By Chris Williams: WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez (21-0, 19 KOs), WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez and WBO super bantamweight champion Jessie Magdaleno all weighed in successfully for their matches this Saturday night on Top Rank pay-per-view at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. All three Top Rank fighters hold the World Boxing Organization straps. You can add Manny Pacquiao to the list of Top Rank fighters that hold a WBO title, as he holds the WBO welterweight title.
It’s just something interesting to know. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum calls Valdez, Ramirez and Magdaleno, “three amigos,” according to ESPN.com.
Also on the card is recent Top Rank signee Shakur Stevenson making his pro defeat at featherweight against Edgar Brito (3-2-1, 2 KOs) in 6 round fight. Stevenson lost in the finals in the 2016 Olympics to a Cuban fighter. Arum thinks Stevenson is capable of winning a world title.
It’s unclear if he’ll ever pan out though, because there are so many good fighters in the sport. But with way that each division is so watered down, Stevenson might be able to become a world champion at some point. He was handled pretty well by the Cuban in the Olympics. He was much too good for Stevenson.
Valdez’s opponent for Saturday night, #1 WBO Miguel Marriaga (25-1, 19 KOs), weighed in at 125.4 lbs. at Friday’s weigh-in. Valdez weighed in at 125.6lbs. This is the 26-year-old Valdez’s second defense of his WBO title. It’s too bad someone like Nicholas Walters couldn’t have been signed to fight Valdez instead of Marriage. Walters at least would make it interesting because he’s got some talent and punching power.
Marriaga is a decent fighter, but he’s not in the same league as Valdez. This is going to be yet another mismatch for Valdez similar to his last 2 fights against Hiroshige Osawa and Matias Carlos Adrian Rueda.
The start time for this Saturday’s Top Rank Valdez vs. Marriaga card begins at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. Where to see the fight? It’ll be televised by Top Rank PPV.
Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (34-0, 24 KOs) weighed in at 167.8 lbs. for his title defense against Max Bursak (33-4-1, 15 KOs). For his part, Bursak weighed in at 167.4 lbs. This is Ramirez’s first defense. He won the WBO title last year against Arthur Abraham, but he’s been injured all thi time and unable to fight. Ramirez looks like a good fighter. He deserves better than wasting a title defense against Bursak rather than a better fighter.
Arum wants to match Ramirez against Gennady Golovkin in the near future. Ramirez is talking about the fight taking place this year or in early 2018. I think Arum might find out the hard way that getting a fight against Golovkin isn’t as easy as he thinks. Just because Golovkin and his promoter Tom Loeffler has talked about wanting to make a fight against Ramirez doesn’t mean it’s ever going to happen.
We’ve also heard Golovkin speak about wanting to fight Billy Joe Saunders, Andre Ward, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Saul Canelo Alvarez and those fights never happened. Ramirez was out with a knuckle injury that kept him out of action since winning the WBO title last year in April. The WBO didn’t strip Ramirez of the title despite him failing to defend it for a year.
Hopefully, Ramirez doesn’t keep ending p hurt over and over again. He can forget about getting a fight with Golovkin if that keeps happening. Golovkin can’t wait for Ramirez to finally get healthy. At 25, Ramirez shouldn’t be getting hurt like this. He’s too young to be breaking down at his age.
WBO super bantamweight champion Jessie Magdaleno (24-0, 17 KOs) weighed in at 121.8 lbs. for his title defense against Adeilson Dos Santos (18-2, 14 KOs). Dos Santos weighed in at 121.2 lbs. This is the first defense for the 25-year-old Magdaleno, who won the title last November in beating Nonito Donaire by a 12 round decision.
It’s pretty surprising how quickly Donaire has gone from being the 2012 ‘Fighter of the Year’ to now someone that has beaten by Magdaleno, Guillermo Rigondeaux, and Nicholas Walters in the last 4 years. I wonder if Magdaleno is still going to be a world champion in four years from now. It seems like the champions have a short shelf life at 122. The one exception to that rule is Rigondeaux, who is still unbeaten after all these years.
The decision by Top Rank to make this card a pay-per-view card is confusing one. They have 3 fighters they’re trying to turn them into stars in the boxing world, but by sticking them on PPV, it means very few fans will see them fight. The casual fans don’t know who Valdez, Ramirez and Magdaleno are, and for that reason, they’re not going to likely pay to see the card in large numbers on PPV.
Normally when you go about building a fighter into a pay-per-view attraction, you want to have them seen on either free television or regular premium fight cards as much as possible so that they can be seen by more boxing fans. It’s only after the fighters have been seen many times and have a large following that you put them on PPV.
Even then, you only put them on PPV if they’re bringing in huge ratings. These fighters are going to have a tough time becoming big names if they’re stuck on PPV and only get seen by maybe 25,000 boxing fans. At best, this Saturday’s Top Rank card might bring in 50,000 buys on PPV in my opinion. I’m not sure why Arum isn’t putting this card on HBO. But then again, maybe HBO didn’t have a fight date for this Top Rank card?
Also on Saturday’s Lopez-Marriaga card is 2016 Olympic gold medalist Fazliddin Gaibnazarov, from Uzbekistan fighting Victor Vazquez (7-2, 3 KOs in a fight scheduled for 8 rounds.
It’ll be interesting to see if Arum keeps pairing Lopez, Ramirez, Stevenson and Magdaleno together in pay-per-view cards in the future. If so, it would be similar how middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin and former 4 division world champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez were put on the same cards on HBO to draw boxing fans and to turn both of them into stars. It worked for those fighters. I’m not sure if it’ll work for Lopez, Ramirez, Stevenson and Magdaleno. If they on HBO, I think they would have more chance of being seen by boxing fans, as long as the fights were non-PPV.