GLENDALE, Arizona — One of the biggest takeaways from Emanuel Navarrete’s win over Oscar Valdez was the ring IQ applied to accomplish the mission.
It was a skill set that the three-division titlist always knew he possessed but was needed to turn away his countryman to defend his WBO junior lightweight title. Navarrete won by scores of 116-112, 118-110 and 119-109 in a highly entertaining battle Saturday evening at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
“Our styles really meshed well for this fight,” Navarrete told BoxingScene.com and other reporters after his win. “I had to pull up my pants, be strong and stand in there to predict his movements.
“That was the key to winning this fight. I always had to be a step ahead and thought I achieved that.”
An all-out war was expected between the pair of top Mexican boxer-punchers. Valdez (31-2, 23KOs) did his best to bring the pain but was unable to keep pace with the high engine and disciplined approach offered by Navarrete (38-1, 31KOs), who threw more than twice as many punches without getting reckless at any point. Navarrete had to fight through the discomfort of an inflamed knuckle on his right hand but inflicted enough damage to bust the right orbital bone of Valdez, whose eye was swollen shut by fight’s end.
“I think Valdez showed a lot of courage,” noted Navarrete, who extended his current 33-fight win streak. “He kept coming forward and seemed unbothered about his swollen eye.
“I appreciate the effort he gave because it allowed us to deliver to the fans the type of fight we were able to offer.
Navarrete made the first defense of his WBO 130-pound belt and is now 12-0 in title fights spanning three weight divisions.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox