Emanuel Navarrete overcame a slow and rusty start tonight in ESPN’s main event to make a dramatic stoppage in the sixth round to retain his WBO featherweight title. Eduardo Baez fought the best fight I’ve ever seen him as he stuck to his game plan and more often than not beating Navarrete to the punch.
Through five rounds it seemed as though the fight was slipping out of Navarrete’s hands — something even his corner seemed to feel as they pressed him to fight with more urgency leading into the sixth — and in that round Navarette (36-1, 30 KO) delivered immediately with a beautiful liver shot that Baez (21-3-2, 7 KO) just couldn’t recover from. Navarrete was down on two of the official scorecards by a solid margin at the time he scored the stoppage.
In the post-fight interview Navarrete said his 10-month layoff played a big part in his slow start today and says he’ll take some time to deliberate his next move considering he might’ve had some difficulty making weight (particularly with the eating habits mentioned by ESPN’s broadcast team).
Navarrete vs Baez highlights
- Giovanni Santillan UD-10 Julio Luna: In a fight that was much closer than the official scorecards would lead you to believe, Giovanni Santillan won today but took some real punishment in order to do so. Santillan (30-0, 16 KOs) adopted a seek-and-destroy style here and while he had some early success, Luna (19-1-2, 10 KOs) was able to time him and strike him repeatedly with uppercuts for the duration of the second half. As the fight wore on Santillan would additionally take a couple of head clashes causing big cuts that hampered his vision, but he did show the fortitude to hang in there and slug it out as beset he could until the end. I scored the fight a 95-95 draw for BLH, but the official judges turned in one scorecard of 96-94 and two unconscionable shutouts of 100-90.
Finding a home for that left to the body pic.twitter.com/FAncHMMsQi— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) August 21, 2022
- Nico Ali Walsh KO-2 Reyes Sanchez: A rematch was mostly one way traffic in what turned out to be a short fight for Nico Ali Walsh (6-0, 5 KOs). Ali Walsh started quickly using a fast jab to establish range but still showed at least some leaky defense. Be that as it may, Ali Walsh was just too much for Sanchez (7-3, 3 KOs) here, as Ali Walsh lined up picture perfect liver shot to drop and stop Sanchez in the second round.