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The Sad Death Of Jeanette Zacarias Zapata, and Holyfield vs Belfort Moves To Florida

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The Sad Death Of Jeanette Zacarias Zapata

Sadly, like seemingly always, talking boxing is more relevant than the action in the ring itself this week.

For starters, Jeanette Zacarias Zapata passed away this week from issues suffered from her bout with Marie-Pier Houle. The whole situation is tragic as Zacarias Zapata was a mere 18-years-old, and not one, but two commissions approved her to compete even after being knocked out essentially three months ago in a six-round KO loss in May to Cynthia Lozano.

The major takeaway is the sad truth and ugly truth that is building fighters often sees fighters facing opponents, who are overmatched. We need to demand more from commissions to either step in quicker in these bouts or only approve bouts that are closer in terms of competition.

Oscar Valdez Failed Drug Test Confusion

If boxing was easy to understand, maybe it would be the relevant sport it once was as undefeated WBC junior lightweight champion Oscar Valdez’s positive test for the banned substance phentermine set forth a slew of confusing questions.

Valdez will despite his A-and-B samples testing positive, will still defend his title against 2016 Olympic gold medalist Robson Conceicao, next Friday, September 10th, on ESPN, as the headlining bout from Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Arizona, promoted by Top Rank Inc.  

According to Thursday’s report from ESPN’s Mike Coppinger, the Pascua Yaqui Tribal Athletic Commission is allowing Valdez to compete with the fight despite failures of tests from his Volunteer Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) on August 13th.

To make matters even more boxing, Pascua Yaqui commissioner Ernie Gallardo declined to explain its decision to ESPN.

The major issue in all of this is – nothing seems transparent or by the law, and at its very worst, a cynical person could even throughout accusations of corruption.

It is important to note Valdez, who is coming off the biggest win of his career, a highlight-reel KO of Miguel Berchelt, has expressed he had no knowledge of taking a banned substance.

The major issue here is, we need to understand what the rule is and how it is governed as either, the person releasing this information to the public was wrong for doing so, or there should be a punishment passed down based on the failed test.

The issue is, Valdez is a beloved fighter and a very nice person, and for me, as well many others, it is hard to separate the moral decency of Oscar Valdez as a human being from the black-and-white ruling of a drug test failure.

“Real Deal” Holyfield vs Vitor Belfort

Oscar De La Hoya contracted COVID-19 and is no longer fighting Vitor Belfort on September 11th on Triller PPV. This is the second time a Triller PPV has had issues with COVID-19, as Teofimo Lopez contracted the virus the week of his fight against George Kambosos Jnr, which led to that being rescheduled.

We have now heard allegations and rumors of Evander Holyfield stepping in to save the pay-per-view, but as of now, with no press release, they are just that – allegations and rumors, with no promotional entity sending out an official word – so we don’t take these words with sincerity until we see a press release. Though I did receive an e-mail this morning pertaining to a Triller Fight Club Legends II event at the Seminole Hard Rock Live venue in Hollywood, Florida, taking place next Saturday, September 11th, which all, but assures that it will in fact happen., a very good journalistic resource for fans of MMA has provided great detail on the event, but in short, it sounds like the soon-to-be 49-year-old Evander Holyfield was not approved by the California State Athletic Commission, but was approved by Florida.

Triller’s cards have reminded me of Guy Debord’s “Society of the Spectacle” to this point, as I quote from that book.

“The more he identifies with the dominant images of need, the less he understands his own life and his own desires. The spectacle’s estrangement from the acting subject is expressed by the fact that the individual’s gestures are no longer his own; they are the gestures of someone else who represents them to him.”

Triller has become its own thing which seems to cling to wealth, status, and notoriety, as much as the action inside the ring. Featuring fighters famous from yesteryear, and musical acts, the hybrid boxing event was a breath of fresh air in 2020, and now we’re looking to see how or will they appease the boxing fan. Or do they even care? Triller is bringing the chaos of shows like American Idol or other episodic television shows, to the boxing world, which has been stuck in the same ol’ same for far too long.

In short, is Triller looking to be sport, entertainment, or both, and do we need them to decide at some point? The answer I have is, is the worst. I don’t know?

Triller has been a market disruptor, playing into the NES Classic, line of nostalgia culture as the NES Classic was a small device that played 8-bit video games from the 80s, on modern devices, Triller is bringing back fighters from when we were younger, reminding us of memories we used to have, in hopes we now have more money to spend upon our fondness and familiarity with these fighters, not unlike when a famous band does a reunion tour.

I just hope we get a card on September 11th, as Jono Carroll and Andy Vences will fight on the undercard, and have now put forth two training camps for their clash, and deserve to get paid and compete for all the efforts they have both put in. They’re in the prime of their careers, and these camps are not cheap – the winner of this fight should be in line for a world title as well.

Lara vs. Warrington II Ends In Underwhelming Fashion

There was no conclusion to Mauricio Lara and former featherweight world champion, Josh Warrington, on Saturday in front of 20,000 fans at Emerald Headingley Stadium in Warrington’s hometown of Leeds, England.

Instead, the mood was indifference.

A clash of heads called a halt to the bout after two rounds as Lara was badly cut, and the result was that of a technical draw in which no winner was allocated, and that left nearly everyone in attendance dismayed with such a non-result for a big event.

Lara had previously knocked out Warrington via a ninth-round KO in their first meeting which was viewed as a massive shock.

The second meeting felt like chewing gum for ten seconds and then losing all the flavor in it. In short, not good. I think it is safe to say we will see a trilogy, but for Warrington, this was not what he had hoped for, as this puts further strain on his career.

Katie Taylor Not Invincible

Katie Taylor defended all four of her world titles at the women’s lightweight division against Jennifer Han, but more questions linger than answers.

Taylor is a volume fighter, who has lost a bit of her fear or invincibility after two close fights with Delfine Persoon, and Tasha Jonas, despite an eighth-round knockdown of Jennifer Han, who was less than full calendar year removed from having a child and fought most of her career at featherweight, not lightweight. In fact, Han had only fought at lightweight once prior, and that was this year in a domestic bout in her hometown of El Paso, Texas.

The new question I wonder is, will Taylor finish her career undefeated, and more so will she taking interesting challenges such as Chantelle Cameron, Kellie Harrington, Mikaela Mayer, or Terri Harper, before her career is over, or will we see her career end without any of these.

In short, Taylor won, but I was left with more questions about the 2012 Olympic gold medalists future in the sport of boxing, as well as, the undisputed lightweight world champion, than answers.

Undercard thoughts

Maxi Hughes, a likable domestic U.K. fighter who probably has hit his ceiling at this level, defeated Jovanni Straffon, to win the IBO lightweight world title.

Conor Benn had a rough go with Adrian Granados who evaded Benn and had Benn frustrated with Granados’ unwillingness to trade punches. This was uncharacteristic of Granados, who has been a pressure fighter. Benn needs to improve on cutting off the ring.

Hopey Price picked up a second-round KO over Zahid Hussain, as many U.K. boxing fans feel Price is one of the best prospects in the U.K. scene.

Jesus Ramos Defeats Brian Mendoza

On the last Sunday for some time, before the NFL season is over, Jesus Ramos Jr. continues to look the part of being a top-tier PBC prospect that merits a lot of attention, as the powers that be graduated him to the main event spot on FOX, against a very tough one-loss fighter Brian Mendoza, who is trained by Ismael Salas, the man in the corner of Yordenis Ugas, when Ugas defeated Pacquiao.

Ramos Jr., who fought at 154 lbs for the first time, also is a mere 20-years-old but has a good ability to punch to the body, a tactical style, and a great ability to cut off the ring. In short, Ramos is above average in all aspects of boxing, and is still very young in the game, and could develop into a very good fighter, and most certainly it is fair to see that the hopes of him becoming a world champion seem not just reasonable, but obtainable.

Ramos won a ten-round decision over Mendoza.

The most impressive performance of the evening came from Marcos “Madman” Hernandez, who won a ten-round unanimous decision over a surging prospect ranked in the top fifteen of a world sanctioning body in Armando Resendiz. A knockdown scored to Hernandez in the second round as well as Hernandez’s jab being too much for Resendiz saw the Fresno-based fighter Hernandez getting a major win. Hernandez deserves a big fight as prior to COVID, he was in line to fight James Kirkland on national television.

Lightweight Starling Castillo went to war with former world title challenger Juan Carlos Burgos in a bout that might halt some of the momentum Castillo had coming in, after a great KO win over Miguel “Caveman” Contreras. Burgos was dominantly outpointed by Devin Haney, and Mikey Garcia and Castillo’s performance didn’t reflect either of those two. This fight should serve as a growing experience for the young fighter.

Super middleweight Kyrone Davis seemingly never makes it easy he won an eight-round unanimous decision over Martez McGregor, that saw three points deducted from McGregor which swayed the fight in Davis’ favor, as without the points taken away Davis would have lost the bout. Davis last fought to a draw against Anthony Dirrell.

Lightweight Justin Cardona of Salinas, California fought to a six-round decision against Jomar Robles.

Super welterweight Travon Marshall got an impressive second-round TKO over Maycon Da Silva, despite a massive talent gap between the two. I hope to see Marshall in against a higher level of competition as he has traits that I would like to further assess against capable opponents.

Super bantamweight Michael Angeletti, who was the number #1 at the 2019 Olympic Trials at flyweight, scored a third-round KO over Alexis Salido with a body shot. Angeletti is just flat-out good.

MMA In 500 Words In Less

Derek Brunson’s submission win over Darren Till was only part of the story, as the depth of UFC cards are not what they once were. The culture of the UFC was to engrain viewers in a belief you could not miss any mega-event they put on in the 2010’s, and now at the turn of the next decade, it is hard to find a card that gets me inspired let alone, two fights I am really interested on any UFC card that isn’t a pay-per-view.

Brunson’s win spoke to this as the card, which to be fair was catered to the U.K. market before being brought back to UFC Apex Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, saw Brunson pick up the win over the regional favorite, Till, who is a dynamic interview, and known for some wild fights and highlight-reel KOs, carry the card essentially single-handled, as Brunson took Till down at will, and submitted him once he saw the opening.

The question now becomes, who takes over the UFC, as it seems right now, we are lacking a polarizing figure outside of Conor McGregor, who gets everyone talking? Oversaturation seems to be real when it comes to the UFC.

Brunson is on a five-fight win streak, all of which being the underdog and looks to avenge his loss to current UFC middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, per his comments after the fight.

The other notable of the card saw Khalil Rountree stop Modestas Bukauskas with a leg attack that seemed to me strange that it is legal, as it seems unsafe, and borderline unethical in sport. Thoughts?

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Lukie Ketelle

Lukie Ketelle