On February 3, Ghana’s Habib Ahmed will take on WBO World super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez of Mexico at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, TX, televised by ESPN.
According to oddsmakers, Ahmed has a better chance of becoming Ghana’s next president than he does winning the world title.
Perhaps these oddsmakers overlooking the undefeated Ghanaian. Sadly, it’s hard to say because Ahmed, 26-0-1 (17 KO’s), is largely untested. He’s yet to fight outside of his native country. And his past five opponents have a combined record of 85-72-3. That’s an average of 17 wins, 14 losses per boxer. Not exactly awe-inspiring.
“Zurdo” Ramirez, on the other hand, fought the likes of Giovanni Lorenzo and Fulgencio Zuniga prior to facing (and defeating) two-division champion Arthur Abraham for the world title. The Mexican has amassed a glistening 36-0 (24 KO’s) record without the window dressing.
In short, this is a mismatch on paper. But Ghanaians have been underestimated before. Yet we’ve also seen fighters with no experience on an international level resemble a fish out of water when paired against a fighter of Ramirez’s caliber.
So, which will it be for Ahmed? Prior to the inaugural press conference, he released a statement declaring, “I have an important message for Gilberto Ramirez. I am coming to America to take your title. I am going for the knockout. All of Ghana and all of my fans are going to be so proud, so happy. This is the opportunity I always wanted. I am taking Ramirez’s title with me to my homeland.”
Ramirez can be hit and hit often, as Jesse Hart showed in losing a close decision to him last September. But in order to do that, Ahmed will have to withstand the firepower coming his way, the kind of power he’s never encountered on the road to this world title shot.
It’s a tall task to ask from a fighter who isn’t used to being on that stage. A win over Ramirez would be an early (and strong) candidate for Upset of the Year. Can Ahmed pull it off? Or are we asking too much of him?