THAT Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez is on the brink of becoming the latest in a long line of boxers to win world titles in two weight classes, without once proving themselves to be the best in the world in either, should probably tell us all we need to know about boxing’s perplexing championship system.

Inside Ingelwood’s YouTube Theater on Saturday (March 30), the 32-year-old challenges Armenia-born Frenchman, Arsen Goulamirian, for the WBA cruiserweight title. Ramirez previously held the WBO super-middleweight strap, with victory over the fading Arthur Abraham to win the title (2016) and two points wins over Jesse Hart (2017-18) the standout results from his time in the hotseat.

Mexico’s Ramirez, though, is a skilled southpaw who always seemed impossibly big for the 168lbs weight class. A jump to light-heavyweight suited him as he mowed down fringe contenders Tommy Karpency, Alfonso Lopez, Sullivan Barrera, Yunieski Gonzalez and Dominic Boesel to earn his shot at WBA belt-holder, Dmitry Bivol, in late 2022. But Ramirez, 45-1 (30), could not find a way inside and was made to look crude before losing on lopsided cards.

Bivol, however, is one of the finest technicians in the entire sport. Goulimirian, from all the evidence we’ve seen thus far, is not. His record reads an impressive 27-0 (19) but he’s been inactive since November 2022 and is yet to score a win over a legitimate leading contender despite holding his title since 2018.

The 36-year-old Goulamirian, though he can appear a touch rudimentary in his approach, shouldn’t be completely discounted; he has one-punch power, impressive stamina, and hooks with purpose from both sides. Though he’s far from the best cruiserweight in the world, he’s also far from easy to beat.

Ramirez, therefore, will need to be wary of over-confidence and ensure his advantages in height and reach are not overcome by the aggression and natural strength of his opponent. After all, though shorter, Goulamirian is a long-time cruiserweight whereas Ramirez has only had a solitary contest in the division. That came five months ago when he outpointed Joe Smith Jnr, a fellow rising light-heavy who had no problem landing on Zurdo.

An upset, which would be Goulamirian retaining, is not off the table here. It’s feasible that the sheer pressure of the bigger and stronger belt-holder could ultimately prove too much. But the likeliest outcome would appear to be a points win for the better all-round boxer. Patience and world level experience might be the key as Ramirez rams the jab and straight left through the middle, peppers the body in close, and uses his feet to confuse Goulamirian.

THE VERDICT: A solid matchup that will tell us plenty about Ramirez the cruiserweight.