Felix Verdejo could join Valdez and Ramirez in Arizona

Felix Verdejo could join Valdez and Ramirez in Arizona

Published: August 06, 2017


Oscar Valdez and Gilberto Ramirez along with Jesse Magdaleno. Photo: Mikey Willaims/Top Rank

Oscar Valdez and Gilberto Ramirez along with Jesse Magdaleno. Photo: Mikey Willaims/Top Rank

Puerto Rico’s Felix Verdejo (23-0, 15 KOs) could be making his return to the squared circle this September 22 in Tucson, Arizona. Verdejo has been out of the ring since February when he faced Oliver Flores (27-3-2, 17 KOs) in Puerto Rico winning a unanimous decision. The former Olympian was supposed to face WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan (33-0, 13 KOs) in the United Kingdom but a leg injury has forced the fight to be postponed. Flanagan may not be available to get back in the ring until December, so the plan is to have Verdejo take somewhat of a tune-up bout before stepping in the ring with the British world champion. Top Rank’s Carl Moretti spoke about the plans Top Rank has for the undefeated Puerto Rican. 

“Our plan is to get him a fight on September 22 in Tucson, Arizona. But we still need Frank Warren to inform us of the new date he plans to set up the fight. It seems to me that Frank will not be able to stage the fight until, at least, December. That’s why we want Felix to fight in September because waiting until December is a long time for him to be off and then go straight to challenge the champion. I do not want to put him on television. I want Felix to go in, do his work and come back. We still have no opponent, but that’s the plan.”
— Carl Moretti

Verdejo’s stock has been on the decline since 2015. It has been speculated that a lack of focus and concentration has stagnated his progression. The plan is to have Verdejo head to Big Bear, California to join Gennady Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez in camp. Verdejo’s current trainer Ricky Marquez will still be the head trainer for Verdejo but leaving all the distractions the island of Puerto Rico may hold could be beneficial for the young Puerto Rican. 

An opponent has yet to be determined for Verdejo should he step in the ring in September. It is likely that it will not be a contender in the lightweight division that Verdejo faces since his fight is unlikely to be televised if he fights on the card in Arizona. 

That same night on September 22 Top Rank will feature two of its youngest champions in WBO featherweight (126) champion Oscar Valdez (22-0, 19 KOs) and WBO super middleweight (168) champion Gilberto Ramirez (35-0, 24 KOs). Both Valdez and Ramirez last fought in April at the StubHub Center in a Top Rank PPV after the card was rejected by HBO. Valdez was in a fight of the year contender against Columbian Miguel Marriaga (25-3, 21 KOs) that came down to the wire. Valdez scored a knockdown in the tenth round and got a unanimous decision victory. 

While Valdez is not facing a fellow titleholder in the featherweight division, he will be facing the undefeated Genesis Servania (29-0, 12 KOs) in what should be an exciting fight. The featherweight division is one of the best in the sport of boxing, and it would be a shame if Valdez does not test himself against the other champions in the division in the future. 

The potential highlight of the night will be when Ramirez takes on Philadelphia’s Jesse Hart (22-0, 18 KOs) in another battle of undefeated fighters. With the World Boxing Super Series staging a tournament in the super middleweight division, Ramirez can set himself to potentially face the winner of the tournament with victories over fighters like Hart. Outside of the tournament, there are still names like James DeGale (23-1-1, 14 KOs) and David Benavidez (18-0, 17 KOs) that would make for highly anticipated match ups with the winner of Ramirez-Hart. 

As the fourth installment of Top Rank’s programming on ESPN, September 22 should provide an entertaining night of boxing. 


(Feature Photo: Bebeto Matthews/AP)

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