The updated August 3rd Riyadh Season card was released today for the Terence Crawford vs. Israil Madrimov event at the BMO Stadium in Los Angeles. There were some surprises and dispointments.

Vergil Ortiz Jr.’s Absence: A Disappointment

One disappointment is that junior middleweight Vergil Ortiz Jr. is not listed on the card. His previously scheduled opponent, Tim Tszyu, had to pull out due to a cut that still hasn’t healed.

It was hoped that a replacement would have already been found for Vergil Jr. by now, but that’s not the case. Hopefully, Vergil Jr. is put back on the card because he’s one of the younger fighters still in his prime.

Updated Riyadh Season Card on  August 3rd

– Terence Crawford vs Israil Madrimov
– Isaac Cruz vs Jose Valenzuela
– Andy Ruiz vs Jarrell Miller
– Jared Anderson vs Martin Bakole
– David Morrell vs Radivoje Kalajdzic
– Andy Cruz vs Antonio Moran

Terence Crawford vs. Israil Madrimov

The 36-year-old  Crawford (40-0, 31 KOs) moves up to 154 in search of his fourth division world title belt against WBA junior middleweight champion Madrimov (10-0-1, 7 KOs) in a risky fight for the Nebraska native. Crawford is fighting a younger, bigger, and stronger Madrimov in his first contest at 154, and he could be making a mistake, especially with him coming off a 13-month layoff.

Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz vs. Jose ‘Rayo’ Valenzuela

This is the first defense for WBA light welterweight champion ‘Pitbull’ Cruz (26-2-1, 18 KOs) in his recently won 140-lb belt against ‘Rayo’ Valenzuela (13-2, 9 KOs).

It’s a weird fight, given that Rayo has lost two out of his last three contests. When a fighter has a 1-2 record, they don’t rate fighting for a world title. Rayo fights at lightweight yet is being given a world title shot at 140.

This is more about selling a fight to the public than a true sporting match in the traditional sense. In any other sport, you wouldn’t see a team losing their way to the championship game, but in boxing, this is what you get.

Andy Ruiz vs. Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller

Former unified heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. (35-2, 22 KOs) will be coming off a long two-year layoff when he faces 35-year-old recently knocked out Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller (26-1-1, 22 KOs) in a toss-up fight between two wide-bodied fighters.

Miller was knocked out in the tenth round by Daniel Dubois last December in a competitive fight in Riyadh. Ruiz, who hasn’t been all that ambitious since earning a $10 million goldmine in two fights against Anthony Joshua in 2019, will be making just his third appearance in five years against Miller.

Jared Anderson vs. Martin Bakole

The highly hyped but badly flawed Jared Anderson (17-0, 15 KOs) takes a dangerous step up in class against British heavyweight Martin Bakole (20-1, 15 KOs).

It’s surprising that Anderson’s promoters at Top Rank are allowing him to fight a puncher like Bakole because the 24-year-old has been matched exclusively against soft targets since turning pro in 2019.

I guess you could say Top Rank is throwing Anderson to the wolves in a sink-or-swim mode. If Anderson loses, they could cut loose and focus on fighters who are going somewhere.

David Morrell vs. Radivoje Kalajdzic

Super middleweight David Morrell Jr. (10-0, 9 KOs) is moving up in weight to light heavyweight to face Radivoje Kalajdzic (29-2, 21 KOs).

Morrell Jr. had hoped to get a title shot against Canelo Alvarez at 168, but when it was clear there was no interest on the Mexican star’s part or any other opportunities for interesting fights, the Cuban talent chose to move up to 175 in search of interesting fights.

Kalajdzic, 32, is coming off a win over Sullivan Barrera last January. He’s won his last five fights since being stopped by Artur Beterbiev in the fifth round in 2019.

Andy Cruz vs. Antonio Moran

2020 Olympic gold medalist Andy Cruz (3-0, 1 KO) faces veteran Antonio Moran (30-6-1, 21 KOs) in a ten-round lightweight contest. Eddie Hearn promoted Cruz, who has tried to get bigger fights at lightweight but has been ignored. So, he will likely have to earn his way to a mandatory spot before he gets his title shot.

Moran, 31, is coming off a win over Romero Duno. Before that, he was beaten by Jamaine Ortiz.

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