At the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York, Felix "El Diamante" Verdejo got off to a smooth start.
Verdejo (26-1, 16 KOs), in his first fight since linking up with noted trainer Ismael Salas, outboxed Manuel Rey Rojas (18-4, 5 KOs) over 10 rounds in the lightweight co-feature by scores of 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93.
A few months ago, Verdejo parted ways with his career trainer and manager, Ricky Marquez. The two of them are currently embroiled in a heated legal battle back home in Puerto Rico.
Verdejo has now won three in a row since the lone defeat of his career and, at 26 years old, is entering what should be his physical prime.
He admits that there is still a lot to work on.
“I give myself a ‘C.’ I want to keep working hard and keep developing because I want to look like an ‘A’ fighter," Verdejo said.
“I have the desire. I have the hunger. I’m going to keep working hard for all the Puerto Ricans and all the Boricuas.”
Also on the card, Verdejo's countryman and former junior lightweight world title challenger, Christopher "Pitufo" Diaz (25-2, 16 KOs), bounced back from a decision loss to current world champion Shakur Stevenson.
Diaz looked very sharp with his punches and movements, as he shut out former junior featherweight world title challenger Adeilson dos Santos (19-8, 15 KOs) in an eight-round featherweight bout. All three judges scored it 80-72 in his favor.
“I am very happy to have returned to the winning route," Diaz said. "I showed that I don't only know how to brawl. I also know how to box very well. Before, what I wanted was to give fans wars to entertain them, but I learned that I can also give good, entertaining fights by boxing well.”