Oscar Valdez of Nogales, Mexico at the Arizona border last fought a year and twenty days ago before stepping in Saturday with Adam ‘Blunose’ Lopez from Los Angeles, in a junior lightweight battle on the Haney-Lomachenko undercard at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas presented by Top Rank Boxing.
Valdez (31-1, 23 KOs), former featherweight and junior lightweight champion, came in shape at age 32, and didn't look rusty. He went the distance with the crafty Lopez (16-5-1, 6 KOs) and busted his nose, exciting the arena with a tenth-round unanimous decision win. The scores were 98-92, 98-91, 97-93.
Valdez likely gets a crack at Emanuel Navarrete next. Valdez spoke to ESPN's Bernardo Osuna after getting his hand raised. The winner said that he wanted to be a better, smarter fighter. Yes, he wants Navarrete, he reiterated.
Valdez looked to load up in the third, he got comfortable quick on this Top Rank/ESPN PPV card. Looks like the time off suited him.
Lopez had better luck in the fourth, moving more. In the fifth, Lopez started clowning more. Was he having fun, or losing focus? Valdez wanted to land a nasty left hook, even more so by now.
The fight tempo dipped, and the crowd disappeared midway through. Lopez’s temperament maybe had something to do with that, he is a very relaxed boxer.
It stayed staid through the eighth. In the ninth, Valdez turned it up. He was thinking stoppage by this time. In the tenth, we saw blood from the nose of Lopez. Would he make it to the final bell? He would/did. Barely.
Muratalla TKO Impresses Watchers
His nickname is apt: “Danger” Raymond Muratalla took on Jeremiah Nakathila in a lightweight battle to open the televised portion of the Haney-Lomachenko undercard at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas Saturday.
Normally a slow starter, Muratalla sent a message in round two about his skill and relevance, with heavy thunder on Nakathila.
The replay showed a right started it, then both hands landed hard. The second real hard right that landed snapped the losers’ head back, and the ref, Robert Hoyle, hopped in to stop the target practice.
The 26-year-old Muratalla (18-0, 15 KOs) remains undefeated, while the Namibian drops to 23-3, 19 KOs. Nakathila had won two straight since losing to Shakur Stevenson.
Muratalla is trained in Southern California by Robert Garcia, who calls the winner a future star. The end came at 2:48 of the second.
“I want the winner of the main event,” Muratalla told ESPN's Bernardo Osuna after the hand-raising.
Junko Nakatani Impressive As Heck Versus Moloney
Super-duper flyweight Junko Nakatani upped his profile with a nasty KO of Andrew Maloney in round twelve of their scrap. The bout ran before the start of the PPV.
The Aussie Moloney didn’t start great, picked it up, then got finished. Maloney went down in the second round and 11th round, before being knocked out, conclusively, in the 12th.
Fans Will Want To See Junko Nakatani Next Fight
The southpaw Nakatani from Sagamihara, Kanagawa, Japan looked too big, quick, accurate, and strong at times. His uppercuts pinged the head of Maloney, who showed a jumbo heart.
A pool shot left hand, straight shot, put Moloney down in the second to last round. A lean-in left put Moloney really down, on his back, he looked not good at all, in the final round.
The vacant WBO World Super Flyweight title was up for grabs, by the way. The 25-year-old Nakatani improves to 25-0, with 19 KOs. Moloney, age 32, drops to 25-3, 16 KOs.