LAS VEGAS – Chris Colbert hasn’t boxed since Hector Luis Garcia dropped and dominated him in their 12-round, 130-pound title fight almost 13 months ago.

Brooklyn’s Colbert also has moved up to compete at the lightweight limit of 135 pounds for the first time. Those factors haven’t prevented oddsmakers from establishing Colbert as a slight favorite to beat Jose Valenzuela in their 10-round bout on the David Benavidez-Caleb Plant undercard Saturday night at MGM Grand Garden Arena.

“They’re just going off my last performance,” Valenzuela told a group of reporters after an open workout Wednesday at MGM Grand. “That’s simply it. You know, and that’s cool. It doesn’t change the outcome of this fight.”

The 23-year-old Valenzuela (12-1, 8 KOs), of Renton, Washington, is certain he will be the one to return to his winning ways after suffering his first defeat in his most recent bout. The taller, seemingly stronger Valenzuela doesn’t think Colbert can take his power, particularly if their fight goes beyond its halfway point.

“I think he’s been exposed a little bit,” Valenzuela said. “In spurts of some of his fights, he tends to crumble. He kind of like crouches down and lets the guy go off on him. I just think the opponents don’t know how to place the shots, don’t know how to get him out of there. You know, Hector, he wasn’t consistent enough to get him out of there.”

Colbert’s boxing ability enabled him to win the WBA interim super featherweight title and moved him into position to fight former WBA 130-pound champ Roger Gutierrez in February 2022. The Dominican Republic’s Garcia (16-1, 10 KOs, 3 NC) replaced Venezuela’s Gutierrez on less than three weeks’ notice because Gutierrez contracted COVID-19 during camp and upset Colbert (16-1, 6 KOs), who was a 22-1 favorite to beat him in their “Showtime Championship Boxing” main event at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

“We’re still gonna be cautious,” Valenzuela said. “We’re still gonna respect him. You know, I’m gonna be touching him to his body, you know, so I’m expecting him to fade.”

Valenzuela was generally regarded as one of boxing’s top prospects before another Dominican underdog, Edwin De Los Santos, stopped him in the third round on the Andy Ruiz-Luis Ortiz undercard September 4 at Arena in Los Angeles. De Los Santos (15-1, 14 KOs) replaced Panama’s Jezreel Corrales as Valenzuela’s opponent on about one week’s notice because Corrales couldn’t secure a visa in time to travel to the United States.

Valenzuela dropped De Los Santos in the second round, but De Los Santos responded by knocking Valenzuela to the canvas once in the second round and again in the third round. Referee Ray Corona stopped their scheduled 10-rounder while Valenzuela was still on his feet because he felt Valenzuela had taken too many flush punches.

“I took a loss my last fight, obviously, but you know, the guy hit the canvas,” Valenzuela said. “You know what I’m saying? And that was me on my worst day, so we’ll see how [Colbert] takes the power.”

A regretful Valenzuela admitted that he didn’t take training as seriously as necessary before his last fight.

“You know, it taught me a lot,” Valenzuela said. “I changed up all the bullsh*t around me. I’m just locked in. Passion, fire in my heart for boxing. It just brought me back to why I started, you know, back on track.”

Colbert-Valenzuela will be the second of three undercard bouts Showtime will air on pay-per-view before Benavidez and Plant meet in the 12-round main event (9 p.m. ET; $74.99).

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.