Oscar Valdez has made the news for the wrong reasons last week after failing a drug test – and yet has still been cleared to fight opponent Robson Conceicao this Friday night. Speaking to Vegas Insider, Valdez talks about losing to Conceicao in their amateur days and tells the bizarre story of Canelo surprising him with a $100,000 thoroughbred horse a few months ago
OSCAR VALDEZ: I am not overconfident against tough Conceicao having lost as an amateur.. but I will avenge that defeat
“No one likes losing. I’m a very sore loser. I remember losing against Robson in the amateurs and crying and being upset and being angry at myself. I gave my best effort and it wasn’t enough. I lost by one point which made it even worse. And I remember telling myself that one day I’m going to fight him again.
“When I got the phone call I said: ‘wow, this is my opportunity to avenge my loss’. Robson has a lot of fights as an amateur, Olympic gold medalist, that means a lot. But I don’t go by his pro record. His record shows he only has six knockouts, but I don’t go by that.
“I’m going against a fighter who I remember from the amateurs who hit hard, a tough fighter who gave me a back and forth war. So I can’t get overconfident. In previous fights I got confident for two seconds and I got hit with an uppercut and landed on the canvas and you learn you can’t get overconfident for two seconds.
“So I won’t get confident with Robson, who I know is tough. But It took me a lot of years to become world champion and I don’t expect to lose it anytime soon. When I became world champion I knew I had to become more disciplined inside and outside the ring as well.
“I gain confidence from what I’ve been doing in the gym. I’ve taken advantage of each and every second in the gym. I’m confident, but not overconfident, I don’t overlook my opponent.”
OV: THE BEST ADVICE CANELO GAVE ME IS TO GO FOR THE ARMS. IT ‘BLEW MY MIND’ WHEN HE DETACHED CALLUM SMITH’S BICEP
“One of the things Canelo Alvarez teaches is how to land punches. How you make a difference by just leaving your fist there, like you’re stabbing a fighter. Small things that do make a difference.
“One of the things that most impressed me was when he told me to hit them in the arms when their defence is all locked up. Their arms are going to get tired. Later on they’re going to put their arms down and you’re going to knock them out.
“I haven’t done that yet, but I saw him do it against Callum Smith. It blew my mind. It shows he knows what he’s doing.”
OV: MY COACH EDDY REYNOSO IS A ‘MASTER’
“Eddy Reynoso is more than a trainer; he’s a master, a great teacher. He’s constantly in the gym. He sacrifices birthdays, Christmas, New Years, his daughter’s birthday to be with us in the gym and for me that means a lot.
“Training camp after training camp I see improvement with him. It’s a great environment in the gym, a great team. There’s a great energy, vibe and harmony in the gym because we share the same dream: to be the best.”
OSCAR VALDEZ: GYM MATE CANELO SURPRISED ME WITH $100,000 ‘BEAST OF A HORSE’
“I’m a big animal lover, I was a big Steve Irwin fan; I have an American alligator named Steve. I also have a dog, goats, pigs, anacondas, birds.
“I’m talking to Canelo one day recently about my animals and he thinks I’m crazy because I have an alligator and he tells me he’s going to give me a gift. The next thing you know he calls me and says: ‘where are you at?’.
“And I’m at my ranch and he tells me my gift is coming. I’m thinking maybe some gloves or something. Next thing I see arriving is a big, black Friesian horse, a beast of a horse. Words can’t express how I felt, it’s a beautiful animal. I couldn’t believe it.
“He said he wanted to give me one of his favourite horses because he knows I will take good care of it and I thank him every time I get the chance. I say to him he can come by the ranch anytime to see him being kept in perfect condition because I treat all my animals like my kids.
“When I come back from a fight to my ranch I can hear my goats, horses, pigs all yelling for me. They show me tremendous love and the horse Canelo gave me is the newest member of the family.”