By Steve Kim
WBO featherweight belt-holder Oscar Valdez defends his title this Saturday night from the StubHub Center in Carson, California, versus the tough Miguel Marriaga.
If Valdez had his way, he'd be involved in fights against the other world champions in his division like Leo Santa Cruz, Lee Selby and Gary Russell Jr. All three of those boxers, like Valdez, have mandatory defenses coming up - Santa Cruz with Abner Mares, Selby with Jonathan Barros, and Russell with Oscar Escandon.
"Those are the fights I was expecting to get but they made it a mandatory with Miguel Marriaga. I like the competition with (Marriaga), lets get it on. A lot of people may not know him but he's a tough fighter," said Valdez of Marriaga (25-1, 21 KO's), who's one loss came at the hands of Nicholas Walters. "He can be up there with any of those guys that have a belt."
Valdez (21-0, 19 KO's) won his title last summer by halting Matias Rueda in two rounds and then made the first defense of the WBO title on November 5th on the Manny Pacquiao-Jessie Vargas pay-per-view undercard at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, where he stopped Hiroshige Osawa in seven.
In Marriaga, he is probably facing his best opponent to date.
"Oh definitely, I agree," said Valdez on Monday morning from the Rock in Carson, California, where he was shaking out.
"I study all my opponents every time I'm going to fight them and we've seen Miguel Marriago and I imagine him fighting all my other opponents, like ( Evgeny) Gradovich, Chris Avalos and I picture Miguel Marriago beating all of them. So to this day, he's my toughest opponent."
Steve Kim is the news editor for BoxingScene.com