GLENDALE -- It didn’t take long for Emanuel Navarrete to emotionally invest in a showdown with Oscar Valdez.

There wasn’t even a letdown when their plans fell through for a February 3 collision, as he was confident the fight would make its way back to the schedule.

“I didn’t let it get to me,” Navarrete told of their delayed plans. “Of course, I wanted to fight Oscar Valdez that night but I still had a job to do. The same [WBO junior lightweight] title was at stake and I still had to defeat Liam Wilson to become a three-division champion.

“I was confident going into that fight that Oscar Valdez would be next. I told myself that as a reminder that I had to beat Liam Wilson to get there. Otherwise, that night would have gone much worse.”

Navarrete (37-1, 31KOs) survived his first career knockdown to drop and stop Australia’s Wilson in the ninth round of their thriller at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona. The same venue now hosts the rescheduled bout versus Valdez (31-1, 23KOs) this Saturday on ESPN beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET.

Whereas they were due to fight for the vacant title, Navarrete enters this weekend’s affair as the defending titlist. His win earlier this year saw the 28-year-old from San Juan Zitlaltepec, Mexico become a three-division titleholder and extend his current 32-fight win streak.

“The injury complicated our earlier plans but now I get to enter as the champion,” noted Navarrete. "Oscar Valdez has to fight for my title. I take great pride in that, to defend against a terrific fighter, a two-division champion who wants to regain the belt that I now hold.”

Nogales’ Valdez was supposed to be in the opposite corner that night. A pre-existing back injury never fully healed in time, which reduced the two-time Mexican Olympian and former two-division titlist as a spectator that evening.

Both were certain that it was in their destiny to meet. Navarrete did his job that night and Valdez made his way back to the ring in May when he beat Adam ‘BluNose’ Lopez for a second time.

“Now here we are,” noted Navarrete, who is 11-0 (8KOs) in title fights spanning three weight divisions. “The fight is set and I’m even more ready for him than I was when we were first supposed to meet.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox