In a bit of news that slipped under our radar this past weekend, ESPN reports that former title challenger Jayson Velez is “in the running” to face Oscar Valdez ahead of the Olympian’s planned title shot against Miguel Berchelt later this year.
Velez (29-6-1, 21 KO) never quite panned out as hoped, a controversial draw against Evgeny Gradovich giving way to four consecutive losses, but he showed that there’s still a bit left in the tank at 32 this past January by giving Panamanian up-and-comer Jaime Arboleda everything he could handle. It’s also worth noting that of his five other losses, only the one against Alfredo Santiago failed to age well; the others came against Ronny Rios, Joseph Diaz Jr., Rene Alvarado, and Ryan Garcia.
Valdez (27-0, 21 KO) blew up Matias Rueda for the WBO featherweight belt back in 2016, then successfully defended it six times before the 126-pound limit became too much. His super featherweight debut wasn’t the cleanest, as he was down on the scorecards when he stopped late-notice replacement Adam Lopez in controversial fashion last December.
Not a great matchup, obviously, but Velez has never been stopped and Valdez’s issues with Lopez were worrying. Better than hopping straight into a Berchelt fight, I suppose.