Oscar Valdez came out of a hard battle with Genesis Servania tonight still in possession of the WBO featherweight title belt, winning a clear decision on scores of 116-110, 117-109, and (an announced, possibly wrong) 119-111. BLH had the fight 115-111 for Valdez.
Valdez (23-0, 19 KO) found himself on the canvas in round four, clipped by a shot from Servania (29-1, 12 KO) that caught Valdez being careless. But it was a knockdown all the same, and the underdog challenger from the Philippines used it to fight with serious confidence — for the next round or so.
In the fifth, Valdez, 26, came back with a knockdown of his own, decking Servania, also 26, and hurting him significantly. But the aggressive, forward-marching Servania hung in and survived the round, and kept himself in the fight for the next couple of rounds before Valdez truly took over, making adjustments and taking away the one-dimensional but solid attack of Servania.
In the end, we saw a good fight in this ESPN main event, with Valdez proving once more that he’s a great TV fighter, vulnerable and flawed, but also powerful, aggressive, and exciting to watch. Servania did himself proud, too, in his first fight on U.S. soil, hanging in with a rising star and doing some good work.
Zurdo (apparently Gilberto is out and the nickname is in) Ramirez retained his WBO super middleweight title with a hard-fought victory over a very game challenger in Jesse Hart.
Ramirez (36-0, 24 KO) won on scores of 114-113, 115-112, and 115-112. BLH had it just a bit wider but still competitive at 116-111 for Ramirez. It was quite a showing for Hart (22-1, 18 KO), who had never fought at the top level before this outing, and was dropped in the second round on a great shot.
Hart, 28, survived the round on unsteady legs, and clawed his way back into the fight as it went on, finding a way to settle things down and land some really good uppercuts. Unfortunately for him, the 26-year-old Ramirez proved up to the task of taking those shots.
Overall, this was an intriguing, entertaining fight where I think both come out as winners, Ramirez for actually winning, and Hart showing he can compete at this level. With a little more polish and big fight experience, he could be a serious problem for a lot of fighters at 168. He was already plenty for Ramirez to handle tonight.
Belfast featherweight prospect Michael Conlan improved to 4-0 (4 KO) in his young pro career, stopping overmatched Kenny Guzman (3-1, 1 KO) at 2:59 of the second round. By the time the fight was stopped, Guzman was battered and bloodied, but it wasn’t all one way, as he gave some back to Conlan in what was really a quick little slugfest of a fight.
Conlan dropped Guzman, who did get up, but referee Wes Melton wisely stopped the fight before things got any worse. The 25-year-old Conlan is clearly being pushed by Top Rank as a potential star, and so far he’s doing what he can to live up to that.