By Ryan Maquinana
Two-time Olympian Oscar Valdez inaugurated his journey into the professional ranks Saturday night, delighting his hometown fans with a second-round technical knockout of Angel Prado at the CUM in Hermosillo, Mexico.
Prado (1-2), from Ensenada, Mexico, was not intimidated by Valdez’s amateur pedigree and spent the first round pressing forward behind a solid left jab. However, Valdez (1-0, 1 KO) was able to consistently land a left hook upstairs and a looping right hand to take the frame.
In the second, however, Valdez began to overwhelm his foe, busting Prado’s defense wide open with a double left jab followed by a right cross. As Prado backed into the ropes, Valdez launched a right hand and another short left that had his opponent from Ensenada, Mex., doubling over and tumbling to the canvas.
Although the fallen fighter would beat the count, Valdez jumped on him almost immediately, and the referee halted a vulnerable Prado from continuing.
One of Mexico’s most accomplished amateurs in history, the featherweight Valdez won a gold medal at the 2008 AIBA Youth World Championships and a bronze medal one year later at the AIBA Senior World Championships.
After a close quarterfinal defeat to Ireland’s John Joe Nevin in the 2012 London Olympics that caused a furor within the Mexican media, Valdez turned pro and signed a managerial contract with Frank Espinoza.
The 21-year-old Valdez then became the subject of a bidding war between several promoters, eventually accepting a multiyear deal from Top Rank, who streamed the Prado fight live on their website.
Ryan Maquiñana was the boxing producer for NBCOlympics.com during London 2012 and writes a weekly column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Ratings Panel for Ring Magazine. E-mail him at rmaquinan[email protected], check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.