Oscar Valdez made a successful sixth defense of his WBO featherweight title, outclassing a gritty-but-overmatched Jason Sanchez to win a wide decision in Reno, Nevada.
Valdez (26-0, 20 KO) dropped Sanchez (14-1, 7 KO) in the fifth round, but otherwise the fight was largely devoid of any real drama or excitement. Sanchez gave his best effort, but this was a huge step up for him and he just didn’t have the skills or development to hang with Valdez, as hard as he tried.
Valdez, who has now fought twice under trainer Eddy Reynoso, has tried in his last two outings to fine-tune his approach, becoming better defensively. It’s a smart move, but he’s also done it against two guys who had no real hope of beating him.
“I’m happy, but we could always do better. We are improving,” Valdez said after the fight.
There has been talk of Valdez facing Carl Frampton next time out, but he’s not sure he will even stay at featherweight. Asked if he would stay at 126 for another fight, Valdez said he “hopes so,” but he isn’t committing to anything yet.
“I am hoping for another fight at 126, but I’m not sure if that’s the right decision, or we go up to 130,” he said. “I’m willing to fight anybody, to be honest, 130 or 126, let’s do it.
CompuBox saw Sanchez out-throwing Valdez by a lot, but landing at a pretty miserable rate, while Valdez was more economical and accurate.
Valdez landed 195 of 509 total punches (38%), compared to 107 of 869 (12%) for Sanchez. Valdez landed 43% (113 of 262) of his power punches, compared to 18% (91 of 500) for Sanchez. They were about even in body work, Sanchez landing 24 to Valdez’s 23, but Valdez used his jab much better, landing 82 to Sanchez’s 16.
Here’s the fifth round knockdown:
Gabriel Flores Jr UD-8 Salvador Briceno
130/135 prospect Gabriel Flores Jr improved to 14-0 (6 KO) with an eight-round decision win over Salvador Briceno (15-4, 9 KO) on scores of 78-74, 78-74, and 79-73. Bad Left Hook had it 80-72 for the 19-year-old California prospect, but a couple of rounds definitely could’ve gone to Briceno.
For Flores, it was a nice learning fight if nothing else, good work and some rounds under his belt. Briceno wasn’t on Flores’ level in terms of skill, but he made Flores work.
“I felt good. The jab was nice, I should’ve thrown the jab more, though. Should’ve feinted more. I had a few things I should’ve done more,” Flores said, admitting he still has work to do.
This being his first eight-round fight, Flores was asked what’s next for him.
“I want to fight again within 2-3 months. I felt great, I didn’t really get touched at all,” Flores said. “I could’ve done a lot more. He was cautious. I think he seen my last fight, he was very prepared.”