Sweet Science Scene: Controversy, a major upset, a circus show and good fights make for another rousing week around boxing

Michael Rueda
Sweet Science scene shawn porter
Photo: Premier Boxing Champions

Welcome to another edition of the Sweet Science Scene and this last week gave us a lot to go with. We had fights announced, with one being very much wanted and well received. We had a fight many didn’t believe should have happened and ended in a much-discussed questionable decision. We also had a young prospect suffer a beating in a loss and a fight announced for a Monday night.

Sweet Science Spotlight: Oscar Valdez

Oscar Valdez has had a rough few weeks. He tested positive for a banned substance, originally reported to be a diuretic, but, instead, it was a weight-loss substance. Either way, VADA banned it. The fight was allowed to go on after the WBC used the WADA standards as they don’t consider it a banned substance of competition and the commission agreed and the fight went forward. Another set of contradictions that often hurts the reputation of the Sweet Science in the world of sports.

Photo: Top Rank

Valdez took on Robson Conceicao, an amateur rival and many expected an easy win for Valdez. That wasn’t the case. Valdez struggled with Conceicao and was given the unanimous decision with (117-110 and 115-112 x 2) scores. The 117-110 card was atrocious and the judge who did this was admitted a few days later. The fight was tough to score as Valdez was having issues and Conceicao was having success early, but for some reason, Conceicao began to move more and celebrate. At times he didn’t throw a punch. The challenger cannot do that and then complain as he seemed to be giving away rounds. The scoring came into question and what seemed to be a hometown point deduction in favor of Valdez for a hit behind the head. Later, Valdez was given a warning for the same thing a couple of rounds later.

After the fight, Valdez called for the winner of Jamel Herring and Shakur Stevenson and if that could happen, we’re all for it, but for now, Valdez will remain critiqued. His Sweet Science credibility card still needs a few more notches before people give him the respect he wants.

Top Rank’s Gabriel Flores returns to action

Gabriel Flores, a young undefeated Sweet Science prospect from Stockton, California, had much hype behind him as the youngest fight Top Rank had signed until recently. Flores was being marketed as a future star and possible multi-division champion. Still, many inside the Sweet Science were not buying it and many rumors had begun to circulate recently about Flores. As the co-feature of Valdez vs. Conceicao, he had the opportunity to shine.

Flores faced hard-hitting Luis Alberto Lopez, who had won 10 of his last 11 fights. Lopez came in looking for a huge upset and he delivered. Lopez battered Flores, especially in the last few rounds to the point many asked for the fight to be stopped as Flores was taking a lot of hard shots and was busted up. At the end of the 9th round Flores trainer/father told him he was going to stop the fight and Flores protested and was let out for the last round and received a lot of unnecessary punishment. Lopez now has the biggest win of his career and a lot of momentum on his side, while Flores suffered his first loss and now must pick up the pieces. 

Crawford vs. Porter is a go

As first reported by our friend Alfred Hernandez of the Most Valid Opinion MVO Uncensored Podcast, the big fight between pound-for-pound staple Terrence Crawford and Shawn Porter is on, making Sweet Science fans overjoyed.

Crawford vs. Porter will take place November 20th from Mandalay Bay on ESPN+ pay-per-view. With this fight being made, it ends months of discussion if it would occur and if it did, who would promote it, and so forth. We must give credit to the correct people. Top Rank will promote this fight with TGB serving as the secondary promoter and it will be broadcast by ESPN+ Pay Per View. This fight is big and will serve as a legit test for Crawford as it will be the first consensus top-five welterweight he will face. Porter, for his part, continues to show why he is a fan favorite as his resume of who he’s faced is as impressive as can be. As Bart Scott once said, “Can’t Wait.”

Sweet Science Scene Quick Hits

  • Canelo Alvarez Vs Caleb Plant was officially announced for November 6th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and is one of the most anticipated fights we’ve heard about on the Sweet Science scene. It is the battle for the undisputed super middleweight championship — the first in the four-belt era at 168. Alvarez will attempt to become the first undisputed champion in the rich history of Mexican boxing. Plant will try and catch those expectations many have for him as he has shown skill in that ring against nobody of Canelo’s caliber, but perhaps Plant rises to the occasion and shocks the world. This event will be presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
  • On October 4th we finally get Teofimo Lopez — the 135 kingpin — back in the ring. Is he undisputed or not? You can be the judge. He will take on his IBF mandatory George Kambosos on a Monday night. The decision to have it happen on a Monday is due to the venue being located in New York, and they want to avoid any possible conflict with a possible Yankees postseason game. This fight has had its own drama of moved dates and postponements that hopefully when the fight takes place it is at, they are very least a good fight. It will be carried by Triller Pay Per View and will carry a $49.99 price tag. Nevertheless, the fight is announced and let’s hope for a good one.
  • On October 15th, current WBO featherweight world champion Emmanuel Navarrete will defend his belt against Joet Gonzalez. This fight will headline a card from the Pechanga Arena in San Diego, California. Navarrete is one of the most active fighters in the Sweet Science as this will be his 10th fight in 35 months. Gonzalez will be making his second attempt at a title as he came up short the first time against Shakur Stevenson. This should be a great action match up on ESPN+ and, with it being on a Friday night, the eyes of the Sweet Science may just be tuned in. The co-feature to this fight is also a possible barnburner as undefeated Giovani Santillan takes on once beaten Angel Ruiz in a welterweight matchup between two intriguing young fighters. Ruiz is coming off an impressive unanimous decision victory over then undefeated Bobirzhan Mominov. Santillan for his part is coming off a unanimous decision victory in his last fight as well. These two fights are guaranteed action.
  • Triller held a card in Florida and, to be honest, it was bad. I’m all for more and more fights in the Sweet Science but you have to put forth a good card and product and Triller didn’t. Former heavyweight champion, and 58 year-old Evander Holyfield took on MMA legend Vitor Belfort and was stopped. The fight was a real fight and then it wasn’t as we learned it was an exhibition. The fight shouldn’t have happened, and the commission and Triller should be ashamed of themselves. That’s all the talk they will get here.

Not to Be Rueda…. but

We need to show some respect to our women fighters. Franchon Crews-Dezurn was due to face Elin Cederroos in an undisputed match in the women’s super-middleweight division. The fight was originally due on June 19th but was postponed when the headline fighter Teofimo Lopez tested positive for COVID-19. Dezurn was then told it was rescheduled and would take place on September 14th as part of the Triller card. With no reason given, the fight was pulled from the card. Both fighters had their camps and Cederroos had posted her picture with her visa as she was set to come to the U.S. The fight was given no promo and shown little to no respect, which is a travesty because it was an undisputed title fight. I’ve heard many people say they prefer not to watch women’s boxing that they don’t like it and that’s their right. But these women train and dedicate themselves to the sport. Many don’t have the financial backing that the men do, so they do other jobs to make money and to disrespect them like this is ridiculous and a stain on the Sweet Science. One of the reasons used later was an issue with Cederroos’ visa, which is legit if true, but nobody attempted to find a replacement and just left Crews-Dezurn without a fight. I don’t care if you don’t like women’s boxing or not, but you still need to show the women who fight their rightful respect and give them their fights as part of the Sweet Science scene. Many times, the women’s fights have been more electric than the men’s.

Either way, mutual respect for our warrior women needs to happen in the Sweet Science.