Oscar Valdez relished in the afterglow of proving a number of doubters incorrect on Saturday evening, as his KO victory over Miguel Berchelt was as thorough and as spectacular a efficiency as the new WBC junior light-weight world titlist may have put collectively.
After 10 rounds, most of which have been spent dictating the fight in the route he wished to take it, Valdez additional surprised the boxing world by touchdown a devastating punch flush to Berchelt’s face, which knocked Berchelt out chilly and ended the fight with just one second left in the spherical.
Brett Okamoto and Michael Rothstein break down the largest moments of the evening in Las Vegas and mission what comes subsequent for each fighters, in addition to Top Rank Boxing’s calendar going ahead. Ben Baby reacts to Adrien Broner’s return to the ring for the first time in almost two years as properly.
After the largest win of his profession, what’s subsequent for Oscar Valdez?
Rothstein: Valdez fought the perfect fight. An completely perfect fight. From the first spherical on, every part Valdez did was one step forward of Miguel Berchelt, ending it with a vicious one-punch knockout in the tenth spherical, a left hook proper to the center of Berchelt’s face.
How the fight ended encapsulated how Valdez fought all through the evening. He ducked away from a Berchelt punch, rose up and related to ship Berchelt to the canvas.
It was a constant mixture of velocity and touchdown efficient hooks from Valdez all through the evening. The technique surprised Berchelt in the first two rounds, earned Valdez a knockdown in the fourth spherical, a second knockdown in the ninth and then finally the knockout in the tenth.
By then, the solely factor that would have stopped Valdez from profitable the title was a miracle from Berchelt (37-2-0, 33 KO), who did not appear to have a lot left a spherical or two prior to that second.
This win strengthens the profession resume of Valdez (29-0, 23 KO), who now turns into a titleholder in his second division after six defenses of the WBO featherweight world title. Now that he’s a titleholder once more, the new WBC junior light-weight world titlist has choices.
His subsequent potential opponent might need been sitting ringside. The cash fight for Valdez may very properly be in opposition to Shakur Stevenson, the undefeated rising star that additionally occurs to be part of Top Rank’s secure of fighters. He’s additionally the No. 2-rated fighter in the division by the WBC, so it may make sense from that standpoint as properly.
Congrats champ @oscarvaldez56 I respect what you did tonight stunned me.. It’s just one FIGHT to make now!
— Shakur Stevenson (@ShakurStevenson) February 21, 2021
Stevenson-Valdez can be an attention-grabbing distinction of types and a fight that may put followers in the seats towards the center of the 12 months. Valdez was open to it after the fight as properly, even suggesting it in his post-fight interview.
It is the fight to make and appears to make the most sense in the speedy future. The different possibility, if Valdez decides he needs to strive and begin unifying the division, shall be to watch the Jamel Herring-Carl Frampton fight later this spring and wait on the winner of that.
But even with that fight on the market, Stevenson looks like the smarter means to go.
How did Berchelt lose, and what’s subsequent for him?
Okamoto: Berchelt did not lose his title as a lot as Valdez took it from him. Let’s make that clear immediately. Valdez appeared masterful from the begin and Berchelt was surprised and fading by the fourth spherical, when Valdez put him on skates with a left and bought his first knockdown. Valdez might have completed him off proper there had the bell not come. Berchelt showcased a number of coronary heart in the ensuing rounds, and tried to flip the tide with nothing greater than sheer strain and energy.
It was clear, nonetheless, he did not have a solution, not less than not on Saturday, for Valdez’s velocity and stance modifications. Berchelt appeared misplaced early on. He by no means appeared comfy in his counter putting, and roughly deserted it after the fourth spherical when he dedicated to a excessive strain strategy. At 29, he’s nonetheless one in all the prime junior lightweights in the world, however he will sadly have to show that remains to be the case over the subsequent 12 months or so following a end result like this. He’ll have to show the devastating nature of this loss would not change his capacity to take a punch, or his willingness to take a punch.
If and when he faces one other fast, technical boxer like Valdez — or Vasiliy Lomachenko, who he might need referred to as out had Saturday gone in another way — he’ll want to show he discovered from this catastrophe. He’ll probably want a comeback fight of some type, an opponent not ranked in the prime 5 of the division. If all goes properly, a title fight will not be far-off.
Perhaps he’ll give some thought to a transfer up in weight as properly, which additionally would have been a post-fight subject had he received, however there isn’t any motive to assume 130 kilos nonetheless cannot be an important house for Berchelt. But there shall be inevitable questions he’ll want to reply when he comes again.
Boxing wants followers once more
Okamoto: I used to be ringside for tonight’s fight in Las Vegas. I figured this could be an evening wherein followers can be missed — I just thought it will be due to a back-and-forth conflict, and not a one-sided masterclass by Valdez. But regardless, the actuality is the identical. Boxing sorely missed its followers tonight.
There was a second earlier than the walkouts, when the ballroom at the MGM went darkish and the home music went off. It was a type of moments that lets everybody in the constructing know, the principal occasion fighters are about to stroll. I’ve skilled that feeling in a packed area lots of of occasions, and I am unable to even actually put into phrases how odd it felt on Saturday. It was so silent, you could possibly hear particular person conversations happening in the room.
When the fighters did stroll and they have been introduced — actually, I feel Top Rank does a couple of good a job of producing power as you possibly can — however it’s just barely relatable to an precise crowd. And after all, the fight itself, when Valdez dropped Berchelt in the fourth, and Berchelt was making an attempt to will his means right into a victory in the ensuing rounds when he was nonetheless harm, a crowd would have added a lot to that. Hopefully, we’re shut to that.
Top Rank believes Saturday was its remaining evening in the bubble. The promotion intends to transfer to Florida and/or Oklahoma for its subsequent occasions in April, and then be again in Vegas in May — at a time when, hopefully, followers shall be allowed again in attendance.
Gabriel Flores Jr. finds large KO as rising prospects get rounds on Berchelt-Valdez undercard
Rothstein: Gabriel Flores Jr. appeared lower than sharp. Jayson Velez was touchdown some punches and placing collectively some combos. But then, in the sixth spherical, the 20-year-old Flores confirmed why he’s thought-about a rising prospect in the junior light-weight division.
A proper to Velez’s head despatched him down as soon as. A flurry of punches ended the fight moments later, locking in an necessary win for the Stockton, Calif. native. It was an enormous showcase in the co-main occasion, catching followers who tuned in a bit early for that title fight.
That Flores was ready to put collectively a knockout — his first since a third-round KO of Eduardo Pereira Dos Reis on May 4, 2019 — was an added bonus, because it was solely his second knockout in his previous 14 fights. It off confirmed a few of Flores’ mixture velocity and energy. After the fight, Flores stated he “sent a statement that I’m ready for a world title.”
That feels a bit bit quickly for him, contemplating the energy of the division. Beyond Berchelt and Valdez, there’s additionally Shakur Stevenson, Leo Santa Cruz, Joseph Diaz Jr., Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov, Jamel Herring and extra in the division, too.
But it was a powerful exhibiting that ought to give him an actual probability at a high-level opponent subsequent. If Flores wins that fight, then possibly there’s a title shot in his close to future, particularly since the IBF belt is at the moment vacant.
The different two prospects on the undercard — junior welterweight Elvis Rodriguez (11-0-1, 10 KO) and welterweight Xander Zayas (7-0, 5 KO) — bought rounds in, which was key for each of their developments with Rodriguez at 12 professional fights and Zayas at seven professional fights and a number of brief nights up to now of their careers.
For Rodriguez particularly, it is the first time he went the distance in a fight and this fight ought to give him a very good quantity of tape to work with as he works on enhancing some key components in the ring. Rodriguez admitted as a lot after the fight in opposition to a reasonably recreation Luis Alberto Veron (18-3-2, 9 KO), saying he wants to return to the gymnasium and work on letting his arms go extra.
These sorts of studying experiences may be useful a 12 months or two down the street, when the stakes get increased.
What did Saturday’s fight in opposition to Jovanie Santiago inform us about the present state of Adrien Broner?
Baby: Saturday evening was Adrien Broner in a nutshell. He confirmed flashes in the ring in opposition to Jovanie Santiago in a unanimous, but controversial determination. Broner landed 100 fewer punches than Santiago and as soon as once more appeared sluggish in the ring. And maybe his most entertaining moments of the evening got here in the post-fight interview, when Broner’s boisterous persona was clearly not rusty regardless of the lack of motion.
In different phrases, it was peak Broner. And at this level, that’s not sufficient to problem anybody elite at 140 kilos, the place he needs to fight, and 147 kilos, the place he truly fights.
Broner’s finest moments got here in the center rounds, together with one in the eighth spherical when a Broner hook precipitated Santiago to do the splits and he got here inches away from touching the canvas.
But Santiago rallied in Round 12, and made the fight shut, at the very least. Even although there ought to have been a big gulf between the two males, that wasn’t obvious on Saturday. And sure, Broner is coming off an extended layoff, however when he missed weight by six kilos and the bout was modified to the welterweight restrict towards the finish of fight week, his dedication to being in preventing form is difficult to consider.
With his win (that includes some very questionable scorecards, together with an inexplicable 117-110 from Peter Hary), Broner probably secured not less than one other sizable payday. At this level in his profession, that’s most likely the finest he can ask for.