On Saturday, April 9, rising Mexican superstar Oscar Valdez (20-0, 13 KOs) met his toughest challenge to date in Evgeny Gradovich (21-2-1, 9 KOs) on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao vs. Tim Bradley undercard.
Valdez has been very vocal about wanting to move on to the next step in his young career by winning a major title and tonight he made a very impressive case for it.
From the opening bell it was clear Valdez came to impress. Although statistically the opening round was very even, it was Valdez who controlled the pace. By the second round, Gradovich found himself with a cut above his left eye that came from a clean right hand by Valdez. While Gradovich landed some punches of his own, none seemed to faze the 25-year-old Mexican.
In the third, Gradovich seemed to show signs of discomfort and found himself having trouble closing down on his mouthpiece. Entering what would be the final round of the fight, Valdez continued to display superior boxing abilities.
A flush left hook by Valdez ended the night for Gradovich as referee Russell Mora waved his hands in the air, signaling that he had seen enough.
When complimented on his performance my HBO’s Max Kellerman, Valdez was humble in his response.
“I can’t take all the credit,” said Valdez. “I have a great team surrounding me and each one of them deserves credit.”
Valdez has grown through every bout and tonight he showcased one of the most impressive performances of his career.
“One thing I said from the beginning. The fights are only going to get harder and I need to evolve and that’s what I’ve been doing,” stated a confident Valdez.
“I think tonight I earned my shot at a title but I’m going to leave that to my manager and see what happens,” said Valdez.
With a strong display of strength, speed, and boxing knowledge, it’s safe to say that Valdez has promoted himself from rising prospect to serious contender.
Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank