WBA super featherweight titleholder and apparently now the world's default No. 1 130-pounder Edwin Valero stopped Takehiro Shimada in seven rounds to retain his title and keep his unbeaten, KO-perfect record intact.
Valero, 26, is now 24-0 with 24 knockouts. The bout was the third-longest of his career, and could be his last in Japan for the time being, with his being licensed in Texas.
Shimada falls to 22-4-1 (15).
On the same card, WBC bantamweight titleholder Hozumi Hasegawa (24-2, 8 KO) beat challenger Cristian Faccio via second-round TKO. Mismatch on paper, mismatch in practice.
There's rumor now that Valero will join Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez (the Casamayor date is close to a done deal, apparently) and Joan Guzman at 135, alongside current lightweight names like Nate Campbell, Joel Casamayor, Juan Diaz, David Diaz, Julio Diaz, Amir Khan, Michael Katsidis, etc., which unquestionably now makes the 135-pound ranks the best in boxing, and it's not even particularly close. Basically the best of 130 are all moving up. It blows the 147-pound ranks right out of the water.
If Valero does skirt up a class to join the big three, that will leave, um, Humberto Soto as the best super featherweight in the world. The division is being decimated.
But I have to say it's worth the hit at 130 to watch 135 become so outstandingly competitive. Diaz-Pacquiao, Casamayor-Marquez, Campbell-Guzman, Diaz-Katsidis -- all those fights are on the table and look likely to happen. There's a glut of fantastic matchups that can be made, just outstanding, truly PPV-worthy stuff. Things that I wouldn't mind being charged to see. And it makes Pacquiao-Marquez III possible, but even if that doesn't happen, there's so much good stuff that can happen. Pacquiao-Casamayor would be awesome, I think.
But for right now, assuming the big three go up as planned (no reason they won't), Valero is the best 130-pounder in the world, maybe. How about that?