SAN DIEGO, Calif., September 23, 2017 – Two time Mexican Olympian and WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez (23-0, 19 KOs) now living in Tucson gave his home town fans something to cheer in an action packed title defense, coming out with a unanimous decision against previously undefeated challenger Genesis Servania (29-1, 12 KOs) of the Philippines. Scores were 119-109, 117-109, and 116-110.
When both fighters hit the canvas and both get to the final bell throwing bombs, you know you’ve gotten your money’s worth from a fight. Valdez was the first to go down in the fourth, caught open by Servania with a nice left hook. Valdez returned the favor with a perfectly thrown left hook landing flush to Servania’s face. Tried as he could, he wasn’t able to close the show.
Credit to Servania for being plenty tough, and he made Valdez eat a lot of punches. Valdez still has things to work on, and he admitted as much after the fight. Servania is a nothing fancy fighter, but he throws a good punch and he’s tough and determined. American fans will welcome seeing him again.
A suggested opponent for Valdez is Ireland’s Carl Frampton, but he might be better off going after England’s Lee Selby and his title instead, since Selby seems to have trouble finding opponents.
On the undercard, WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (36-0, 24 KOs) from Mazatlan, Mexico remained undefeated against mandatory challenger Jesse “Hard Work” Hart (22-1, 18 KOs) of Philadelphia.
It seemed Ramirez would make it an early evening after dropping Hart in the third round with a thunderous right hand. Hart got to his feet, barely, with two minutes left in the round. Amazingly Hart survived. After a few wobbly rounds, Hart got his wits together and his feet back under him. He fought his way back little by little, and landed some impressive punches of his own. Hart’s sheer determination and iron will kept him in the fight and made it close on the cards in the end. Scores were 115-113, and 114-113 X 2, a much narrower margin than anyone imagined and a fair depiction of the fight.
Hart, the son of Philadelphia boxing legend Eugene “Cyclone” Hart trained by his father, kept the fight closer than most people expected. He deserves additional opportunities to test himself against other super middleweight contenders. Hart’s effort meant far more to fans than the loss on his record.
The highlight of the night came from popular Irish Olympian Michael Conlan (4-0, 4 KOs), who made quick work of journeyman and part-time boxer/carpenter Kenny Guzman on Montana. Although he appeared to be the bigger man in the ring with plenty of strength, it was Conlan who dropped Guzman with a right hand blast, dropping Guzman to the canvas late in the second round, and the fight ended at 2:59 of the second round. Conlan is scheduled to appear again on the Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux undercard at Madison Square Garden on December 9.
American Olympian Michaela Meyer won an impressive third round stoppage against Allison Martinez to improve her professional record to 2-0 with two KOs. After just two rounds, Meyer had inflicted so much damage on Martinez that her corner waved off the fight.
Bob Arum of Top Rank made a smart decision to partner with ESPN and deliver quality fight cards on regular cable TV to hardcore and casual fans alike. But when ESPN commits to live boxing, it should commit to starting on time on the main channel as scheduled.
Instead, for the second time the televised bouts were delayed and then hopscotched across secondary ESPN channels while the main channel was tied up with the conclusion of a slow as molasses baseball game, which then dragged on into extra innings. Hardcore fans are determined enough to find the fights, but casual fans miss out. Wasn’t this the point of the ESPN partnership? If I was Arum, I’d have a serious conversation with the powers that be at Disney/ABC who own ESPN about making sure these delays don’t happen again.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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