There is a Texas showdown coming December 18th called the "Battle of Rio Grande," in which undefeated former IBF super middleweight champion Gilberto "Zurdo" Ramirez (40-0, 26 KOs) challenges light heavyweight Alfonso "El Tigre" Lopez (32-3, 25 KOs), live on pay-per-view from Galveston Island Convention Center in Galveston, Texas (suggested price: $24.99). Lopez has been self-promoting in Texas for several years. He will be riding a ten-fight win streak into the ring in the twelve-round main event. His most recent fight was 13 months ago, when he won a ten-round decision over 19-9-1 Denis Grachev. Before that, Lopez won via fourth-round stoppage against 21-3 Alex Theran.
"Maybe a little but it's not a big deal," Lopez responded to being asked if he was undervalued. "I've always said that in this business, everybody has the opportunity to be seen. Gilberto's beaten quality guys and he's a world champion. I've promoted myself, mostly in Texas, and I'm well respected within the industry. If they really want to see who Gilberto is fighting, tune in, and then make decisions at the end of the fight and maybe they'll change their mind. Otherwise, they should keep their opinions to themselves instead of reading about me on social media or matching up who we've fought."
Ramirez has a marquee name, and he represents a career-changing opportunity for Lopez. "El Tigre" holds victories over solid opponents other than Grachev and Theran, such as Dyah Davis and Rubin Williams, and in 2011 Lopez extended Kelly Pavlik the distance in a loss by way of a ten-round majority decision.
Lopez isn't fighting Ramirez simply for a payday. "Nobody walks into the ring thinking they're just happy to be there," he explained. "This fight will establish me as a world-class fighter. I feel that the winner will be the best in our division and the guys walking around with their belts should fight the winner. Gilberto is a great fighter who has a lot of experience as a world champion. He has physical attributes that him difficult to fight. He's strong and always in great condition. I need to be intelligent, able to read him, and in great shape.
"The fight will be about adjustments. We've both been in this game a long time and at this high level of boxing, you need to be smart and strategic, but both of us being Mexican, it could turn into a brawl at any time. People will see why nobody wants to fight either of us. I'm excited and I know he is, too. Boxing fans don't want to miss it!"