Oscar Valdez vs. Jayson Velez finalized for July 21 in Las Vegas

By Boxing News - 06/17/2020 - Comments

By Dan Ambrose: Oscar Valdez will be taking a stay busy fight against 13-year professional Jayson Velez in a 10-round bout on July 21 at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. This match-up will take place in the super featherweight division, which is the weight class that both guys currently fight at, but there’s a difference in talent.

The World Boxing Council gave Valdez a #1 ranking at 130 after just one fight in the division. After struggling to defeat Adam Lopez, Valdez was pushed to #1 by the WBC.

Valdez’s manager Frank Espinoza told Steve Kim at ESPN that the Jayson Velez fight has been finalized for July 21. Top Rank, the promoters for Valdez, are still putting together the undercard. Hopefully, the chief support is a good fight because there’s a good chance that Valdez vs. Velez will be a mismatch.

Image: Oscar Valdez vs. Jayson Velez finalized for July 21 in Las Vegas

These fighters have already beaten Velez:

  • Jamie Arboleda
  • Ryan Garcia
  • Alfredo Santiago
  • Rene Alvarado
  • Joseph ‘Jo Jo’ Diaz
  • Ronny Rios

In addition to those losses, Velez also has a controversial 12 round draw against Evgeny Gradovich on his record. That’s a fight where Velez was arguably robbed of a win.

The former WBO 126-pound champion Valdez (27-0, 21 KOs) needs to win this fight to get a title shot against WBC super featherweight champion Miguel ‘El Alacran’ Berhchelt. You can count on the odds-makers installing Berchelt as a heavy favorite over Valdez, given that his chin is no longer what it once was.

The two-time Olympian Valdez is going to need all the luck in the world when he faces Berchelt. That’s a fight that Top Rank is just waiting to make as soon as Berchelt (37-1, 33 KOs) and Valdez get past their preliminary warmup contests in 2020.

Jayson Velez will need a miracle

Velez (29-6-1, 21 KOs) is what you refer to as the B-side opponent for Valdez, and he’s going to need a miracle to win. With Valdez’s weak chin and tendency to hit the deck in his fights, you can’t rule out a win for Velez.

The 32-year-old Puerto Rican fighter has respectable power and loads of experience.  It’s certainly not a good sign that Velez is coming off of a 12 round split decision defeat to Jaime Arboleda (16-1, 13 KOs).

Valdez has had chin problems ever since he was staggered by Miguel Marriaga (29-3, 25 KOs) in April 2017. Known for his slugging ability, the Colombian badly hurt Valdez in the later rounds when he made the mistake of trading with him.

Image: Oscar Valdez vs. Jayson Velez finalized for July 21 in Las Vegas

Although Valdez went on to win a 12 round unanimous decision, he’s had issues with his ability to take a good shot ever since. Valdez was hurt in his very next bout against the light-hitting Genesis Servania in September 2017, and Scott Quigg broke Valdez’s jaw in their match in March 2018.

Valdez looked fragile in debut at 130

Top Rank brought Valdez back slowly after his grueling war against Quigg by giving him a couple of soft opponents to feed on against Carmine Tommasone and Jason Sanchez. However, when Top Rank put Valdez in with a fighter with moderate power in Adam ‘Bluenose’ Lopez last November, he was shockingly dropped in the second round, and hurt once again.

Valdez’s fight against Lopez was his debut at super featherweight, and boy did he look fragile. If Lopez had just a little bit more power, he would have had Valdez out of there.

The referee did Valdez a favor in stopping it when he did because he was taking a lot of shots. Lopez showed that Valdez is going to have a lot of problems if he stays at 130 for any length of time. Valdez would be better off going back down to 126 where the fighters don’t hit as hard, and the division is barren of talent.

Oscar coming off a controversial stoppage 

Valdez should have given Lopez a rematch to clear up the controversy surrounding the stoppage, but he chose not to.

There are only two superb fighters at featherweight in Gary Russell Jr and Shakur Stevenson. The Top Rank promoted Shakur is planning on staying at 130 after his fight this month against Felix Caraballo.

Valdez came back to stop Lopez by a controversial knockout in the seventh, but he had a REALLY tough time in that fight. The stoppage looked like a blown call the way, and it was lucky for Valdez that the fight was stopped. If Lopez had connected with another big shot, he probably would have knocked Valdez out.

Image: Oscar Valdez vs. Jayson Velez finalized for July 21 in Las Vegas

Velez is ranked #10 with the World Boxing Association, and he’s won three out of his last five fights. Ryan Garcia defeated Velez by a lopsided 10 round unanimous decision in May 2018. That fight wasn’t competitive at all in way, shape, or form. The judges had Ryan winning by the scores 99 x 3.

If Velez fights the way he did in his last contest against Jaime Arbodela on February 8 in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Top Rank will regret having made this fight. Velez can be tough, and he’s been fighting at 130 for the last four years since 2016.

The fact that Velez was able to stand up to the enormous shots from Ryan Garcia for ten rounds without getting knocked out in May 2018 shows that he’s got a chin on him. Velez has NEVER been knocked out during his 13-year pro career, and he’s someone that has a lot of good fighters.

Velez’s toughness could carry him to victory

If Velez sticks around for the entire 10 round fight against Valdez, he’ll be able to dish out a lot of punishment and test his weak chin. Top Rank may have stepped in it by making this fight. It’ll be a good thing for Valdez to be tested and potentially weeded out by Velez. Unbeaten fighters should get tested before they’re put in against talented champions like Berchelt.

Valdez’s three years as the WBO 126-lb champion doesn’t mean a whole lot because he wasn’t fighting the best guys. During Valdez’s three-year reign as the WBO featherweight champion, he fought these guys:

  • Carmine Tommasone
  • Jason Sanchez
  • Scott Quigg
  • Genesis Servania
  • Miguel Marriaga
  • Hiroshige Osawa

The fighters that Valdez should have been facing in the last three years are guys like Lomachenko, Gary Russell Jr, and Leo Santa Cruz.

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