Xavier Martinez believes Robson Conceicao benefited from facing a distracted Oscar Valdez on September 10.
Martinez credited Conceicao for fighting well against an unbeaten world champion that night. Conceicao’s opponent Saturday night just doesn’t think Conceicao encountered the same version of Valdez that battered favored countryman Miguel Berchelt on his way to a career-changing, 10th-round technical knockout win February 20 at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
“I think he was distracted by the PED deal because everyone was just on him about it,” Martinez told BoxingScene.com in reference to Valdez. “That could probably get to someone’s head, especially, you know, everybody just telling you you deserve to lose, and this and that. I think a lot of that had to do with it.”
An embattled Valdez made the first defense of his WBC super featherweight title against Conceicao barely a month after his “A” and “B” samples detected traces of Phentermine, a stimulant banned by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, which administers the WBC’s “Clean Boxing Program.” Valdez still defended his 130-pound crown versus Conceicao because that event at Casino del Sol in Tucson, Arizona, was regulated by the Pascua Yaqui Tribe Athletic Commission, which is affiliated with the Association of Boxing Commissions.
All state and tribal commissions in the United States adhere to the ABC standards set forth by the World Anti-Doping Agency, not those established by VADA.
Each judge scored Mexico’s Valdez (30-0, 23 KOs) a winner over Brazil’s Conceicao (16-1, 8 KOs), yet only one of them, Stephen Blea, didn’t see it as a competitive contest. Blea scored nine rounds for Valdez, who won 117-111 on his card.
The two other judges, Omar Mintun and Chris Tellez, credited Valdez for winning seven rounds apiece, 115-112. Conceicao lost a point in the ninth round, when referee Tony Zaino penalized him for hitting Valdez behind his head.
“To me, it could’ve gone either way,” Martinez said. “I think Valdez was throwing the harder shots and Conceicao, at the end, was trying to throw shots that were more of keep-me-away type punches, not so much ‘I wanna hurt him.’ And, to me, I feel like if you wanna be a world champion, you know, you’ve gotta take the belt from the champion.”
CompuBox counted 58 more punches overall for Conceicao than Valdez (141-of-576 to 83-of-390). According to CompuBox, Conceicao landed more power punches (103-of-297 to 64-of-209) and jabs (38-of-279 to 19-of-181).
Martinez (17-0, 11 KOs) hopes a more convincing victory over Conceicao than Valdez produced will help move him toward his own title shot. Sacramento’s Martinez, 24, and Conceicao, 33, will headline a doubleheader ESPN will air starting at 10 p.m. ET Saturday from Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“He comes to fight,” Martinez said. “He showed that he really wanted to be a world champion. To me, I think Valdez wasn’t fully there for that fight, personally. I think Concecaio looked better due to Valdez not fully being there. But Conceicao is a tough opponent and there is a reason why people said that, you know, it could’ve went the other way. So, I take this fight very seriously and I know he’s gonna come to fight.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.