Another two straws were placed on the camel’s back, with the camel representing the sport of boxing obviously. With the recent news heading into this weekend’s fight schedule, long-time followers of the sweet science are left scratching their heads in almost awe.
This can’t be real life, is something I’ve said as a fan over the years, but it didn’t take me long to realize anything & everything can and will happen in this over a century-long professional sport of ours.
The first straw was the WBC skirting VADA rules by allowing their 130-pound titlist to keep his belt on the line versus Conceicao after failing a VADA test. The second straw pertains to a waaaaaaaayyyyyyy past his prime Evander Holyfield fighting a “real” pro fight against a faded 41-year old Vitor Belfort thanks to the Athletic Commission in Florida.
The promoter of this event is Triller, appearing super desperate to replace Oscar De La Hoya after he tested positive for Covid-19. The California Commission would not approve Holyfield as a suitable replacement, so Triller decided to move it to Hollywood, Florida.
Yordenis Ugas was recently a late-replacement PPV opponent for Manny Pacquiao, but he was already scheduled on the card. Not to mention Ugas being much younger and having fought within the last 10 years, unlike Evander, who in interviews at times has trouble completing full sentences.
It’s one thing to have an exhibition which you could argue if Evander should still be allowed to take blows to the head, but now it’s a full-blown 8-round pro bout, according to the Florida Commission reported by boxingscene.com.
Evander is age 58, and in a month, he will be 59. Belfort has been knocked out 4 times in his last 7 outings and hasn’t competed in MMA since 2018.
Lots of paid media and part-time media, along with fans, heaped praise on Triller for its new-ish branding of music/boxing/circus when it hit the scene last year promoting Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. as an exhibition on PPV. Many of those same folks like the over-the-top broadcasting booth style and responded well to something as random as a slap-boxing contest for Jake Paul’s undercard.
Now here we are almost a year later, and Triller is at the deep end of nonsense with their handling of this PPV. Adding injury to insult is the fact that Holyfield had recently filed for arbitration against Triller in search of an alleged sizable amount of cash, so Ryan Kavanaugh and Co. just randomly handing this opportunity is just sleazy.
Evander can do what he wants, just like any retired or past their prime fighter but watching a highlight clip of Holyfield on the mitts was troubling, to say the least. So it’s up to promoters, managers, and commissions to make the right decision and put the fighter’s health first.
Keeping on brand, the co-feature is two old MMA fighters in a boxing match. Anyway, to each his or her own when it comes to entertainment value, but I don’t want to hear anyone in the media or on boxing twitter complain about a legit boxing PPV in the future if they’re willing to purchase this one.
On to the WBC/VADA/Oscar Valdez debacle, this fight should’ve been postponed, and it’s as simple as that. This long-time boxing fan won’t call for the book to be thrown at Oscar Valdez for testing positive for a banned substance that allegedly decreases a boxer’s appetite, among other things. WADA and VADA having conflicting stances on the substance found in Valdez, with the sticking point focusing on “in and out” of competition. The WADA rule states out of competition equates to 11:59 pm the night before an event which is nuts in a sport fighters weigh in the day before the fights. To use a go-around to keep this bout in play without a thorough investigation is yet another issue the WBC has yet to address fully.
The kicker is head of the WBC Mauricio Sulaiman put Oscar Valdez on a 12-month probation period, and if he were to test positive for the same substance, how hollow the WBC ruling is in the case. Mauricio has gone further, putting out a press release on how the media and fans automatically jump to conclusions and run with stories/news without caring about accuracy or facts. That is true in boxing as it is in other parts of the breakings news landscape, sports, politics, or whatever. The problem I have is he continued by claiming we should wait for all the facts to come in. The irony in that statement is laughable, given the lack of an in-depth investigation. What happened to the possible “herbal tea” we heard about, and why wasn’t Valdez’s supplements and diet in general tested to see if trace amounts could be found?
The WBC should’ve handled this similar to when Alexander Povetkin popped with a trace amount of a recently banned substance. I do understand to an extent why the local Native American tribe athletic commission allowed this event to proceed. After all, WADA does deem this substance as out of competition, so they’re following their rules. As for the WBC, there’s absolutely no excuse why they didn’t strip the title from this bout until an in-depth investigation was done.
Side Note: Don’t you dare forget about Angel Acosta vs. Junto Nakatani, which should be the best fight of the weekend. Also, Andy Vences vs. Jono Carroll is an interesting 50-50 on paper, and just because I will not be buying the PPV doesn’t mean I won’t at least mention this crossroads matchup.
Written by Chris Carlson Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio & Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio