Sweet Science Scene: Boxing is the gift that always seems to take away

Michael Rueda
sweet science maestre fox
Photo: PBC

The Sweet Science is never short of “you’ve got to be kidding me” moments and this past weekend was, yet again, proof of that.

On Saturday, the PBC on FOX card had a fun match-up of Gabriel Maestre (4-0, 3 KOs) and Mykal Fox (22-3, 5 KOs). If you know anything about social media conversations on the Sweet Science, it’s rarely – if ever – in agreement about anything. Yet this past, everyone agreed Fox had won the fight.

When the fight ended, it was clear Fox was the winner. He had largely dominated throughout the fight and scored a knockdown. I couldn’t find anyone who believed any different.

As the scorecards were read, it was a unanimous decision (115-112, 114-113, and 117-110) and it appeared I, and the rest of Sweet Science social media, was right – Fox had won as he should. Except, in the bizarro world that is boxing, Maestre was announced as the winner. Fans and observers were outraged and with good reason. The WBA judges couldn’t have been watching the same fight the rest of us were.

The fight started in controversy as questions arose immediately before the bout regarding issues with Maestre gloves which caused a delay at the beginning of the fight and then the inevitable robbery of Fox.

The decision was criticized heavily and universally. In the hours that followed the decision, social media also raised questions about purported racist social media posts made by judge Gloria Martinez. Martinez, who was also given an award for the WBA Woman Judge of the Year, reportedly made derogatory remarks towards African-Americans on social media last year. Martinez ended up deleting her Twitter account after the posts were discovered. In the aftermath, the WBA said they would investigate the fight and Martinez. But, as we often see with judging issues in the Sweet Science, I’m not confident anything will be resolved. Regardless, something has to be done with the WBA organization as its continued ineptitude hurts the sport and fans – not to mention fighters.

Sweet Science Disappointed Part II

In another shot to the gut, the Sweet Science was delivered blow as a major fight was, again, postponed. With the postponement of Wilder-Fury 3 and the breakdown of the Canelo-Plant matchup, Sweet Science fans were looking forward to the Manny Pacquiao vs. Errol Spence Jr. fight. Well, it seems fans of the Sweet Science can never have anything nice, as news broke of Spence having a tear in his retina, which forced him to pull out of the fight. In his place, Yordenis Ugas has stepped in as he was due to be the chief support of the card either way and his opponent also had to pull out. This fight was one many fans were looking forward to – the young star against the living legend. Now we’ll wonder if we will ever see the fight as speculation continues to swirl that Pacquiao will retire following the fight either way. At the end of the day, we hope Spence has a full and healthy recovery.

The week that was in the Sweet Science

sweet science scene vegas sports today

It was another interesting weekend in the Sweet Science as several cards entertained fans around the globe.

Friday, from Belfast, hometown favorite Michael Conlan remained unbeaten (16-0, 8 KOs) with a unanimous decision victory over former champion TJ Doheny (22-3, 16 KOs). Judges scored the fight 116-111(2) and 118-109. It was a good step up for Conlan, who showed real grit and poise in his win and continued ascension among the ranks.

The DAZN card saw Kid Galahad (28-1, 17 KOs) pick up the IBF featherweight title over James “Jazza” Dickens (30-4, 11 KOs) as the fight was stopped after 11 rounds. Other winners on the card: Fabio Wardley, Alen Babic, and Ebanie Bridges all picked up victories. The main event of Fox between Eimantas Stanionis and Luis Collazo ended in a no-contest following a headbutt.

Sweet Science Quick Hits

After a few weeks without heavy action in the Sweet Science, this week gives boxing fans something to look forward to. There will be major cards throughout all platforms, as DAZN will carry two cards, ESPN and ESPN plus carries one and Showtime carries the other. The Dazn card will be carried early in the morning/afternoon as ESPN plus will be starting at 6 PM ET/3 PM PT. The second DAZN card will begin at 8 PM ET/5 pm PT. Showtime will begin its card at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT. It’s one of those weekends where you want multiple TVs and mobile devices going simultaneously, so you don’t miss any of this great action.

Matchroom will hold their card as the last installment of the fight camp series headlined by Joshua Buatsi vs. Richard Bolotniks in a light heavyweight contest. This is a good match-up for Buatsi as he looked to be active and continue this move up the Light Heavyweight ranks. He is one of the most talked-about prospects from England and with this headlining event, he needs to make some noise.

PBC will have a solid card, with the main event being for the WBO bantamweight title as John Riel Casimero faces Guillermo Rigondeaux. The co-main between Antonio Russel and former world champion Emmanuel Rodriguez could be seen as the opponent for the winner of the main event. The opening fight on the card will be with another former champion as Rau’shee Warren battles Damien Vazquez.

We will have one trilogy bout completed this summer as Joshua Franco will face Andrew Moloney for the third time in 16 months. The current record is one win for Franco and a no contest in the rematch due to a headbutt. Now we get the third and – for their sake – final match. Other notables on the card are Jason Moloney, twin brother of Andrew, as he faces Joshua Greer Jr. in a Bantamweight match-up. Ranked Junior welterweight Arnold Barboza will take on tough veteran Antonio Moran. We also will get the pro debut of the grandson of Muhamad Ali as Nico Ali Walsh will take on Jordan Weeks in a middleweight contest.

The second DAZN card of the day will be one from Golden Boy as Vergil Ortiz Jr. takes on former title challenger Egidijus Kavaliauskas (Mean Machine) in a highly anticipated welterweight match up. Ortiz, the hard-hitting prospect/contender, is taking another step up with the rugged Kavaliauskas. The co-main event is another trilogy of Junior Lightweight fights as Roger Gutiérrez and Rene Alvarado meet in the rubber match to end their chapter with each other. All the cards are very much worthwhile and there are no complaints here.

Not to be Reuda but…

Enough with you so-called Sweet Science fans taking a fighter’s injury as a chance to disrespect and mock the fighter. Errol Spence has had a tough couple of years with the scary car accident he thankfully recovered from and now with the eye injury. For some reason, trolls, I will not call them fans, were quick each time to poke fun at the fighter. It is a typical pattern when any fighter suffers an injury, he gets chastised online. These people call them a duck or say that the fighter purposely did this out of fear. Injuries are a part of the sport, but no fighter giving his all should be put down for it. Many were quick to say he could still go forward with the fight and get surgery after, but not taking into account that he could end up losing vision in his eye and he is a human being, not some show prize for your liking. These fighters have families and deserve to go home to them. If you don’t like the fighter that is fine but quit with the distasteful jokes when one of them suffers a serious injury.

Make sure to check back each week here for the latest on the Sweet Science Scene…until next time: watch out for the left hook!