LAS VEGAS -- Gilberto "Zurdo" Ramirez etched his name in Mexican boxing history, becoming the first fighter from that country to win a super middleweight world title as he dethroned Arthur Abraham by shutout decision on the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley Jr. III undercard on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
All three judges scored the fight 120-108 for Ramirez, who also became only the second Mexican to win a world title in a division heavier than middleweight; the late Julio Gonzalez won a light heavyweight world title from Dariusz Michalczewski in 2003 in Germany.
"I took to him a Mexican boxing school," Ramirez said. "He was a very, very strong puncher, but he couldn't take any movement. I knew halfway through the fight I was going to win the fight. I came here to make history, and I did it."
Abraham did virtually nothing at all in the fight. He was lethargic and seemed like he was in the ring to go the distance and collect his check.
Mandatory challenger Ramirez (34-0, 24 KOs), 24, meanwhile, was energetic throughout the fight. He got off to a very good start. He was moving and punching, while Abraham (44-5, 29 KOs), who was making the sixth defense of his second super middleweight title reign, did very little early in the fight. A powerful right hook from Ramirez, a southpaw, rocked the 36-year-old Abraham just before the end of the second round.
Abraham spent long stretches of the fight covering up with a high guard and not throwing any punches, while Ramirez was continually busy with his long jab and movement that seemed to frustrate Abraham. By the end of the fifth round he had swelling around both eyes. At the end of the sixth round, a tiring Abraham took a deep breath as he walked back to his corner.
The fight continued to play out the same round after round, with Ramirez punching and moving and Abraham doing almost nothing. Abraham, who showed no sense of urgency, not even in the final round, dropped to 1-3 fighting in the United States, having previously knocked out Edison Miranda in a 2008 rematch but losing lopsided fights to Andre Ward and Andre Dirrell in the Super Six World Boxing Classic.
Valdez knocks out Gradovich
Featherweight prospect Oscar Valdez, the two-time Mexican Olympian, took a major step up in competition and aced his test against former world titleholder Evgeny Gradovich, knocking him out with a powerful left hook in the fourth round in the best performance of his career.
The 23-year-old Valdez (19-0, 17 KOs) was sharp with his punches and began to mark up Gradovich (21-2-1, 9 KOs), 29, of Russia, in the first round. By the fourth round, Gradovich's face was a lumpy mess from taking so many clean shots. Gradovich tried to apply his usual pressure but had trouble finding the faster Valdez, who landed shots and then spun away before getting caught with much in return.
He was peppering Gradovich -- who held a world title from 2013 to 2015 and had won two fights in a row since losing it to Lee Selby -- with ease in the fourth round, when he connected with a brutal left hook to the jaw, dropping him. Gradovich beat the count but was in rough shape and referee Russell Mora waved it off at 2 minutes, 14 seconds.
Junior welterweight Jose Ramirez (17-0, 12 KOs), a 2012 U.S. Olympian from Avenal, California, dominated game Manny Perez (25-11-1, 6 KOs), 31, of Denver, going past the eighth round for the first time in his first scheduled 10-round fight.
Ramirez, 23, who won on scores of 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93, clobbered Perez with clean punches from both hands, but his uppercuts were particularly effective against Perez, whose face was marked up by the end of the fight, especially his right eye. Ramirez ended Perez's three-fight winning streak.
"It's the biggest win of my career so far," Ramirez. "I felt good. I had no problems."
Junior lightweight Devin Haney (5-0, 3 KOs), a 17-year-old from Las Vegas, scored a shutout of Puerto Rico's Rafael Vazquez (2-5, 0 KOs), winning 40-36 on all three scorecards. Haney, trained by Floyd Mayweather Sr., had his first four fights in Mexico and received a special permit from the Nevada State Athletic Commission to fight in the United States before his 18th birthday. He is fast and flashy but a bit wild, but he had no problems with Vazquez, whom he staggered with a right uppercut in the fourth round.
Light heavyweight Oleksandr Gvozdyk (9-0, 7 KOs), a 2012 Olympic bronze medalist from Ukraine and one of the best prospects in boxing, took a solid step up in competition against France's Nadjib Mohammedi (39-5, 24 KOs) and scored a one-punch, second-round knockout victory in his first scheduled 10-round bout. Gvozdyk landed a picture-perfect right hand to Mohammedi's chin, knocking him out face first at 2 minutes, 6 seconds. Mohammedi was fighting for the first time since suffering a one-sided third-round knockout loss in July, when, as the mandatory challenger, he got crushed by unified world title holder Sergey Kovalev.
Blue chip welterweight prospect Egidijus Kavaliauskas (13-0, 11 KOs), a 2008 and 2012 Olympian for Lithuania, laid a beating on Deniz Ilbay (15-1, 8 KOs), of Germany. Kavaliauskas, based in Oxnard, California and trained by Robert Garcia, dominated the entire fight. He hammered Ilbay with assortment of power punches and won 80-72 on all three scorecards.
In a tough but sloppy fight, super middleweight Leon Bauer (8-0, 6 KOs), who at 17 is Germany's youngest professional boxer, outpointed Ilshat Khusnulgatin (12-2, 6 KOs), of Russia. Bauer fought through a bloody nose and took some solid shots but won 60-54, 59-55 and 59-55. Bauer also became the youngest fighter, at 17 years and 233 days old, to professionally fight in Las Vegas. He broke the record of Jose Benavidez, who was 10 days older when he made his pro debut in 2010 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
In the show opener, Russian welterweight Konstantin Ponomarev (30-0, 13 KOs) pounded out a hard-fought split decision against Brad Solomon (26-1, 9 KOs), of Lafayette, Louisiana. Ponomarev came on strong in the late rounds and won 98-92 and 96-94 while one judge scored the fight 96-94 for Solomon.