BoxingFight Previews

Trumps Provides Game Cast Of Holyfield vs. Belfort, Info on Oscar Valdez vs. Robson Conceicao

Triller PPV

Vitor Belfort vs. Evander Holyfield

Saturday, September 11th, Triller PPV – Fite TV – 4 PM PST

This feels weird. Oscar De La Hoya announced last Friday, he had COVID-19 and was unable to return to the ring. Fair play – health and safety should always come first.

Then we got the weird.

Hall-of-Fame boxer Evander Holyfield filled in for De La Hoya, seemingly having Belfort now move up for light heavyweight to heavyweight or some form of a catchweight, as well as the card was moved from Los Angeles, California, to Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Hollywood, Florida, as CSAC would near more time to approve Holyfield for a fight.

This only is a bad practice, I get in big business everything is fair, but two weeks after the death of Jeanette Zacarias Zapata – in which the commissions on both sides should be greatly questioned, a 59-year-old Holyfield, who hasn’t fought a pro fight in ten-years, maybe should have to undergo a few more tests, just to be safe.

I am all for people chasing their dreams, but Holyfield, the best cruiserweight to ever grace the sport of boxing, fighting a short-notice bout, against a man fifteen years longer than himself, just looks strange, and asks the question what are we really doing here?

Triller has to this point been a project that has been just as much about wealth, vanity and attention, as it has been the sport of boxing itself. We seemingly get the most tabloid-like fodder from Triller cards, and yet, I can’t say anything to this point they have done has been bad for the sport. Each card is entertaining, and more importantly, nothing they do is done silently. Even odd occurrences like Holyfield fighting, generates headlines on TMZ, something that most boxing promoters could only dream of getting.

Things got even weirder tonight, as a press release sent to media, stated that Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr., will be at the event, and part of a form of the telecast that is being called a “game cast”.

This isn’t the first-time the Trump family has aligned itself with Tiller, as during a public spout with the Chinese-based app TikTok.

So, Triller has moved a card since a late-replacement 59-year-old fighter could fight, has the former President of the United States calling the main event, as Triller’s boxing events feel like the elite institution to attend not unlike say the Titantic, but without the massive price point.

I am not sure how Triller will serve in the long-term as a steward of boxing’s betterment long-term, but the idea of what they’re doing is simple. How can we get more and more people to look at us – my fear is at what point do we lose sight of sport, as we’re crossing a dangerous line in which professionalism is getting blurred.

I hope the in-ring action is presented as such, as Triller seems geared more for people who like the antics and build-up more than the fight, as the fight itself seems to be the most uninteresting thing occurring around these fights that intersect sport, art, music, entertainment, and pop culture. Thus having Trump call the main event, a President who prided himself on ratings he would get on TV show networks, will at the very least, be a noteworthy antidote in American history.

What I hope we don’t lose sight of is talent, as at some point we need elite-level talent to go along with the entertainment – as I hope this doesn’t morph into a venture of how ridiculous can this become.

Anderson Silva vs. Tito Ortiz

Two former faces of the UFC from years gone, Tito Ortiz and Anderson Silva, will do battle in boxing which seemingly is the new-normal as the money is there currently for these celebrity-type fights.

This is simply a fight for fans of these fighters who want to relive fond memories of times that will not resurface again, and probably more about memories we have about the past that these faces will bring back, more than the fight itself. For me, it is being 21-years-old, and ordering Stella Artois at a bar for the first time, watching Tito Ortiz fight Ken Shamrock, once again. I think I will be brought back more to those types of memories than any deep thought on what actually happens in this bout.

Andy Vences vs. Jono Carroll

The best fight and most meaningful fight on this card is San Jose, California’s Andy Vences taking on Jono Carroll, which will create a world title contender in the 130 lbs division.

Vences, who lost his last bout, hired Charles Perales, who lives in Hollister, California, and bought a new home since his last bout. Vences seems very focused, and his greatest performance as a pro, was against Erick De Leon, and Carroll has some of those traits, though I personally think Carroll is the toughest opponent Vences has fought to date.

Carroll has fought the higher level of competition facing names like Tevin Farmer and Scott Quigg, and Carroll also has knockout wins in two-out-of-his-last-three bouts, as he appears to be turning the corner in his career. Carroll has struggled against good movers but loves to stay active and target the body.

This is a fight you really shouldn’t miss since both guys have so much on the line.

David Haye vs. Joe Fournier

David Haye is fighting a really rich man. Joe Fournier is a multi-millionaire, who is facing one of the better cruiserweights of the past 15-years in a heavyweight bout. The bout which is exhibition should provide some form of entertainment, and I hope David Haye’s Achilles are in a decent place, as he was forced to retire due to injuries.

What A Mess…

Oscar Valdez fights Robson Conceicao, Friday, September 10th, at 7 PM PST on ESPN

In typically boxing fashion, a seemingly heroic and happy moment for Oscar Valdez, who will be returning to Tucson, Arizona, his adopted hometown, in which Valdez spent his elementary school years at, will be ruined as this heartwarming story of Valdez getting a homecoming after defeating Miguel Berchelt as an underdog is overshadowed by a confusing positive drug test, one that neither the Pascua Yaqui Tribal Commission overseeing the fight, nor the WBC deemed an offense to be stripped of a world title rather Valdez is on probation.

The drug in question phentermine, is a word most of you reading this newsletter would have never seen, heard, or have attempted to pronounce more than likely until now.

The main focus of this is to be prescribed as part of a weight management plan. The major argument comes down to how much of a benefit does it provide in terms of training value while decreasing weight and add a boost to performance as it is a stimulant. In short, I am confused, because two people I respect Mauricio Sulaiman and Victor Conte after contrasting opinions on this subject, although I do believe the court of public opinion is very frustrated with the findings, and hold irritations towards Valdez.

Also in the wake of this Robson Conceicao is rather forgotten, the 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist from Brazil, who captured gold in Rio, is not being granted coverage nor a voice as of yet. In the moments leading up to Conceicao’s biggest fight of his life, most of the questions asked to him will be about Valdez’s test, and I am going to guess, Conceicao is not a scientist, meaning he will be asked questions not pertaining to lived experience or his expertise.

The other awful aspect to this bout is not whether Valdez cheated or he didn’t, but Conceicao has to take this fight regardless as if he elected to not fight for the world title based on an ethical dilemma, who is to say he’d ever get a chance to fight for a world title again. The whole thing is a mess.

For me, it is a tough pill to swallow. Valdez has always been a gentleman of the sport, someone who has been an ambassador of good, and I have seen him being just an all-around great person. That being said fair is fair, and do we factor likability into a rule which should be black-and-white.

VADA weighed in on the subject as well.

TV Undercard

Gabriel Flores Jr. vs. Luis Alberto Lopez

Unbeaten 130-pound fighter Gabriel Flores Jr., out of Stockton, California, will look to continue his winning ways as he is closing in on a world title shot, one that should occur in 2021. His opponent, Luis Alberto Lopez, who beat Andy Vences in his last bout, and also lost to Salinas, California’s Ruben Villa. Lopez is a tough guy, who his world-class traits are being awkward and tough.

Flores feels like a future star of boxing, and is not being rushed into the position of a star, but groomed to be that. Why I am so high on Flores is he fights like an older fighter in terms of his ability to fight on the outside control distance, but also target the body and transition in between ranges. Often with young fighters, we see great physical traits, and the skills have to catch up to the physical gifts they have. Flores is special in that he has had a world-level boxing IQ since the age of fifteen, maybe even younger, and now just has to gain experience both in the ring and outside of it, to prep for a world title shot that is in the near future.

Junto Nakatani vs. Angel Acosta

Junto Nakatani is the WBO flyweight world champion, and Angel “Tito” Acosta, is a fighter that Golden Boy Promotions has had very high hopes for, as this could be the fight of the week, yet sizeism might leave many uninterested in this bout based on it taking place at 112 lbs.

This is a super-fight bout with tons of action, yet, we will see if these two great fighters get the respect they deserve after this bout.

ESPN+ Undercard

Raymond Muratalla vs. Jose Angulo

An evenly matched bout that will see one lightweight Raymond Muratalla’s potential for the next level tested, as the Robert Garcia trained fighter, will face Jose Angulo, a very good fighter, who has done camps in San Jose, California, with Ericky Alvarez. This is a fight that is flying under the radar, as I see it as a pick’em type bout, as in Angulo’s last bout I had him beating Alejandro “Pork Chop” Guerrero, but the judges didn’t.

The winner of this will get an opportunity.

Xander Zayas vs. Jose Luis Sanchez

Jose Luis Sanchez’s last bout was a draw against Adrian Granados in an eight-round bout, and it says a lot about where Top Rank feels Xander Zayas is at as a prospect that at only 19-years-old and in his tenth fight, Zayas is fighting a top-20 caliber opponent. This is also Zayas’ first time fighting at 154 lbs, as not unlike last week’s FOX main event Jesus Ramos Jr., both of these young fighters are growing as young men should, and Zayas, who is one of the most exciting prospects in the sport today, will give us a good assessment of where he stands in the division, on Friday.

Lindolfo Delgado vs. Miguel Zamudio

We seemingly have a logjam at the 140 lbs division as Josh Taylor holds all the belts currently, yet Delgado, who now works with Rick Mirigian, and is on his second bout with Top Rank Inc., is looking to have fight fans become more familiar with the power puncher from the 2016 Olympic Games. I see names like John Bauza and Josue Vargas fighters that could be in the future for Lindolfo Delgado.

Smaller Shows

Tony Yoka vs. Petar Milas

Friday, September 10th, 12 PM PST – ESPN+

Tony Yoka is a French 2016 Olympic Gold Medal super heavyweight, who five years after winning the medal, is not being mentioned by most in the heavyweight world title picture, and still mostly fighting in France. The Vergil Hunter-trained fighter seems solid, but it is hard to get excited with so much going on in the world to see Yoka in bouts that don’t directly affect the top-half of the division and come on at odd times in the United States. I know in due time, Yoka will be one of the faces of the division and is being brought upright, but it has been a very slow build so far.

Souleymane Cissokho vs. Jack Flatley

2016 Olympic Bronze Medalist Souleymane Cissokho is seemingly starting to overshadow Tony Yoka, as the junior middleweight picked up a good win on the Canelo versus Billy Joe Saunders undercard earlier this year, but not unlike Yoka, excitement is tempered due to a lack of known opposition to fight fans. Cissokho got up from a knockdown against Kieron Conway in his last bout to win the bout, but beyond that, it is mostly just the hardcore watching.

Filip Hrgovic vs. Marko Radonjic

Friday, September 10th, 11 AM PST – DAZN

Hrgovic is a very good heavyweight, but not unlike Murat Gassiev, it feels like the world has moved, and somehow he stayed at where the earth’s axis once was. Hrgovic, who quite possibly could be taking this bout as a stay-busy looking at the IBF heavyweight rankings, and possibly facing a Martin Bakole, in a number one contender bout, later this year, just has seemingly gone forgotten as DAZN has slowly brought back programming after COVID-19 shutdowns.

Kerman Lejarraga vs. Dylan Charra

DAZN – Saturday, September 11th, 11 AM

Lejarraga is a big puncher from Spain, who has been beaten a few times. At some point, he will be brought in as a serviceable brute to face a fighter who is probably more talented than him but will have to deal with Lejarraga’s willpower.

Sunny Edwards Out

On Tuesday it was announced that the IBF flyweight world champion is injured and won’t fight Jayson Mama. Edwards is one of the most exciting emerging fighters at flyweight.

Callum Johnson vs. Marko Nikolic

Two fights in with Frank Warren, Callum Johnson, who is in his mid-30s is seeing a slew of tune-up bouts thrown his way. Johnson will hopefully get another chance at a big bout in his next outing. This should be nothing more than a showcase.

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Boxing Was A Mess This Weekend

Lukie Ketelle

Lukie Ketelle