Unbeaten WBO Latino lightweight champion Felix Verdejo (22-0, 15 KOs) will be making a defense of his title on February 3 against the big punching Oliver Flores (27-2-2, 17 KO’s) in a 10 round fight at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The 23-year-old Verdejo is attempting to restart his career following a motorcycle accident he suffered earlier this year in Puerto Rico. Verdejo has been out the ring since his 5th round knockout win over Juan Jose Martinez in June of this year.
With a ton of talent, size and punching going for him, Verdejo is on the fast track to getting a title shot against WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan. Promoted by the powerhouse promotional company Top Rank, Verdejo could be challenging Flanagan for his WBO belt in 2017, provided he not suffer any setbacks in his fights that come before that. Verdejo is ranked No.1 with the World Boxing Organization as of December’s rankings with the organization.
Flores, 25, is a respectable opponent with good punching power and a lot of talent. The only thing that has held Flores back from winning a world title is his punch resistance. Flores was knocked out last year by former WBA Super World super featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama in the 3rd round. Additionally, Flores was also knocked out by Miguel Berchelt in the 3rd round four years ago in 2012.
There’s no shame in losing to fighters of that caliber, considering those are both huge power punchers of the first order. Never the less, the Flores was soundly beaten by both of them. Flores hasn’t fought since his loss to Uchiyama in December 2015. With the long period of time out of the ring, it’s possible that Flores will have some ring rust when faces Verdejo in February.
Moving up to lightweight could further complicate Flores’ chances of success. He’s going to be facing a bigger fighter in Verdejo than the guys he’s been fighting at super featherweight. Verdejo, 5’9”, rehydrates to the mid-140s for his fights, making him a welterweight on fight nights. The size, speed and punching power that Verdejo has going for him could prove to be a nightmare for Flores.
Verdejo said this to Fight News about his match against Flores on February 3:
“To fight once again at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum is the continuation of a dream for me and also the opportunity to show the world that I’m ready to bring a world title to my Island,” said Verdejo. “I can’t wait for February 3. I want to share my joy with my people and I also want to send a direct message to the WBO world champion, Terry Flanagan, that I’m not a tune-up fight for anyone,” said Verdejo.
The results of the Verdejo-Flores fight will show whether Verdejo is ready to face Flanagan directly or if he needs more time to work on his boxing skills. It should be an interesting fight.