweight world champion.”