Former two weight world champion Oscar Valdez sits beneath the WBO world title from the governing bodies annual congress in the blistering Caribbean heat two months on from a lop-sided points defeat to Emanuel Navarrete in Glendale, Texas.
The 32 year old Mexican put in a gutsy display in his attempt to become a three time world champion despite the wide scorecards and dominance of his opponent. He is perched in sixth position of the WBO world rankings with envisions of having yet another run at world glory.
“I don’t actually know where I am ranked.” Valdez said in an exclusive interview for ProBox TV. “Hopefully I get the chance to run it back with Navarrete. I was talking to him and I think we are both on the same page, we both want a rematch. Obviously he has a fight coming up in front of him with Robson Conceicao, which is a tough fight for him. I do believe he is going to win, I hope he wins. Even though we were rivals at one point, I wish the Mexican fighters always to win. It’s going to be a tough fight and hopefully he wins because it will be a chance to get a rematch with him. It will be for two things, one because I lost to him and because of this [pointing to the WBO belt above his left shoulder], fighting for the world title. This is the main thing us fighters want, to become world champion.”
Valdez was in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic along with Navarrete for the yearly festivities. The pair were seen embracing at one the many Cocktail Nights from the glitzy holiday resort where the champion was honoured by president Francisco Valcarcel.
“He’s an object right now, it’s nothing personal.” Valdez explained his feelings towards his most recent foe. “We are used to seeing two Mexican fighters with that bad blood. You got that macho thing where we want to have something personal with them, there is nothing personal between me and Vaquero, but inside the ring we are both going to be sure that we are trying to knock each other's heads off and do our best to almost kill our opponents. It’s interesting, I’m just now waiting for my shot. I respect the rankings, you said I’m at 6. I might need another fight to get another ranking. I’m still training because you never know when you might get that call. Everyday I run, everyday I train, everyday I’m boxing. I’m waiting for my moment so when my moment comes, I’ll be ready.”
The fellow Mexican warriors seemed joyed to see each other since their battle in Texas as attendees snapped pictures of the rare scene a day earlier. I posed the question ‘could you see a friendship brewing despite a rematch under consideration?’
“We could become friends.” Valdez responded with some hesitancy. “There is nothing personal outside the ring, inside the ring like I said, we want to kill each other. But, he is a good humble guy and I’ve got nothing but respect for him. He’s earned everything he has got. I wouldn’t say we are friends because we don’t really know each other too well. We share the same dream, to become a world champion, he is the current champion right now. I do believe down the line it becomes a friendship. Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales, they didn’t like each other, now they are friends and share a podcast together. I’ve never had any beef with my opponents, nothing but respect for all of them. Luckily, because I’m not a very confrontational guy when we are face to face or tweeting, I just want to step inside the ring and handle business inside the ring.”
Valdez’s face lit up when discussing fighting again as he pointed to the imaginary ring in front of him. We moved track to discuss the current super featherweight scene where O’Shaquie Foster, Joe Cordina and Hector Luis Garcia all hold world titles.
“It is a tough division.” Valdez added. “You have Foster, Garcia. Even in the WBO rankings there are some good Puerto Rican’s. I would love the chance to fight any of those. But, the one guy that has just been bugging me, I’ve got Navarrete in my eyes. He’s the guy who’s got the belt and he’s the guy who beat me.Of course Shakur Stevenson beat me, but he is in another division. So all I got on my mind and what is bothering me is Emanuel Navarrete. I talked to my promotional company which is Top Rank, we highly doubt to be out this year. We are looking to start something early next year. I need some news soon because I love boxing. Boxing is my life! I’ve been boxing since I was eight years old. I just love boxing, I love talking about it. I love talking about Terence Crawford, Canelo, Claressa Shields, [Alycia] Baumgardner. The list goes on and on."