LAS VEGAS – Chris Colbert isn’t in a forgiving mood.
Had Jose Valenzuela reacted differently to his controversial loss Saturday night at MGM Grand Garden Arena, Colbert claimed during a post-fight press conference that he would’ve given Valenzuela a rematch. Valenzuela’s negative reaction to Colbert’s close win was enough, though, to convince Colbert to move back down to the junior lightweight division for his next fight.
“F--- no! He was being a sore loser,” Colbert replied when asked about a rematch versus Valenzuela. “He shouldn’t have been a sore loser. … If he woulda took the loss like a man, I would’ve gave him a rematch. Like I took my loss like a man when I lost. I’d have gave him a rematch, but he was being a sore loser, so now he ain’t gettin’ nuttin’.”
Rather than facing Valenzuela again, Colbert (17-1, 6 KOs) plans to pursue a rematch with WBA super featherweight champ Hector Luis Garcia.
The Dominican Republic’s Garcia upset Colbert by unanimous decision in their 12-round WBA 130-pound elimination match 13 months ago at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Garcia (16-1, 10 KOs, 3 NC) replaced Venezuela’s Roger Gutierrez on three weeks’ notice, but he dropped Colbert, who was a 22-1 favorite, easily won a unanimous decision and earned a shot at Gutierrez’s title.
Garcia then out-boxed Gutierrez (27-4-1, 21 KOs) to win his WBA belt August 20 at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
“I’m going to get my belt,” Colbert said. “I ain’t no 135-pounder naturally. I just went up to prove something and I got the victory. Like I said, I would’ve gave him a rematch because I don’t care. I’m in this sport just to create a legacy. And that’s a fight that could create a legacy, me and him fighting again. But he was being a sore loser, he was talking crazy. I’m not wit all that. I’m a professional man.”
The 26-year-old Colbert fought at the lightweight limit of 135 pounds for the first time against Valenzuela (12-2, 8 KOs), of Renton, Washington.
The younger, stronger Valenzuela dropped Colbert with a crushing counter left less than 30 seconds into their fight. Brooklyn’s Colbert came back to win rounds, but Valenzuela seemed to land the more impactful punches during much of their fight on the David Benavidez-Caleb Plant undercard.
Valenzuela visibly hurt Colbert early in the sixth round as well, but Colbert won by the same score, 95-94, on the cards of judges Glenn Feldman, Lisa Giampa and Don Trella.
Garcia beat Colbert thoroughly in a fight Showtime televised in February 2022. The then-unknown southpaw dropped Colbert during the seventh round and won by wide distances on all three scorecards (119-108, 118-109, 118-109).
Garcia lost his last fight to Gervonta Davis, who stopped him in early in the ninth round January 7 at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. The 31-year-old Garcia still holds the WBA 130-pound crown, however, because he also moved up to lightweight for a chance to battle Baltimore’s Davis (28-0, 26 KOs).
“I want my belt,” Colbert said. “I want my rematch [with Garcia]. If I can’t get my rematch, then whoever Al Haymon sending me, Imma take him. You know I was never one of those fighters that was shy to take a challenge. Because if you wanna get technical, I coulda came back – Al Haymon offered me lesser opponents.
“I coulda came back and took a bum. I said, ‘Nah, what am I proving by fighting these guys? Imma beat them and then I’m gonna walk around wit my chest high, like, yeah, I’m the man. I’m the man.’ Nah. Let me fight somebody that’s a shark. Let me swim wit the sharks. And I don’t even know how to swim.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.