Many fighters have that one opponent that brings out the
very best in them. In this case, Ramon had the cross-town rivalry with
Gilbert Ballantine. This is a lot like the classic rivalries in boxing
between Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Marvin Haggler and even in the
heavyweights with Joe Frasier vs. Ali. The classic opponent – they brought
out the best in each other - two Dutch guys going toe to toe. Ramon fought
G. Ballantine a total of 3 times.
Their 1st fight, took place on 8-10-1989 in the Jaap Edenhal in Amsterdam.
Ramon lost by decision. Ramon Dekkers had been fighting in Thailand a long
time. Actually, he had been fighting only Thais. He had been fighting the
Thai way. This fight with G. Ballantine was also a fight with elbows. Ramon
thought that it was going to be an easy fight for him. After all it was with
elbows and Thai rules. Ramon fought like a Thai in that fight – kicks, not
so many punches but only kicks to his body. Ramon had a cut on his eye but
it was not from Gilbert. One week before that fight, he was training with
someone in his gym and he got cut with an elbow.
As if the injury was not enough there was Gilbert’s
unorthodox fighting style. That really caused people alarm in that Dekkers
was familiar in fighting with the Thais but now Gilbert was giving him
angles, giving him crazy moves, giving him all different kinds of things.
And even though Dekkers had control of the fight for some time, that
annoying injury one week before this fight came back to haunt him.
Controversy surrounded the decision in this fight as Ramon lost; but Gilbert
had done quite a bit of good work in this fight with his crazy rangy, wild,
unorthodox spinning techniques. Ramon also gave Gilbert enough problems –
especially with his elbow. Ballantine did get the win on this particular
night but they were going to
see each other again.