Thu. Sep 21st, 2023

Saturday could add another entry to an already lengthy list of Fight of the Year contenders when Emanuel Navarrete clashes with Oscar Valdez. The two will battle over Navarrete’s WBO super featherweight championship when they meet in Glendale, Arizona (10 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Navarrete and Valdez were originally scheduled to meet in February for the then-vacant title. Valdez suffered an injury and Liam Wilson stepped in to meet Navarrete, who was fresh to the division. Wilson forced Navarrete into a fierce battle, which Navarrete won by stoppage in the ninth round.

The title win marked the third division where Navarrete (37-1, 31 KO) has held a world championship, having also been champion at super bantamweight and bantamweight. His lone career loss came in just the sixth fight of his career and he has now rattled off 32 consecutive victories.

Valdez (31-1, 23 KO) took a stay-busy fight in May, beating Adam Lopez by clear unanimous decision. That win kept Valdez in position to get the fight with Navarrete booked once again.

Can’t get enough boxing and MMA? Get the latest in the world of combat sports from two of the best in the business. Subscribe to Morning Kombat with Luke Thomas and Brian Campbell for the best analysis and in-depth news.

Valdez has held gold at featherweight and super featherweight. In February 2021, he won the WBC super featherweight title with a knockout of Miguel Berchelt. After one successful title defense, Valdez suffered his first career defeat when he defended his title in a unification bout with then-WBO champion Shakur Stevenson.

Let’s take a look at the rest of the fight card with the latest odds before getting to a prediction and expert pick on the main event.

Navarrete vs. Valdez fight card, odds

Oscar Valdez -175

Emanuel Navarrete (c) +150

WBO super featherweight title

Lindolfo Delgado -1600

Jair Valtierra +9000

Super lightweight

Richard Torrez Jr. 

Willie Jake Jr.



Stylistically, this has all the makings of a great action fight. Despite both men having impressive records, neither is a perfect fighter. Navarrete went through hell against Wilson, getting badly rocked at one point before managing to get the stoppage. Valdez has a powerful left hook and if he lands clean, he can hurt and even finish Navarrete.

Valdez is not a big fighter for 130 pounds and will have to deal with Navarrete’s reach and unorthodox style. It might be generous to say Valdez has not looked great in his most recent handful of fights. He needs to do everything he can to be more on point against a dangerous opponent like Navarrete. 

This feels like a 50/50 fight, with Navarrete needing to keep Valdez stuck on the outside and away from range where he can land that powerful left hook. Valdez needs to get inside Navarrete’s jab and force an inside fight. Navarrete sometimes forgets to use his length and instead chooses to mix it up more than he should and that might be what turns this fight. Pick: Oscar Valdez via TKO9

Source link