Gilberto "Zurdo" Ramirez overcame a cut over his left eye to stop Habib Ahmed in the sixth round Saturday to remain undefeated and defend his WBO super middleweight title at the Bank of America Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.
The fight was televised on ESPN.
Ramirez (37-0, 25 KOs), a 26-year-old southpaw from Mexico, came in with a more than 6-inch height advantage over Ahmed, from Ghana, who was fighting in the United States for the first time.
An accidental headbutt opened a cut over Ramirez's left eye in the third round, but the Mexican never let it bother him, and in fact seemed to become more focused and intent on stopping his opponent after he was cut.
Ramirez, the only super middleweight champion to come from Mexico, teed off on Ahmed in the sixth round, getting him cornered and landing one punishing combination after another to the body and head of Ahmed, before referee Laurence Cole stopped it at 2:31 of the round. According to CompuBox statistics, Ramirez outlanded Ahmed 123-22, and 40 out of the 123 landed punches were to the body.
"(The knockout) was really important because we've been training a lot for this fight," said Ramirez, wearing his trademark cowboy hat after the fight. "We were training for the knockout and we made it."
The loss was the first of his career for Ahmed, who fell to 25-1-1 (17 KOs).
Ramirez, who fights under the Top Rank banner, said he would like a unification fight next, and would go anywhere to accomplish the feat, but would love to fight at home in Mexico. "I want to be the best in my division, a pound-for-pound fighter and would (like to fight) in front of family and friends."
On the undercard, Jerwin Ancajas, a 26-year-old Filipino who is Manny Pacquiao's first fighter, won the IBF Super Flyweight title as he knocked Israel Gonzalez down three times in route to a 10th round TKO victory. Ancajas, 26, improved to 29-1-1 with 20 KOs, while Gonzalez, from Mexico, fell to 21-2 (8 KOs).
Ancajas, a southpaw nicknamed "Pretty Boy," knocked Gonzalez down with a straight left hand in the first round and twice in the 10th before referee Rafael Ramos stopped it at 1:50 of the round.