Hart, Ramirez Ready for “Grueling” Title Fight
Jesse Hart knows he’s about to take part in the biggest fight of his life, but it’s one he’s been ready for a long time.
Hart (22-0, 18 KOs) will challenge Mexican-born champion Gilberto Ramirez (35-0, 24 KOs) for his WBO super-middleweight title on Friday, September 22 at the the Convention Center in Tucson, Arizona.
The Philadelphia native has been watching Ramirez for years, but especially since the Mexican fighter became a champion in April of 2016. With both fighters signed under Top Rank Promotions, a matchup between the two of them was inevitable. Following his last fight, a TKO victory over Alan Campa, Hart made it clear what he wanted next: “I’m ready for Gilberto Ramirez.”
In an interview with FIGHT SPORTS days before his world title shot, Hart is ready for an all-out war, because he knows that is what Ramirez plans to bring to him.
“I see a tough fight with Gilberto,” Hart said. “I think he’s going to bring it. He doesn’t want to give his title up easy, so he’s not going to lay down. This is gonna be a very tough, grueling fight. But God blessed me to come out the winner, and that’s what I’m gonna be.”
The champion, however, has also been keeping a close eye on the man he’ll step into the ring with. Ramirez has known that he would eventually face Hart, and has studied him for years in preparation for this title defense.
“I’ve been watching Jesse two or three years before because I knew he would be my opponent one day,” Ramirez said. “His style is boxing, he tries to catch people with the uppercut and counterpunches. But we’ve made a plan for him. We made a really good plan.”
Though he speaks of Hart with the respect of a champion that isn’t taking his opponent lightly, Ramirez has been critical of the American challenger’s style in the past. He’s labeled him a “runner”, a term often lobbied at boxers who choose a more calculated approach rather than engaging in a slugfest.
Hart has heard these criticisms, but he refuses to let them enter his mind once he enters the ring. He’s worked too hard to allow personal insults to affect the way he fights, and any bad blood between he and Ramirez is no longer a focal point. In fact, he refuses to issue any disparaging remarks back at the champion.
“I let [the insults] roll off my back because I don’t want to be zoned in on what they’re saying and not prepare for them,” Hart said. “I don’t want the actual fight to slip my mind. Like I said, everything that Gilberto has been saying about me, I don’t have anything derogatory to say about the champ. I think he’s great.”
The most important difference between Hart and Ramirez is also the most obvious: one of them is chasing something, and the other already has it.
Hart believes that being the challenger, he’s the hungrier of the two fighters.
“Gilberto, this is his second defense, so he’s gotten there,” Hart said. “He’s already accomplished being champion of the world. So anything now is extra. Everybody that’s coming up for a world title is hungry. I’m a kid that comes from poverty, so I’m always gonna be hungry. That’s just in me. I’m definitely the hungrier guy here.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the champion offered a different perspective. Ramirez discussed the newfound pressure that comes with being a world titleholder and knowing that there is a host of contenders wishing to knock him from the top. That feeling is a motivating one unlike anything he’s experienced before.
“Everything changed [when I became champion] because everyone wants to take my belt,” Ramirez said. “I’m feeling more hungry than before because of that reason: everybody wants to take my belt.”
Jesse Hart challengers Gilberto Ramirez for his WBO super-middleweight title on Friday, September 22 at the Convention Center in Tuczon, Arizona.