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Felix Verdejo vs. Masayoshi Nakatani on Dec.12th on ESPN

Felix Verdejo

By Chris Williams: Felix ‘El Diamante’ Verdejo will be facing Masayoshi Nakatani in a 10-round fight in the co-feature spot on Top Rank’s December 12th card on ESPN in ‘The Bubble’ at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The main event still needs to be hashed out, according to Mike Coppinger. Verdejo vs. Nakatani isn’t a big enough fight for it to headline on ESPN. Of course, Top Rank could move it up, but the ratings likely would be poor.

For Verdejo, 27, to be in the main event, he needs a better opponent than the 31-year-old Nakatani, who is coming off a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision defeat against Teofimo Lopez last year in July 2019 in Oxon Hill, Maryland.

There were rumors that Nakatani retired after the defeat, which was his first of his career.

Previously, WBC super featherweight champion Miguel Berchelt was making a defense against Oscar Valdez, but the fight won’t be happening. Berchelt tested positive for COVID-19, and he won’t be fighting for a while.

Felix Verdejo

The Puerto Rican 2012 Olympian Verdejo (27-1, 17 KOs) started his career with huge expectations after a glittering amateur career. However, the slow glacial progress in Verdejo’s career development led to him failing to advance.

There were too many soft opponents fed to Verdejo, and he looked like he was wasting his career. After six years as a pro, Verdejo suffered an embarrassing 10th round knockout against journeyman Antonio Lozada Torres.

Since that loss, Verdejo has won his last four fights, albeit against more weak opposition. Interestingly, Top Rank didn’t put Verdejo back in with Torres to have him try and avenge the loss.

For a fighter with as much hype as Verdejo has had in the past, an obvious move should have been for him to at least try and avenge his loss.

Verdejo has looked good as of late, knocking out the light-hitting Will Madera in the first round last July in ‘The Bubble’ at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Madera wasn’t a good enough fighter to tell if Verdejo has improved since his loss to Torres. Verdejo’s jab and power shots looked good, but they always have. His problem is with he gets hit back by fighters that don’t show fear. In both words, Verdejo can dish it out, but he doesn’t seem to take it.

Top Rank isn’t going to discover anything about Verdejo by putting him in with the lanky, weak-punching Nakatani (18-1, 12 KOs).

Felix Verdejo

Verdejo will likely win a one-sided 10 round unanimous decision, but he could still fall apart when he’s eventually matched against a lightweight with power, courage, and talent.

Nakatani gave Teofimo Lopez a hard time in losing a 12 round unanimous decision against him last year in July. The one-sided scoring didn’t tell the whole story of the fight, as it was closer than how the three judges scored it.

They had it 118-110, 119-109, and 118-110. Boxing News 24 had it scored as a draw at 114-114. As you would guess, Teofimo was the A-side in that fight.

Did that affect how the judges scored the contest? You be the judge of that. But if Nakatani did retire after that loss, you can’t blame him. He had to have been disappointed in not at least being given a draw.

“Sources tell The Athletic that Felix Verdejo is set to fight Masayoshi Nakatani on Dec. 12 in the ESPN co-feature, and Top Rank VP Carl Moretti confirmed to me that the deal is done. Top Rank is still looking for a new main event to replace Miguel Berchelt-Oscar Valdez,” said @MikeCoppinger.

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