The preliminary run of exhibits within Prime Rank’s “bubble” within the MGM Grand Convention Heart in Las Vegas culminates Tuesday with two former world titleholders returning to the ring as headliners. Former featherweight titlist Oscar Valdez will face Jayson Velez in a 10-round junior featherweight foremost occasion, and ex-junior featherweight belt holder Isaac Dogboe goes up in opposition to Chris Avalos in an eight-round featherweight bout.
In 2018, each Valdez and Dogboe have been driving excessive as undefeated world champions, seemingly on the peak of their powers. By the tip of the 12 months, they weren’t fairly the identical. Years of exhausting work will be undone in a single night time, and each efficiency for boxers comes at a value — some extra expensive than others.
Valdez suffered a fractured jaw in a unanimous choice victory in opposition to Scott Quigg (who didn’t make the 126-pound restrict for that combat) on a chilly, moist night time in Carson, California. Dogboe was completely defeated by upstart challenger Emanuel Navarrete in a unanimous choice at Madison Sq. Backyard in New York. A rematch with Navarrete solely difficult issues for Dogboe, as he took a chronic beating within the late rounds earlier than the combat was mercifully waved off within the 12th.
Whereas the accidents have healed, Valdez stated he cannot escape the reminiscence of what he went by way of.
“I used to be truly photos of my accidents and it introduced again reminiscences of how painful it was,” Valdez stated. “Each time I get a query about it, ‘How was it? How does it really feel?’ Nicely, it felt horrible, it was quite a lot of ache. The issue wasn’t even the combat. The issue was after the combat I acquired my mouth wired. I could not eat for 2 months. So each time I take into consideration that combat, I take into consideration no consuming, my mouth wired, my jaw damaged and [Quigg] not making weight.
“So it is slightly little bit of all the things.”
Mark Kriegel tells the story of how Oscar Valdez has overcome adversity, together with struggling a damaged jaw vs. Scott Quigg.
Valdez swears he would not take into consideration the jaw until the topic is introduced up by the media. He has no regrets about going by way of with the Quigg combat beneath these circumstances, whatever the bodily toll it took on him.
“I am a really constructive man. I by no means have a look at the adverse a part of something,” Valdez stated, including that the combat truly gave him an opportunity to ”notice how a lot I like the game, how a lot I must make the most of my youth and be extra disciplined.”
The query nonetheless lingers: Did that combat take away an excellent portion of Valdez’s bodily prime? After that bout, he switched trainers, going from Manuel Robles Jr. to Eddy Reynoso. Valdez nonetheless holds Robles in excessive regard — “he is a terrific man and a terrific coach” — however his administration felt a change was so as. His previous three bouts — victories over Carmine Tommasone (TKO7), Jason Sanchez (W12) and Adam Lopez (TKO7) — have drawn combined critiques.
Valdez believes he’s regularly enhancing his relationship with Reynoso, however his November bout in opposition to Lopez alarmed many observers, as Valdez was despatched to the canvas early in that combat earlier than rallying to attain a seventh-round stoppage.
“I used to be very mad at myself for what occurred,” Valdez stated of the knockdown. “That is not Oscar Valdez, that is a mistake I made, and I’ll be a greater fighter with Jayson Velez, and I will show that to myself.”
Ought to he get previous Velez, a showdown with WBC junior light-weight world titlist Miguel Berchelt awaits. Valdez would in all probability be the underdog in opposition to Berchelt, however that combat could possibly be a great way for Valdez to point out that the rumors of his demise are drastically exaggerated.
“I do know that, as a result of he isn’t simply any world champion,” Valdez stated. “I am really going to face the most effective 130 on the market, with all due respect to the opposite champions. I’ve quite a lot of respect for Jamel Herring, Joseph Diaz Jr. and Rene Alvarado. However I feel the hardest one in that division is, surely, ‘Alacran’ Berchelt.
“So to show to the individuals and to show to myself I’m the most effective within the division, I must beat Berchelt.”
The longer term is not so clear for Dogboe who, since dropping to Navarrete for the second time in Could 2019, has not seen stay motion. Dogboe equally shifted his focus to discovering a brand new coach. His father, Paul, took quite a lot of warmth for the way he dealt with the rematch in opposition to Navarrete, with many believing he ought to’ve stopped the combat sooner.
Emanuel Navarrete lands quite a lot of exhausting punches, swelling Isaac Dogboe’s face, and scores an upset unanimous choice to take his 122-pound world title.
Dogboe is now coaching with Barry Hunter within the Washington space.
“Proper now I really feel nice, I have been with Barry since December of final 12 months,” stated Dogboe, who remains to be simply 25. “He is seen me undergo the method and all the things, and I really feel nice. I really feel nice mentally, bodily and spiritually. So proper now I am at peace, I am simply able to roll. I can not wait to get again within the ring.”
Hunter stated he want to see simply what Dogboe has left when the bell rings — not simply bodily, however psychologically.
“That is going to be key,” stated Hunter, including Dogboe has a robust work ethic and is a prepared scholar. “Skillwise, sure, he can combat, nevertheless it’s like a baseball participant who may’ve been a legend however acquired hit with a bean ball. After which each time he stepped as much as bat, he is scared, or he flinches.”
Previous to the losses to Navarrete, Dogboe was streaking after spectacular victories over veteran Cesar Juarez in a fifth-round TKO, stopping Jessie Magdaleno in Spherical 11 to win the title and a first-round TKO of Hidenori Otake. These victories earned him a co-promotional cope with Prime Rank.
Does Dogboe have the identical unshakable confidence in his skills as he did earlier than the losses? He has such religion that he’s prepared to take his 5-foot-Four body to the featherweight division to face Avalos.
“It is in my nature, I consider in religion,” Dogboe stated. “And I consider religion is what drives me. You would possibly see confidence — however I see religion.”
Issues to search for Tuesday
1. Whereas the tremendous middleweight bout between Edgar Berlanga and Eric Moon is scheduled for eight rounds, to this point in his 13-fight profession, Berlanga (13-0, 13 KOs) has by no means seen the second. This could possibly be the night time, as Moon (11-2, 6 KOs) is an skilled fighter who has gone the 10-round distance twice, in addition to a 12-round choice. He has only one stoppage loss in his profession.
2. It isn’t typically you see an ESPY winner on a boxing card, however that is what now we have with junior flyweight Kim Clavel, who received the Pat Tillman Award for Service for her work throughout the coronavirus pandemic as an in a single day nurse at long-term care facility for older individuals, placing her boxing profession on maintain.
Clavel (11-0, 2 KOs) faces Natalie Gonzalez (6-0, 1 KO) in an eight-round flyweight contest.
3. The stakes are going up for junior welterweight Elvis Rodriguez. After scoring a first-round KO victory over Danny Murray with a strong proper jab on July 2, the left-hander from the Dominican Republic, who has energy in each palms, faces Dennis Okoth in what could possibly be his hardest check up to now. Whereas Okoth’s document is modest (4-3-1, 2 KOs), he is been matched in opposition to robust opponents from the very starting. In eight fights, Okoth has not been paired in opposition to anybody with a dropping mark.
The total card
Oscar Valdez (27-0, 21 KOs) vs. Jayson Velez (29-6-1, 21 KOs), 10 rounds, junior lightweights
Eric Moon (11-2, 6 KOs) vs. Edgar Berlanga (13-0, 13 KOs), 10 rounds, tremendous middleweights
Natalie Gonzalez (11-2, 6 KOs) vs. Kim Clavel (11-0, 2 KOs), Eight rounds, junior flyweights
Chris Avalos (27-7, 20 KOs) vs. Isaac Dogboe (20-2, 14 KOs), Eight rounds, featherweights
Dennis Okoth (4-3-1, 2 KOs) vs. Elvis Rodriguez (7-0-1, 7 KOs), Eight rounds, junior welterweights
Raphael Igbokwe (14-2, 6 KOs) vs. Genc Pllana (8-1-1, Four KOs), Eight rounds, tremendous middleweights
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