He was fighting in front of his hometown fans for the first time since 2015 and for the first time as a world titleholder. But while trying to put on a show, Oscar Valdez showboated a little too much in the fourth round, and was dropped by a Genesis Servania right hand.
Valdez recovered nicely to retain his WBO featherweight world title for the third time by unanimous decision over Servania before a crowd of 4,103 in the main event of a Top Rank ESPN card at the Tucson Convention Center in Arizona.
Valdez won by scores of 116-110, a questionable 119-111, and 117-109.
“He caught my square. I can admit that,” Valdez said. “He got me good, but I wasn’t hurt.
Valdez had been in control of the fight leading up to the knockdown, but after Servania took a hard right to begin the fifth round and motioned Valdez to bring some more, he got his wish, but it wasn’t exactly what he wanted. Servania was sent to the floor with a thunderous overhand left.
Although Servania countered a reckless Valdez at points in the fight, he was not throwing nor landing enough punches to sway the judges.
According to Compubox punch statistics, Valde landed 192 of 697 punches (28 percent) while Servania connected with 120 of 450 (27 percent).
They went at each other during the championship rounds, but it was Servania who felt a sense of urgency to pick up the aggression, but instead, he felt the power of a Valdez right hand that nearly floored him for the second time.
Servania knocked Valdez back in the final round, but it was too little, too late.
“I knew he was a tough fighter; I knew. But I’m not hurt, I’m not tired. I’m ready to go. I was hitting him with some good shots,” Valdez said.
Servania (29-1, 12 KO’s), 26, of the Philippines, who was facing the first significant test of his career, called for a rematch.
“Let’s do it one more time,” he said. “Valdez knows how much I hurt him. I hurt him a lot. He knows it. Valdez knows he felt my power. It was wrong the way the scorecards came up.”
While 119-111 was out to lunch, the rest were just about spot on, and Valdez was the clear winner.
Top Rank promoter hopes to match Valdez in 2018 with his first step-up opponent.
“We’re going to try to get [Carl] Frampton,” Arum said. “We would do it next year and we would put maybe someplace in Texas or maybe Las Vegas. Frampton would probably object to coming to Tucson, but we can find a place to do that fight. It’s a great fight.”
Just days ago, Frampton signed an advisory deal with MTK Global, a company run by former European middleweight champion Matthew Macklin, that works closely with Top Rank.
If he has a name, count Valdez in!
“I’m ready for whoever,” he said. “But Frampton, or [WBA champion Leo] Santa Cruz, I am ready.”