By Miguel Rivera
As soon as his name began to circulate, Felix 'El Diamante' Verdejo - without knowing it - was in the sights of triple world champion Felix 'Tito' Trinidad.
Trinidad had so much interest in the ex-Olympian's abilities that he even baptized him in the middle of his appointment to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in June 2014 as his possible successor when he barely had 13 professional fights.
Verdejo, who still maintains a flawless record of 23-0 and 15 KO's, has lost some of his shine as a potential star, because of his recent performances in the ring - where the boxer looked vulnerable and unable to land his punches, and also taking into account his reckless motorcycle accident from last August where suffered numerous injuries that forced him to postpone a planned world title fight with WBO champion Terry Flanagan.
Trinidad, regarded as one of the top figures in the history of Puerto Rican boxing, has a lot of faith that Verdejo will bounce back to once again shine as a future star in the sport.
"Felix has to stay focused. Also he has to stay with his team, with his people. You can not lose the perspective that you always have to train hard," Trinidad told Carlos Narvaev. "I have to be very clear that for every opponent you have to train hard. There is no such thing as a small opponent in this sport."
"He has the skills and he is also a great human being. Whenever I have spoken with him, I speak from the heart. I have no doubt that he is on his way [to becoming a star] and that his team is helping him. He learned some things."
"I was responsible and dedicated. I worked hard in my time and I was healthy. I know that Felix will be a champion. He is part of that great group that is coming up in the ranks like Manny Rodriguez, Angel Acosta and many others. I know Puerto Rico wants to see him to become world champion."