Felix Verdejo picked up his first stoppage win of 2016 with a fifth round TKO victory tonight on HBO, stopping Juan Jose Martinez in a showcase mismatch that was meant to be a more impressive performance than his last two bouts, and in some ways was.
Verdejo (22-0, 15 KO) was fairly aggressive, still missing a lot of shots, but also landed clean pretty frequently on the overmatched but game Martinez (25-3, 17 KO). He hurt Martinez quickly, it seemed, with a jab, and landed some good shots in pretty much every round, easily sweeping the first four frames of the fight.
In the fifth, he caught Martinez with a big right hand that staggered the underdog and pushed him back, then unleashed a flurry of power punches, little if any of it landing, but forcing referee Michael Ortega to step in and stop the fight at 2:40 of round five.
It occurred to me even more than before during this fight that the "problems" with Verdejo may simply be a matter of expectations and hype. He is not Felix Trinidad or Miguel Cotto, he's not a destroyer, but he is an obviously talented young fighter who is, at worst, winning every round of all of his fights thus far. He may not live up to the hype, but he's still on his way to a very good pro career if he keeps this up and can continue to develop.
Verdejo landed 90 of 261 (34%) of his total punches, with Martinez at 36 of 128 (28%). Those numbers included Verdejo landing 51% (63 of 123) of his power shots, compared to 30% (24 of 27) for Martinez.
What did you think of Verdejo this evening?