Once Oscar Valdez failed a pre-fight VADA drug test for phentermine and was allowed to fight — and defend his WBC title — anyway, Friday’s ESPN+ main event with Robson Conceicao was always going to be shrouded in controversy.
Fight night itself left us with some more, as there is plenty of debate as to whether or not Valdez deserved the decision win he got from the judges in Tucson.
Valdez (30-0, 23 KO) won on scores of 115-112, 115-112, and 117-110, the latter a particular source of contempt for many observers.
The punch stats certainly do favor Conceicao (16-1, 8 KO), who out-landed Valdez 141-83 overall, and 103-64 in power punches, plus 38-19 in jabs. Valdez did land more body shots, 30-13, and the percentages weren’t too different. Valdez landed at a 21.3% clip overall, and 30.6% on power shots, while Conceicao was a bit higher at 24.5% overall and 34.7% on power punches.
But much of the gap was provided in the first five rounds, after which the rounds became much closer to call.
Anyway, here’s what some of the pros watching made of the fight and the outcome:
Good fight I thought it was closer tho— Terence Crawford (@terencecrawford) September 11, 2021
It was a close fight but if y’all thought he beat Oscar mannnnnn— Vergil Ortiz Jr. (@VergilOrtiz) September 11, 2021
Even though we know they won’t give it to Robson Conceicao - we all know he won that fight. Argue with yourself. ♂️— Sunny Edwards (@SunnyEdwards) September 11, 2021
So you let him cheat with drugs, then gift him the scorecards ♂️— Sunny Edwards (@SunnyEdwards) September 11, 2021
Hmm Valdez needs to learn some defense cause someone running doesn’t get your face looking like that! Now Conceaio really gave up a lot of rounds showboating, and dancing. But….. the point deduction wasn’t right! But he did have his comeback rounds #ValdezConceicao— Claressa Gwoat Shields (@Claressashields) September 11, 2021
Keep in mind this is oscars Valdez home town and there where some close rounds .. but I think Oscar won this fight, concenceio didn’t close the show and did not show how bad he wanted to be a champ— ABNER MARES (@abnermares) September 11, 2021
Oh Oscar, “best gotta fight the best” pic.twitter.com/O9w3uUm0xX— Jamel Herring (@JamelHerring) September 11, 2021
I just want to say that the narrative of a fight is not how you score it--you do it by rounds. Conceciao won five of the first six rounds, Yes, he faded in the 2nd half of the fight. But the number of rounds he won is how the scoring is done. And the referee added to issue— Al Bernstein (@AlBernstein) September 11, 2021
Que triste— Jaime Munguia (@jaimemunguia15) September 11, 2021
Oscar did what he needed to do to win. But he can’t beat Shakur or Jamel or ME like that. Lol he’s food— Lamont Roach Jr (@OneOf1x) September 11, 2021
I don’t think Valdez won but that’s me on to the next— Tony Harrison (@Iamboxing) September 11, 2021