L.A. Heat: GGG, Oscar Valdez, Zurdo Ramirez and More

GGG, Oscar Valdez, Zurdo Ramirez – Los Angeles-Those summer breezes arrived early this year and people were milling around in short pants.

Boxing is heating up as well with 90 degree temperatures throughout Southern California to help it along.

On Wednesday, K-2 Promotions announced that Gennady Golovkin has an opponent. The news arrived on the same day Top Rank brought its pay-per-view companion press conference to the Conga Room in downtown L.A. Super middleweights, middleweights, lightweights and featherweights will all be in action in April.

First, K-2’s jet propelled promoter Tom Loeffler said a willing opponent to face the dreaded “Triple G” has been found and his name is  Dominic Wade, an undefeated middleweight from the state of Maryland.

“He was one of the few willing to face Gennady, but you know how that is. It’s been happening for three years,” said Loeffler by phone on Wednesday. “We had a long list of 22 people. Gennady doesn’t say no to anyone. He’s never said no to anyone.”

Golovkin (34-0, 31 KOs) will defend the WBA, IBO, WBO, IBF middleweight titles against Wade (18-0, 12 KOs) at the Inglewood Forum on April 23. HBO will televise and Loeffler expects a sellout.

GGG, Oscar Valdez, Zurdo Ramirez

“We sold out Madison Square Garden, we sold out the StubHub and we hope to sell out the Forum too,” said Loeffler, who’s proven to be the best at promoting for the last three years with three Promoter of the Year awards in that time. “We need to put together a strong card with local presence.”

The last time Golovkin appeared at the Forum was last spring when he handled undefeated Willie Monroe Jr. by knockout. It was one week after the very disappointing mega fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.

Fans needed to wash out the disappointment and Triple G did not fail, nor did Monroe, who refused to run and instead fought it out “Mexican style.”  It was a return to normalcy for the 12,000 fans that attended the fight at the Forum last May 2015.

But Loeffler expects even more fans this time.

There was some talk about Bernard Hopkins as the opponent.

“We received some interest from Golden Boy Promotions about that possibility,” said Loeffler. “It’s something we can explore in the future.”

Golden Boy has one fighter Loeffler wants to see sign on the dotted line and that’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez of Mexico. A fight between the two middleweight champions has fans salivating. That fight should take place in September.

L.A. Heat: GGG, Oscar Valdez, Zurdo Ramirez and More

Conga Room

Top Rank brought the mini-guns to the popular salsa joint at LA Live and the press was there to meet them.

Mexico’s Gilbert “Zurdo” Ramirez seeks to topple WBO super middleweight titlist Arthur Abraham on the semi-main event of the pay-per-view card that features Manny Pacquiao versus Tim Bradley on April 9, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. HBO pay-per-view will televise.

Abraham did not attend but left a statement:  “I was at Manny’s fight vs. Shane Mosley at the MGM Grand in 2011 and the atmosphere captured my imagination.  Afterwards, it was my wish to one day step into this very ring and on April 9, I will finally get the chance to share the spotlight with the Pac-Man,” stated Abraham from his home in Germany. “I do not take a win that night for granted, as Gilberto Ramirez is a young upcoming boxer from Mexico, one of the greatest fighting countries.”

Ramirez knows the stakes are high and facing him is the rock hard Abraham.

“It’s the dream of my life to fight for a world title,” said Ramirez inside the Conga Room. “I think about Abraham when I sleep, when I wake up, and everything I do. I want what he has, the title.”

Also, former featherweight world titlist Evgeny Gradovich (21-1-1, 9 KOs) faces the hard-charging Oscar Valdez (18-0, 16 KOs) in a featherweight eliminator.

Gradovich, the former IBF featherweight titlist, lost the belt a year ago to England’s Lee Selby due to a cut in a shortened fight. The fighter known as the “Mexican Russian” trains with Robert Garcia and remains eager to get that title back.

“I’m very glad to be part of this show,” Gradovich said. “I hope it will be a great fight for everyone, especially the Mexican Russian.”

Valdez had that look of “why did it take so long” as he stood on the platform to speak.

GGG, Oscar Valdez, Zurdo Ramirez

But first his manager Frank Espinoza took the first salvo to talk about his protégé.

“Oscar has what I like to call the X factor,” said Espinoza. “This fight is going to set the stage for his next step and that’s the world championship…he’s at the peak of his career.”

Valdez knows all about Gradovich.

“I’m fighting a great fighter. I know he’s the toughest opponent I’ve ever faced,” Valdez said. “He’s got a fan pleasing style.”

Fans will definitely be pleased with Valdez-Gradovich for as long as it lasts.

Super lightweight contender Jose Ramirez was also present and will be facing Manuel Perez in defense of the WBC Continental Americas title.

The entire fight card will be shown on HBO pay-per-view.

Tony Walker, HBO’s vice president of pay-per-view programming said this card has the important elements needed to succeed.

“The fights needed are those where the outcome has to be in doubt,” Walker said. “Also the fighters need to come from diverse areas.”

Expect all of that including Pacquiao versus Bradley III. Things are going to be even hotter in April.


Check out this video where Ray Flores talks about the middleweight division at The Boxing Channel

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