By John J. Raspanti
Last year they fought what many considered the “Fight of the Year.”
It was only natural they’d do it again.
WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez got the better of Jesse Hart for the second time, edging the hard-hitting Philadelphia fighter by majority decision at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas Friday night.
The scores were 114-114, and 115-113 twice for Ramirez.
Maxboxing also scored the fight for Ramirez by a 115-113 tally.
Ramirez (39-0, 25 KOs), a southpaw, moved and fired his right jab to the head and body in round one. Hart (25-2, 21 KOs) started well, landing right hands to the body. He absorbed a left and clocked Ramirez with an uppercut. Ramirez ended the stanza by landing a combination to the body.
In rounds two and three, Hart moved to his left and popped a number of jabs. He stepped in with a jolting right. Ramirez, feinting, came back with two left hands that knocked Hart back a step. His body work was impressive. He forced Hart to the ropes and unloaded. A big left snapped Hart’s head back.
Both fighters landed solid shots in round four. Ramirez was doing more. He clipped Hart on the chin with two lefts and a right. Hart came back with hard right hook near the end of the heat.
Ramirez landed two shots to the noggin in round five. A big left also landed. Hart tripled up on his right. Ramirez unloaded, but ate a number of counter shots. Hart’s uppercut was landing consistently.
In round six, Ramirez continued to stalk. Hart’s plan going into the fight was to box and punch. The plan was working to a degree, but Ramirez’s consistency was giving him the edge. Hart opened up well in round seven. He stabbed Ramirez with a right to the ear. Ramirez bounced and went downstairs. Hart, moving to his left, let fly with a three-punch combination. Ramirez stepped inside and landed a solid left.
Ramirez, bobbing and weaving, fired combinations in round eight. His long jab landed. Hart forced Ramirez into the ropes and fired short shots. A number of them landed. Ramirez connected with a good left in round nine.
Hart changed his tactics. Instead of boxing, he was staying in the pocket and punching. Ramirez didn’t seem to mind. He tattooed Hart with blows.Hart reverted back to staying on the outside and jabbing in round 10.
Ramirez, apparently with some pain in his left elbow, jabbed back, but wasn’t letting the left go. Hart connected with an uppercut. He opened up, winning the round.
In round 11, Hart bulled Ramirez into the ropes and worked. Ramirez was trying to punch through the pain. His pop though was gone. Hart was punching more. Ramirez rallied at the end of the round.
The fight was very close entering the 12th and final round. Who wanted it more?
Both did. A big right hook from somewhere hurt Hart. Ramirez pounced on Hart-fireing punch after punch and ignoring the pain in his left arm. Hart wobbled and looked ready to go. But no, with 15 seconds to go in the heat, Hart landed a crunching left that hurt Ramirez. The defending champion hung on to hear the bell.
“I beat him again,” said the victorious Ramirez. “If I hadn’t injured my left elbow, I would have knocked him out.”
Hart saw things differently.
“It was no contest,” said Hart. “I did everything in the world to win the fight.”