Oscar Valdez confident ahead of Avalos showdown
The learning curve for Oscar Valdez increases with each fight, as does his level of opposition.
Both will be on display on tonight when he faces former world title challenger Chris Avalos inside the Chelsea Ballroom at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Nev.
The bout will top a ‘MetroPCS Friday Night Knockout’ telecast and will follow the super middleweight bout between Jesse Hart and Aaron Pryor Jr.
Both bouts will be televised live on truTV, beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
Since making his professional debut nearly three years ago, Valdez has impressed boxing media and fans alike with his activity and the quality of his opponents. He has passed each test with impressive results, including his most recent win over Ruben Tamayo on June 26, which he won convincingly on points.
Valdez (16-0, 14 knockouts) is one of Top Rank Promotions’ hottest unbeaten prospects and he has been fortunate to showcase his skills on numerous platforms, including UniMas, HBO and, now, truTV.
He faces a stern test in Avalos, who challenged Carl Frampton for the IBF junior featherweight title on Feb. 28. The American was stopped in the fifth round.
In his last bout on Aug. 1, Avalos (26-3, 19 KOs) defeated Rey Perez by unanimous decision over eight one-sided rounds.
“I’m taking this fight like any of the other fights I’ve had,” Valdez told RingTV in a recent interview. “I take every fight serious. No disrespect to Avalos but I’m going to do my best in the ring.
“[Avalos] is aggressive and puts up a good fight. He has a good punch but he does make mistakes, which myself and my trainer [Manny Robles] went over. He may be an aggressive fighter but we’re going to show that I’m the better fighter. I have my experience in the pro ranks and I’m confident.”
The 24-year-old Valdez, who has represented Mexico in the last two Olympic Games, has talked the talk thus far. Other than taking on all challengers in the ring, he has received great sparring against the likes of lightweight Ivan Najera and IBF featherweight titleholder Lee Selby.
“I’ve had some great sparring for this fight,” said Valdez, who is managed by Frank Espinoza. “It’s great experience for me.”
With the success he has had thus far, Valdez’s accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. His fights have appeared on English and Spanish-speaking programming, so the young prospect has been recognized on both sides of the border.
Valdez is also bilingual and his crossover appeal has made him a marketable commodity. He recently taped public-service announcements in English and Spanish while speaking out against bullying.
All this extra publicity could overwhelm a young fighter but Valdez has handled everything in stride. He believes that is due to his humble beginnings in Nogales, Sonora and Mexico, as well as a strong work ethic.
“I’m recognized more in the United States,” said Valdez. “I always get recognized in Mexico because I represented them in the Olympics. It’s cool getting recognized more often here in the States but I just use that as more motivation. I want to be at my best and always work hard.
“I believe in maintaining discipline and I love what I do in the gym. Boxing has been good to me and it is my passion. I give it my all in the gym and in the ring. I love being in there.”
While Valdez has found a great deal of success thus far, he has not hit his ceiling. It will be interesting to monitor his progression while the boxing world awaits his team’s decision to move its charge toward a title fight.
On paper, Chris Avalos is the best opponent Valdez has faced. How he performs remains to be seen but an impressive win could lead to the exciting future that many boxing writers have envisioned for this new star.
Valdez believes he has a lot to prove.
He said, “I hope to prove who the real Oscar Valdez really is. I feel like I don’t have to make a statement [tonight]. I just want to show what I can do. People think I can only knock people out but I can box as well.
“I just want to do my best.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since Oct. of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.