WBO featherweight world champion Oscar Valdez (23-0, 19 KOs) survived a scare in getting knocked down in round 4 by challenger Genesis Servania (29-1, 12 KOs) last Friday night, but Valdez was able to get up off the deck and go on to win a 12 round unanimous decision victory at the Tucson Convention Center in Tucson, Arizona.
Valdez put Servania on the canvas in round 5 with a left hook to the head that the Filipino fighter walked into. Valdez was also hurt at the end of round 6 by Servania.
From the 7th round on, Valdez could take complete control of the fight and pound out a 12 round unanimous decision by the scores 116-110, 119-111, and 117-109. The result of the fight might have been different if Servania had kept throwing punches, but he stopped throwing after hurting Valdez in the 6th. Valdez did an excellent job of clinching and moving to keep Servania from landing too often.
Servania came into the fight rated No.4 by the World Boxing Organization. He wasn’t supposed to do this well against Valdez. That was the surprise. But it seemed like whenever Servania would hit Valdez with a good shot, he would have him in trouble. That’s not a good sign for Valdez’s future.
Top Rank is counting on Valdez developing into a huge star in boxing. But Valdez’s last 2 performances against Servania and Miguel Marriaga indicate that he’s not that kind of talent. It might be a clever idea for Top Rank to put Valdez on the shelf for 8-12 months to see if his ability to take hard shots will improve. Maybe he was hurt by Marriaga last time, and did something to him to make him vulnerable to taking shots. Whatever the case, the way Valdez is fighting now, he would be no match for the good fighters in the featherweight division.
Valdez could possibly be fine if Top Rank is going to keep him isolated in defending against just the WBO contenders. But if Top Rank is going to match Valdez against the best in the featherweight division like Gary Russell, Leo Santa Cruz, Joseph Diaz Jr., Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg, I see him coming apart immediately. Valdez is a good Arturo Gatti type slugger, but he’s clearly not a world champion level guy.
Valdez is a belt holder at this point, and not a star level fighter. But look what Golden Boy Promotions has done with Saul Canelo Alvarez. He’s not the best in the middleweight division, as we saw in his controversial draw against Gennady Golovkin, and he’s a money maker. Top Rank might be able to do the same with Valdez if they match him carefully the way Golden Boy has done with Canelo by putting him in with old guys, and waiting out GGG until he got older before making the fight.
WBO World super middleweight champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (36-0, 24 KOs) was hurt badly several times in the process of beating #1 ranked WBO contender “Hard Work” Hart (22-1, 18 KOs) in beating him by a 12 round unanimous decision in the co-feature bout.
Ramirez was given credit for knocking Hart down in round after hurting him with a big shot. On replay, Ramirez clearly pushed Hart to the canvas. Referee Mike Ortega let the knockdown stand, as it was a judgmental thing. Would Hart have gone down if not for the push? I don’t think he would have, but Hart was hurt enough to where he likely would have gone down after one or two more punches.
Hart was hurt as well in round 4, but he stayed on his feet despite taking some tremendous shots.
As the fight went into the second half of the contest, Ramirez began to fade, and Hart was able to come on and have moments. Hart landed a lot of big uppercuts that Ramirez was forced to take. Ramirez was hurt in the 11th round, and again in the 12h. However, Ramirez finished strong in hurting Hart with a left hand in the final seconds of the round.
The final scores were 115-112, 115-112, and 114-113. It was close. Boxing 247 scored the fight for Ramirez 114-113.
Top Rank should think about putting these 2 guys back inside the ring with one another. I think a lot of boxing fans would like to see them do it again.
Ramirez looks like a very good fighter. He’d be a problem for the other top guys in the 168-lb. division. I’d like to see him fight Chris Eubank Jr., Callum Smith, James DeGale, George Groves and David Benavidez. One thing that I’m not sure about though is Ramirez’s stamina. He has to struggle to make weight for the 168-lb. division, and it’s quite possible that it hurts his stamina in the second half of his fights.
I don’t see Ramirez being able to stay at super middleweight for too much longer before he starts losing due to his struggles to make the weight. I think Ramirez would be stronger at light heavyweight. The problem is the 175-lb. division is stacked with talented fighters with major power. If you thought Ramirez was having problems with Hart’s power last night, just wait and see what some of the punchers like Artur Beterbiev would do to Ramirez. With the way Ramirez fights now, he wouldn’t last long against guys like Beterbiev, Oleksandr Gvozdyk or Dmitry Bivol. Those guys hit too hard. Ramirez is stuck at 168 whether he’s suited for the division or not. If he moves up to 175, he’s finished as a championship level fighter in my view. If he stays at 168, it’s only a matter of time before Ramirez is beaten by someone that takes advantage of his stamina problems and his leaky defense.