Ramirez stays in line for world title shot

Gilberto Ramirez kept his end of the bargain. Now he waits to see if Arthur Abraham holds up his end.

Ramirez handled Gevorg Khatchikian on Friday at The Cosmopolitan of the Las Vegas, winning a 10-round unanimous decision to stay undefeated and keep his spot as the mandatory challenger for Abraham, the World Boxing Organization super middleweight champion.

Abraham faces Martin Murray today in Germany. Should he successfully defend his title, Ramirez should be next in line.

However, Bernard Hopkins was making noise Friday about fighting Abraham himself. Perhaps Abraham and the WBO would be able to make Ramirez wait a little longer. But Ramirez (33-0) can’t worry about Hopkins or whatever politics may come into play. He needed to take care of his business Friday and did so with little problem.

After figuring out his awkward challenger from the Netherlands, Ramirez was able to start landing his jab effectively while putting his combinations together to take control of the fight. He did a very nice job throwing hooks to Khatchikian’s body while being able to avoid getting tagged by a big shot in return.

The judges saw it 100-90, 100-90 and 99-91 for Ramirez. He was pleased with the win and the performance.

“I’m ready to fight for the world title,” Ramirez said. “We expected a tough fight. He caught me with some good punches, but I wasn’t hurt. We kept going back to the body. That was the plan.”

To his credit, Khatchikian (23-2) stayed on his feet. He showed a pretty good chin and he never backed away. He simply wasn’t fast enough to stay with Ramirez and wasn’t able to really adjust during the fight to get things going in his favor.

“This wasn’t my night,” Khatchikian said. “He’s very active. He’s very busy. He throws a lot of punches. I just couldn’t get to him.”

In the co-feature, Saul Rodriguez Jr. made short work of Ivan Najera, knocking him down twice in the first two minutes of their scheduled 10-round lightweight fight to go to 19-0-1.

A short, crisp left to the head sent Najera down. His left eye was quickly swelling shut when Rodriguez went right back to the attack. A four-punch combination dropped Najera again, and referee Kenny Bayless stopped it at 2:06. Najera fell to 16-2 with the loss.

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387=2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj

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