Tonight, LIVE on ESPN, an all-action main event between Emanuel Navarrete and Oscar Valdez will produce plenty of fireworks for the viewing audience at home and live from Glendale, Arizona, in Desert Diamond Arena.
Navarrete went toe to toe against Liam Wilson back in February. Emanuel touched the canvas in the fourth round only to score a stoppage over Wilson in the ninth. The last time we saw Oscar Valdez was in May on the undercard of the Devin Haney vs. Vasyl Lomachenko PPV fight. In one way, Valdez improved from his first performance versus Adam Lopez by not getting knocked down, although he didn’t look all that great per se.
Win or lose; Oscar Valdez has the better resume compared to Emanuel Navarrete, whose best wins are Ruben Villa and Isaac Dogboe. Valdez has been at super featherweight longer, but given the size of his opponent, it probably won’t play a major factor. Speaking of what will play a major factor, especially in this barnburner-slugfest type matchup, the fundamentals. When fans and media expect a brawl full of boxers exchanging homerun punches, the fighter who sticks to their fundamentals usually comes out on top.
Don’t get me wrong; this boxing junkie doesn’t expect either fighter to get on their ten-speed bicycle to run around the ring all 12 rounds. It’s the subtle things that create separation, like not abandoning the jab or being slightly more responsible with combination punching. Think about a fight like Ruslan Provodnikov vs. Lucas Matthysse from 2015. This highly anticipated bout among hardcore boxing fans largely lived up to the hype, yet it was Lucas who did the little things to win the fight. Matthysse used Ruslan’s aggressiveness to his favor using footwork to avoid enough power shots coming from Provodnikov to earn the decision.
On his way up from prospect to contender and eventually champion (even after he defeated Dogboe), certain flaws in Navarrete’s game seemed it was just a matter of time until someone exposed them. His lack of defense (not that Valdez is an above-average defender) and a tendency to throw punches from way too far away appeared to make him a sitting duck at times. The uppercut comes to mind as it was mind-boggling how Navarrete would leave himself so wide open yet still land the punch effectively even though he threw it from so far away.
Navarrete is very awkward so it will take Oscar some time which equals patience in order to time him coming inside. Navarrete’s high punch output can be a hand full to deal with, as well as his ability to change the trajectory of a punch in mid-flight. Oscar Valdez has already proven he will engage in a war and is not afraid to take a punch to deliver a cleaner blow. He’s shown he can be knocked down and hurt only to summon the strength mentally and physically to overcome.
Beyond the pockets of success he had in his first loss at the paid ranks, Shakur Stevenson is the only fighter to basically shut him down. As far as power punching, some folks in the boxing community mentioned a decrease in Oscar Valdez in the bouts following a failed drug test in his fight with Robson Conceicao. When fully focused on the task at hand, Oscar is a fairly accurate puncher with the power to gain respect from fighters regardless of whether he still has a one-punch knockout punch.
This boxing podcaster agrees with the vast majority predicting machismo mayhem. Barring an early knockout, there’s really no way we boxing fans won’t be treated to a spirited scrap featuring an abundance of two-way action. Oscar will lead with his jab using footwork to circle around a coming forward Navarrete. Although Emanuel has a sizable reach on Valdez, he won’t spend much time using his advantage. Valdez has to show restraint in getting into exchanges as much as possible.
After a frame or two that’s when we will see Navarrete land looping bombs that shell up Valdez in the middle of the ring or on the ropes. A tight shell is a must for Valdez as long as he doesn’t stay in that shell for too long of stretches. Jab variation, pot shots with the right hand, and using both hands to land to the body is what will get Oscar Valdez’s hand raised this Saturday. It won’t be a walk in the park, and he very well may kiss the canvas, but the better overall boxer who can always go back to the basics is Oscar Valdez. As long as Valdez isn’t hell-bent on landing combos that will result in Oscar taking unnecessary damage, he should win via highly competitive decision.
My Official Prediction is Oscar Valdez by Majority Decision.
PODCAST LINK: #NavarreteValdez Preview & Predictions! #PaulDiaz Recap! #HaneyPrograis Drama 08/09 by RopeADopeRadio | Sports (blogtalkradio.com)
Side Note: Anthony Joshua returns on DAZN, as does Emmanuel Rodriguez on Showtime. The most interesting bout on the undercards for me is Travon Marshall vs. Gabriel Maestre.
Written by Chris Carlson, Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio