Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is said to be interested in matching WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez (23-0, 19 KOs) against former 2 division belt holder Carl Frampton (23-1, 14 KOs) in early 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada or Texas.
This is a great fight for Frampton, but probably not such a good one for Valdez. Frampton is fighting on another level than Valdez fight now in terms of talent. Valdez looks like an Arturo Gatti type of fighter without much defense, and with what appears to be deteriorating punch resistance.
Frampton signed with promoter Frank Warren last Saturday. Frampton left his previous manager Barry McGuigan to join up with Warren. The change could be for the better. It seemed clear that Frampton needed to make some changes with the direction of his career. He lost to Leo Santa Cruz by a 12-round majority decision on January 28 in a rematch. Frampton had beaten Santa Cruz in their first fight last year in July.
Frampton, 30, would have to be considered the favorite to defeat Valdez if this fight comes off. There’s no comparison. Frampton is on another level than Valdez in the talent department. You’ve got to respect Arum if he takes a risk and puts his fighter Valdez in with Frampton, beaus it’s a risky fight with the way that he’s been looking lately. Valdez would be taking a big step up with this fight from the guys he’s been facing during his career.
It’s not that Valdez hasn’t been fighting good fighters since he turned pro. The problem is he’s not been fighting guys that are well respected by boxing fans and he’s really struggled in his last 2 fights against good but hardly great fighters in Miguel Marriaga and Genesis Servania. Those 2 fights showed that Valdez has a weakness when it comes to taking hard shots.
This is huge fight for the 2012 Olympian Valdez, as he’s been taking it easy since he turned pro in facing beatable opponent for the first 5 years of his pro career. Valdez, 26, won the vacant WBO featherweight title last year in beating Matias Carlos Adrian Rueda by a 2nd round knockout.
Valdez has defended the WBO title successfully 3 times in beating Geneis Servania, Miguel Marriaga and Hiroshige Osawa. Valdez looked great until his match against Marriaga last April. Valdez was smashing everyone he faced up until that fight. Valdez looked invincible going into the Marriaga fight.
In the early part of the Marriaga fight, Valdez was schooling him and making him look bad with impressive combinations. However, Marriaga came on strong in the later stays of the fight to stagger Valdez and hurt him a couple of times. Valdez did a respectable job of finishing strong to win the fight by a 12 round unanimous decision, but it was far from an easy fight for him.
In Valdez’s fight last Friday against Servania, he looked vulnerable each time he was hit by a solid shot from the Filipino fighter. Indeed, Servania knocked Valdez down in round 4, and staggered him in round 6. If Servania hadn’t stopped throwing punches after the 6th, we might have seen Valdez get stopped, given that he was not reacting well each time he was hit solidly. The thing is, Servania doesn’t have anywhere near the same kind of punching power or boxing skills that Frampton possesses. So, unless Valdez improves greatly by next year, he could wind up losing badly to Frampton.
Frampton had problems making adjustments in his loss to Santa Cruz last January. It was expected that Santa Cruz would come out slugging and pressing Frampton, considering that he had a lot of success using that approach in the second half of their first fight on July 30, 2016. Santa Cruz had even remarked after the first fight that he should have used more pressure earlier in the fight so he could wear Frampton down like Scott Quigg had done.
Never the less, instead of slugging with Frampton in the second fight, Santa Cruz stayed on the outside most of the fight, jabbing and not letting the shorter fighter get close to him. Frampton could have won the fight if he’d made the proper adjustments early in the fight and taken the fight to Santa Cruz with the fast in and out style that he’d used in the first fight. That style had worked well for Frampton, and he’d been able to win a narrow 12 round majority decision.
Valdez could still win the fight based on his youth. He might be able to outwork Frampton in the second half of the fight the way that Scott Quigg did in their fight in February 2016. Frampton still got the win, but it was close with the judges scoring it a 12 round split decision in his favor. The difference between Quigg and Valdez though is Quigg could handle the punching power of Frampton.
I’m not sure that Valdez will be able to take getting hammered by Frampton for 12 rounds without going down or getting knocked out. I think it’ll be tough on Valdez to be able to take the heavy shots from Frampton for an entire fight without getting knocked out. Right now, Valdez is exhibiting signs of diminishing punch resistance since his fight with Marriaga. If Valdez can no longer take a hard shot without getting staggered and/or going down, then he’s not going to last long against a puncher like Frampton.