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A solid weekend of fights took place as the Holyfield vs. Belfort cross-over match took place. While many combat sports media members were indifferent about the fight, it was undeniable how much attention was garnered for four “retired” fighters on the eve of the first NFL Sunday. Let’s take a look at the biggest Hits and Misses from a boxing-filled weekend.
• HIT: -2000 Oscar Valdez to Win via Decision: Oscar Valdez is one small step closer to putting the connection to PEDs behind him by getting a unanimous decision victory against Robson Conceição on Friday night. Now, the Mexican-born Valdez has a much bigger test waiting for him once we get the winner of Shakur Stevenson and Jamel Herring on October 23rd. The biggest negative from Valdez’s performance is that he would’ve put the lingering steroid headlines in his rearview mirror at lightspeed if he’d only finished Conceição in spectacular fashion. Valdez, like his fellow Mexican Canelo Alverez, can continue to separate themselves from the bad publicity and banned supplement chatter with winning, winning and more winning, as Charlie Sheen would’ve said. A big fight looms for the undefeated Valdez.
• HIT: +900 Vitor Belfort to Win in Round 1: The Brazilian brawler came out as he typically does – guns blazing! Belfort looked extremely confident all week and it showed as he dropped Evander Holyfield after several flurries of punches and then closed the deal with a final barrage of offense. Holyfield seemed extremely out of place, not as a physically fit human being, but as an athlete. Considered one of the greatest boxers of all-time, “The Real Deal” looked discombobulated and uncoordinated compared to Belfort, though that could’ve been cleaned up with a full training camp. It was an unfair test for Holyfield as he filled in on less than a week's notice for Oscar de la Hoya (Covid-19). I’d like to see a rematch on a full training camp, but that’s not going to happen; 99% of the media has written Holyfield’s boxing obituary. At the bare minimum, it’s likely Mike Tyson and Holyfield, who’ve now fought within a year of each other, will meet for their third (and final) fight, possibly this winter or early next year. For Belfort, though he called out boxing’s golden ticket, Jake Paul, it’d make sense for the MMA legend to get in there with Oscar de la Hoya – his originally scheduled opponent. But, in the current combat sports landscape we’re in, anything can happen.
• HIT: -150 Anderson Silva to Win via TKO / KO: It was all but written in stone that one of the greatest combat sports athletes of all-time, Anderson Silva -- who’s well-known for his dynamic movement and deceiving power -- would win. Winning by TKO or KO wasn’t the question, but what round he’d do it in? “The Spider” looked like he turned the clock back to 2010 against former UFC champion Tito Ortiz, who was a fish out of water without the capability of pursuing takedowns – his most reliable weapon inside the cage. What the Brazilian native did - KO in Round 1 - was a +900 line. I thought that the tough as nails Ortiz would have pushed the fight a little later, but he fell into Silva’s trap and was a product of one of the craziest flash knockouts of the year.
• MISS: +115 Holyfield vs. Belfort Goes The Distance: What a miscalculation on my part. I thought that Holyfield, the former boxing world champion, could use his reach advantage and greater boxing IQ to survive Belfort’s expected flurries to make it to a decision. But boy was I wrong. Smh.
• MISS: -190 Valdez to Win Inside The Distance: As previously mentioned for the sake of his legacy, it would’ve benefited Valdez to put on a show and get the W in a big way with a TKO or KO victory. The chances of that happening seemed likely as the undefeated Mexican won 23 of his previous 29 fights by way of knockout. Maybe the pressure leading up to the fight got to Valdez: the undefeated Mexican didn’t hit the gas 100% against a tough opponent and 2016 Olympic gold medalist in Robson Conceição, but won handedly regardless. Either way, the undefeated Valdez is now in line for a much bigger named opponent in his next fight as he continues on the road to putting the PED controversy behind him.
Get geared up for another jam-packed week of combat sports action as we got DWCS (Tues.), Bellator and UFC (Sat.) on the docket.
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