Felix Verdejo returned to action with a new trainer, but didn’t look particularly better than he ever has in the past, meaning that his status as a future star in the lightweight division still remains in question despite a solid performance in a decent win over Manuel Rey Rojas.
Verdejo (25-1, 16 KO) won on scores of 97-93, 98-92, and 99-91, with BLH having it 97-93 for the 26-year-old Puerto Rican.
Verdejo didn’t have it easy with Rojas (18-4, 5 KO), who did some decent work early, but he did warm to the fight over time and wound up clearly pulling away. When he worked behind his jab, he looked pretty good, and the jab itself occasionally looked fantastic. He’s young enough that you know there’s still time to deliver, but we’ve also seen enough to know it’s pretty unlikely at this point. He’s never looked like the star he was supposed to be coming out of the London Olympics in 2012, and time has gone on and on, and the division has developed new future stars who have passed him by.
In short, Verdejo looks like the kind of guy who might not be the worst contender in a world title fight you’ll ever see, but that’s a long ways off of what he was expected to be all those years ago when he gave Vasiliy Lomachenko a solid scrap at London 2012.
Verdejo admitted he wasn’t entirely pleased with the performance tonight, but vowed to keep working hard to live up to the promise.
“I would give myself a C,” Verdejo said. “I want to keep working hard and developing, because I want to look like a class-A fighter. I have the desire, I have the hunger. I’m going to keep working hard for all the Puerto Rican fans.”