Emanuel Navarrete went back home to Mexico tonight, and for the third time since August, he totally overwhelmed a totally overmatched title challenger, stopping Francisco Horta in the fourth round to retain the WBO junior featherweight belt.
Navarrete (30-1, 26 KO) has had quite a 12-month breakout run, starting by upsetting Isaac Dogboe to win this title in Dec. 2018, and following up with an even more one-sided win in their May rematch.
Since Aug. 17, Navarrete has trounced Francisco De Vaca (TKO-3), Juan Miguel Elorde (TKO-4), and now Horta, none of whom were or should have been taken seriously as threats to the 24-year-old Mexican bruiser or his title.
Navarrete is still a maturing fighter, so there is some logic to keeping him busy and winning, working in the gym and improving, but it’s also not difficult to find yourself wishing he’d fight someone in at least the top 30 of the 122-pound division. De Vaca, Elorde, and Horta (20-4-1, 10 KO) never presented any legitimate challenge, on paper or after the bell rang.
But we’ll see what’s next for “Vaquero” in 2020. Any criticism I might lob at his opposition these last three bouts is chilled a bit by the fact that he’s an undeniably fun fighter to watch, and he at least is getting these overmatched opponents out instead of being dragged through dull title defenses that go to the cards.