Top featherweight prospect Oscar Valdez made a big statement tonight on HBO pay-per-view, dominating and stopping former featherweight titleholder Evgeny Gradovich in four rounds, giving him a pretty tremendous beating before the fight was stopped.
Valdez (19-0, 17 KO) was picking Gradovich apart from the get-go, landing clean shots to the body and head in combination, bloodying "The Mexican Russian" and possibly injuring his jaw, as Gradovich (21-2-1, 9 KO) had a large lump on the right side of his face, and was fighting with an open mouth for the last round and a half or so, at least.
In the fourth round, Valdez caught Gradovich with a big left hook, putting him on the canvas. Referee Russell Mora administered a count, and Gradovich -- a very tough fighter -- did get up, but Mora made the call to end the fight there, and it was the right call. It was a one-sided beatdown.
"I can't take the credit myself. I've got a great team," Valdez told HBO's Max Kellerman after the fight. "Once the fights get tougher, I'm going to have to evolve. I think I've evolved a lot since my first fight."
Asked about past amateur rival Vasyl Lomachenko, Valdez said, "He has a belt. I think he's proven as a two-time Olympic gold medalist, he's earned his spot. I think I earned my spot today to fight for a world title, but I'm going to let my team decide that. Hopefully we'll get good news."
By CompuBox numbers, Valdez landed 109 of 295 (36.9%) of his total punches, and 54 of 121 (44.6%) of his power punches, compared to a paltry 28 of 220 (12.7%) total punches and 22 of 111 (19.8%) power punches from Gradovich.