Banger Of The Week: Emanuel Navarrete vs. Oscar Valdez

Look, the UFC is great. But the real fight of the weekend takes place in the sport of boxing: Emanuel Navarrete and Oscar Valdez.

By: Blaine Henry | 1 month ago

Pssst…Hey, you. Come over here. Hey look, I don’t know how I convinced these MMA jabronis to let me write about boxing on their website, Bloody Elbow. We don’t even have elbow strikes in boxing. Anyway, I’m here to let you in on a little secret. The UFC puts on cards every week and there’s a lot of great fights. But this week, there’s a better fight.

These MMA schmucks don’t know that Emanuel Navarrete and Oscar Valdez are boxing on Top Rank Boxing. Let me tell you about this fight real fast.

Emanuel Navarrete: 130 Pounds, 72” Reach

Yes, that heading is correct. Emanuel Navarrete is a super flyweight with a 72” reach. That’s the same reach that UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards has, and he is absolutely massive. Think about Petr Yan with a reach like that.

Those physical attributes are nice but a fighter needs to be using them. Stefan Struve had an 84” reach and never used it a day in his life. Emanuel Navarrete fights like a bull in a china shop. It’s wild, it’s reckless and it’s gratuitously violent. It’s how he built his 37-1 record with 31 knockouts. Look at this leaping left below:

All of this skill, these physical gifts, and everything has led Emanuel Navarrete to win the WBO super bantamweight title and defended it five times. He moved up to featherweight and won the WBO title; three defenses. Finally he moved up to super featherweight and won the vacant WBO title there with a ninth round TKO of Liam Wilson. He’s defending against Oscar Valdez this weekend for the first time.

Navarrete’s leaping left hook is his signature. He’s not the most clean boxer in the world, he may not even be the best. But he’s always brought a chaotic fight and this fight with Oscar Valdez may be his biggest test to date.

Oscar Valdez: Time For Redemption

The man opposite Navarrete is Oscar Valdez. Valdez, who has a 31-1 record with 23 knockouts, made a huge name for himself after he knocked out Miguel Berchelt in round ten back in 2021. Take a look at this guy below, he’s a smooth operator.

Miguel Berchelt held the WBO title from 2017 to 2021 until Valdez came along. After his capture of the belt from Francisco Vargas, Berchelt beat names like Miguel Roman and Takashi Miura. Berchelt was a -340 favorite over Valdez and the knockout shocked the world.

Before Berchelt, Valdez was the WBO featherweight champion with six title defenses there. His only loss came from Shakur Stevenson, arguably the star of tomorrow in the sport of boxing. But, after a year off Oscar Valdez returned and beat Adam Lopez earlier in the year and set himself up for a shot at Emanuel Navarrete.

Styles Make Fights

You’ve heard that saying before. Styles make fights and this fight has all the potential to be fireworks. Valdez is the favorite to win the fight but with type of style Navarrete fights, anything is possible. It takes one leaping left hook to change the fight and Valdez could be handed his second loss.

I’m just saying. This fight is a slugfest and one of those sneakers that end up being a Fight of the Year candidate that never really wins because nobody watched it live. It’s a matchup that puts vinegar and baking soda together in one of those little papier-mâché volcanoes for a fifth grade science project: it’s going to explode.

Here’s the kicker, you don’t even have to buy anything. It’s on Top Rank Boxing which is on ESPN+. After Rafael Dos Anjos and Vicente Luque get done, there should only be a fight or two left before the main event. If you enjoy exciting fights, this is what you’re looking for.

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Blaine Henry
Blaine Henry

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