By Dan Ambrose: Oscar Valdez says he’ll be ready to challenge Emanuel Navarrete for his newly won WBO super featherweight title in May at the earliest.
It’ll be up to Navarrete (37-1, 31 KOs) and his promoters at Top Rank if they want to make the fight with the #2 WBO-ranked Valdez (30-1, 23 KOs) or if they want to wait until the summer or later before making the fight.
The way that the former two-division world champion Navarrete struggled against Liam Wilson (11-2, 7 KOs) last Friday night, it would be a good idea for Top Rank to make the fight with Valdez as soon as possible in May.
Navarrete is too flawed, flabby, and beatable for him to hold onto his WBO belt for any length of time without help from Top Rank in selecting fodder-level fighters that pose no threat to beating him.
Top Rank has done an admirable job with their match-making for Navarrete, keeping him away from the talented opposition to capture two paper titles, but that’s also why he’s not a popular fighter in the U.S.
In other words, what we saw with Navarrete essentially feasting on tomato cans at 122 & 126 and not facing guys that could potentially beat him like Robeisy Romero, Shakur Stevenson, Stephen Fulton, Brandon Figueroa, Mauricio Lara, Murodjon Akhmadaliev & Luis Lopez.
You can argue that most, if not all, of those fighters, would beat Navarrete and make him look really bad in the process. Again, kudos to Top Rank for their great match-making for Navarrete because he’s been protected just like Ryan Garcia and Jaime Munguia.
Last Friday night, Navarrete, 28, captured the vacant WBO 130-lb title with a come-from-behind ninth-round technical knockout of Liam Wilson at the Desert Diamond Arena, Glendale, Arizona.
Navarrete was knocked down in the fourth round and barely avoided being knocked out by spitting out his mouthpiece to give him time to recover when he was badly hurt.
Wilson also had Navarrete hurt in the sixth round after rocking him with a left hook to the head.
Oscar Valdez will be ready in May for Navarrete
“I want to congratulate ‘Vaquero’ [Navarrete] for becoming a three-division champion. He did a great job. He got me a little worried at first when he got dropped,” said Oscar Valdez to Fight Hub TV, moments after Emanuel Navarrete’s ninth round TKO win over Liam Wilson in Glendale, Arizona.
“I’m still not in camp because I don’t have a fight date. As soon as I get a fight date, I’ll go back with Eddy Reynoso and start working out for whatever date they give me. I’ll be ready in the next two months. In May, I’ll be ready,” said Valdez.
“He won, he did a great job, and he came back strong. Obviously, we saw a couple of flaws, but you can never be too confident with someone like ‘Vaquero,’ who carries a punch, who starts from less to more,” Valdez continued about Navarrete.
“We’re going to be ready. We’re going to go back to the gym, and hopefully, that fight happens this year. Anytime. If it’s May, if it’s August, whenever. We just want to step in the ring again,” Oscar said when asked when he’ll be ready to fight Navarrete.
Navarrete will decide
“It all depends on him,” said Valdez about when he’ll challenge Navarrete for his WBO super featherweight title. “If he wants to fight right away. It’s going to be almost a year since I haven’t fought since my last fight against Shakur. Obviously, I want to come back strong. I just want to come back and fight, and I’m willing to do it.
“It doesn’t matter who I fight. I always picture myself winning. It doesn’t matter. If he’s going to say I’m going to fight Manny Pacquiao, I’m always going to visualize myself winning.
“So obviously, if I fight Vaquero, I’m going to visualize myself winning. We just got to work hard. You can’t get confident with a fighter like him, who carries a punch. He starts slow, but he finishes strong.
“I always visualize myself winning no matter what. Styles make fights, and Vaquero is a completely different fighter from Berchelt. They both throw a hard punches, but they throw different punches. So I can’t get too confident with Vaquero. He’s a tough fighter, I give him much respect, but I’m coming strong for that belt,” Valdez said.