By Chris Williams: Top Rank’s “Three amigos,” as promoter Bob Arum calls them, Oscar Valdez, Gilberto Ramirez and Jessie Magdaleno, all were victorious on Saturday night in winning their fights on pay-per-view from the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Valdez (22-0, 19 KOs) successfully defended his WBO featherweight title in beating his #1 WBO challenger Miguel Marriaga (25-2, 21 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision.
The judges’ scores were very wide and they appear to match the actual fight. The scores handed down by the 3 judges assigned to the fight were as follows: 119-109, 118-109, and 116-111. I had the fight scored 7 rounds to 5 in favor of Valdez. The scoring was heavily slanted in Valdez’s favor for some reason despite the fact that he appeared to lose 5 rounds, possibly even 6.
What made a difference in the fight was Valdez’s knockdown of Marriage in round 10. However, Valdez gassed out in trying to knockout Marriaga, and he had nothing left in the 11th and 12th. Marriaga came on strong to win those 2 cards on my scorecard. In the last seconds of the 12th, Marriaga had Valdez hurt and was flurrying on him.
Valdez and Marriaga traded rounds up until the 10th round. Marriaga dominated the 11th and 12th against a faded Valdez, who looked like he had nothing left in the tank.
The 10th round was one of the best rounds I’ve seen in a long time in boxing. Valdez dropped Marriaga after hitting him with a number of big punches. Marriaga got back to his feet and took an enormous amount of punishment from Valdez. But to Marriaga’s credit, he came on in the last 30 seconds to nail Valdez with some big shots that seemed to hurt him a little. One punch in particular, a left hook that caught Valdez right on the chin, it seemed to take the air out of his tires for the remainder of the fight.
In the first two rounds, Valdez gunned for a knockout by going after the 30-year-old Colombian Marriaga with his best power shots. What happened was Marriaga took Valdez’s shots without any problems, and began to catch him with big shots to the jaw that snapped his head back violently. Marriaga landed the better shots in every round of the fight with the exception of the 10th. I take that back. Even in round 10, Marriaga landed the harder shots. Valdez took the punches well.
Valdez had to switch from slugging to boxing after he failed to score a knockout in the first 3 rounds. Fighting on the outside didn’t work as well as Valdez hoped, as the taller 5’8” Marriaga used his 3” reach advantage to get the better of Valdez. Marriaga was clearly the better fighter on the outside against the 5’5” Valdez.
Valdez was badly exposed in this fight. It doesn’t matter that the wacky judges’ scores. What matters is the casual and hardcore boxing fans saw how flawed Valdez is, especially when it comes to his stamina. The guy does not have a good engine. At 26, I don’t think Valdez is going to have a long reign as the World Boxing Organization featherweight champion. Moreover, Top Rank is going to need to take it easy with Valdez when I comes to match-making, because he’s not someone you can stick in the ring with guys like Vasyl Lomachenko or Nicholas Walters and count on him winning. I think Valdez loses to both of those guys. He was a decent amateur, but he’s not unbeatable at the pro level. With the crazy scoring for tonight’s fight, Valdez might be unbeatable for a little while, but you can’t count on the judges continually scoring fights like they did tonight. Eventually the judges will get it right and when that happens, I see Valdez losing.
It’s extremely doubtful that Top Rank promoter Bob Arum will put Valdez back in with Marriaga after tonight’s match. Marriaga is probably too dangerous for Valdez, and he could use him up quickly by wearing out the 26-year-old fighter to the point where he has little left. I could see Valdez being a shell of his former self if he winds up facing Marriaga 2 or 3 times. For that reason, I can’t see Marriaga getting a rematch with Valdez anytime soon if ever.
After the fight, Valdez, 26, said that he wants to fight a unification match against WBA featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz. I’m not sure if that fight can get made due to promotional issues, but if it does, I would favor Santa Cruz. He’s like a better version of Marriaga, but with the ability to box from the outside. I don’t think Vargas is as good as Carl Frampton, and we saw recently how Santa Cruz was able to handle Frampton in beating him in their rematch. If Top Rank does choose to match Valdez with Santa Cruz, they night wind up sorry for having done so because he’ll beat him likely knock him out. Of course, if it goes to the scorecards, then I don’t know if Santa Cruz would get the nod.
Gilberto Ramirez defeats Max Bursak, but looks poor
Fighting for the first time in over a year, WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (35-0, 24KO) had to battle hard to defeat a stubborn and resilient #10 WBO fringe contender Max Bursak (33-5-1, 15 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision. The judges scored the fight 120-106, 120-106 and 120-106. Boxing News 24 scored the fight 10 rounds to 2 in favor of the stork-like 6’2” Ramirez. Bursak was attacking at all times, but he lacked the punching power and the size to trouble Ramirez. You’ve got to give Bursak credit for taking the fight to Ramirez, because he was outclassed from the outset. He didn’t have the needed tools for him to win. Ramirez treated Bursak like he was a knockout artist by moving away from him whenever he came forward to trade shots.
The last time the 25-year-old Ramirez fought in beating Arthur Abraham a year ago, he looked a lot better than he did tonight. In looking back at the Abraham fight, I can see now that Ramirez was fighting a guy that didn’t even put much effort into the fight. Abraham went through the motions against Ramirez. In tonight’s fight, the 32-year-old Bursak was attacking Ramirez constantly, hitting him a lot and forcing him to work hard. What we saw was that Ramirez does not have much punching power. His punches looked weak all night long. Ramirez also looked tired in the last half of the fight. He was gassing out, making his weak shots even weaker.
This was not an exciting fight. Ramirez doesn’t have a crowd-pleasing fighting style, because he likes to move too much to evade punishment. Ramirez was all arms and legs, as he threw looping hooks to the head of Bursak, and would then dash away from him.
Middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and his promoter Tom Loeffler have spoken in the past of wanting to fight Ramirez. I think after tonight, they might have second thoughts about it, because he’s got a really boring fighting style. The boxing fans at ringside were almost completely silent during his fight tonight, and that’s bad news because it tells you that they weren’t thrilled by what they were seeing. Ramirez used to be a stationary fighter who fought a lot like Julio Cesar Chavez. But unfortunately, Ramirez changed his fighting style in the last two years and has become a mover.
Jessie Magdaleno destroys Adeilson Dos Santos
In the first fight of the televised Top Rank pay-per-view card on Saturday night, unbeaten WBO super bantamweight champion Jessie Magdaleno (25-0, 18 KOs) destroyed challenger Adeilson Dos Santos (18-3, 14 KOs) by a 2nd round knockout. Magdaleno knocked Dos Santos down with a right hand in the 2nd. Dos Santos got back up and took punishment until getting dropped for the second time in the round with another right hand to the head. The fight was then halted. The official time of the stoppage was at 2:51 of round 2.
Magdaleono says he wants to fight WBA champion Guillermo Rigondeaux and/or Rey Vargas in what would be unification fights. I think Top Rank would green light a fight between Magdaleno and Vargas, but definitely not Rigondeaux. Top Rank already had one of their biggest stars in the past beaten by Rigondeaux in Nonito Donaire in 2013, and his career was never the same after that loss. Magdaleno is a good fighter, but Rigondeaux would dominate him just like he did Donaire. I don’t know what Top Rank would wind up doing with Magdaleno after a one-sided loss to Rigondeaux. I guess he could come back from the loss to a certain extent, but the hardcore boxing fan would know about his loss. His stock would drop in a major way in the same way that Donaire’s dropped. Top Rank is better off finding other opposition for Magdaleno to fight and keeping him far away from Rigondeaux as possible. Magdeleno is a good fighter, but he’s more like a younger version of Donaire and would be made to order for Rigondeaux.