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Emanuel Navarrete faces Oscar Valdez on August 12 on ESPN in Glendale, Arizona

Image: Emanuel Navarrete faces Oscar Valdez on August 12 on ESPN in Glendale, Arizona

By Dan Ambrose: Oscar Valdez and Emanuel Navarrete meet on August 12 in the main event on ESPN in a fight that has been discussed for ages. This is a 50-50 toss-up that could come down to which of the two can handle the power of the other.

They were supposed to fight last year, but Valdez was injured in camp, and the fight never took place. Instead, Valdez fought Shakur Stevenson and lost a one-sided decision.

The two-time Olympian Valdez has fought better opposition as a professional than Navarrete, but he hasn’t won as many division world titles.

Navarrete has been maneuvered well by Top Rank, steered away from dangerous fighters that would beat him to help him win three division titles. Surprisingly, Top Rank is finally putting Navarrete in with a talented fighter after all these years. This can only mean one thing.

They realize after his last fight against Liam Wilson that Navarrete is done, and if they don’t match him against one of their own guys, he’ll lose his WBO title against a fighter promoted by another company.

After Shakur vacated his WBO title, Navarrete rose from 126 to win the vacant belt. He chose to wait until after Shakur vacated the title before fighting for it. Given how talented Stevenson is, it’s understandable for Navarreete to have been strategic in avoiding that fight.

Valdez (31-1, 23 KOs) is healthy, having returned to the ring after a year layoff to defeat Adam ‘Blue Nose Lopez last month.

Mike Coppinger reports that the fight will occur at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona.

Navarrete (37-1, 31 KOs) will have his WBO super featherweight title at stake. Although much younger at 28, Navarrete looked flabby and past it last February in his fight against Liam Wilson.

Navarrete appeared uncomfortable fighting at 130 from the start and resembled an out-of-shape super bantamweight. Wilson knocked Navarrete down in round four and might have stopped him if Emanuel hadn’t spat his mouthpiece out.

More experienced referees don’t stop the action when a fighter spits out their mouthpiece the moment they’re hurt because it’s a trick that is used to buy them time to recover. In this case, the referee Chris Flores stopped the action and let Navarrete put his mouthpiece back in.

If Navarrete performs similarly, Valdez will knock him out, and it won’t matter how many times he spits his mouthpiece out. Valdez will finish him for sure.

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