Jose Valenzuela sought any next challenge that would further his career beyond the rising prospect tag.
The hope was to land an unbeaten fighter or a top lightweight contender. When neither could be delivered, he settled for an offered crossroads bout with Jezreel Corrales, a serviceable former titlist that should provide more resistance than his last outing.
“I’m extremely happy and excited. Mainly because Corrales is a tricky fighter and a hard opponent,” Valenzuela said of the challenge in an interview with The PBC Podcast co-hosts Kenneth Bouhairie and Michael Rosenthal. “To see my promotional company really believe in me and have me fight that opponent is a good feeling.
“He’s a good fighter that can make anyone look bad if you don’t come correct.”
The bout with Panama’s Corrales (26-4, 10KOs) serves as part of a four-fight Fox Sports Pay-Per-View event on September 4 from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. The show is headlined by a heavyweight clash between former unified titlist Andy Ruiz (34-2, 22KOs) and two-time title challenger Luis Ortiz (33-2, 28KOs).
Valenzuela (12-0, 8KOs) enjoyed a similar placement in his last outing. The blue-chip talent from Los Mochis, Mexico—who now lives and trains in Seattle—is coming off a first-round knockout of former WBC junior lightweight titlist Francisco Vargas on an April 16 Showtime PPV event topped by Errol Spence’s tenth-round stoppage of Yordenis Ugas to unify the WBA/WBC/IBF welterweight titles.
The fight was intended to represent a step up in competition for the 23-year-old lightweight. All that ‘El Rayo’ got out of the night was a notable name on his resume, blasting out the badly faded Vargas in just 85 seconds. A stiffer challenge is expected from Corrales, who has only been stopped once in 30 pro fights and brings a three-fight in streak into the ring for their scheduled 10-round bout.
“I had a great camp, I was extremely prepared. I knew I would hurt him when I hit him,” noted Valenzuela, a longtime training stablemate of unbeaten former two-time super middleweight titlist David Benavidez (26-0, 23KOs). “I didn’t know how fast or late it would come, but it came early. [Statement made] that I’m for real and I’m here to make a lot of noise.
“I’m ready to come [September] 4 and put on a great show.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox