- What: WBO Junior Lightweight Title Fight
- Who: Emanuel Navarrete vs. Oscar Valdez
- Date: Saturday, August 12, 2023
- Time: 10:00 p.m. ET
- Location: Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, AZ
- How to Watch: ESPN
Since he lost his sixth pro bout, Emanuel Navarrete has been unbeaten, going 32-0. The 28-year-old has also picked up three world titles since that 2012 setback, winning the WBO junior featherweight, WBO featherweight, and most recently, WBO junior lightweight championships. On Saturday, August 12, Navarrete puts his WBO junior lightweight title on the line at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona, against 32-year-old Oscar Valdez. Here is some background on the fighters before we discuss, in detail, the betting breakdown of the Navarrete vs. Valdez title fight, which ESPN will broadcast.
Navarrete (37-1 with 31 knockouts) moved up to 130 pounds in February, scoring a ninth-round TKO victory over Liam Wilson to claim the vacant WBO junior lightweight championship. That fight was initially booked to be Navarrete vs. Valdez, but Valdez withdrew from that fight and was replaced by Wilson. Navarrete won the contest despite being knocked down in the fourth round. This fight is his first defense of the title. Before moving up in weight, Navarrete defended the junior featherweight title five times and the featherweight belt thrice.
Valdez (31-1 with 23 knockouts) opened his career with a perfect 30-0 record. His first loss came in April 2022 when Shakur Stevenson took the WBC super featherweight title from him via unanimous decision. Before that loss, he had defended that belt once. Valdez also successfully defended the WBO featherweight belt six times.
Emanuel Navarrete vs. Oscar Valdez betting picks
Emanuel Navarrete betting breakdown
The WBO champ, Emanuel Navarrete, is the No. 2 ranked junior lightweight, according to ESPN. Despite moving up a weight division in 2023, the Mexican fighter holds a substantial reach advantage over Valdez in this fight, at six inches. He is also two inches taller than his foe. Those physical attributes will allow him to implement his style against Valdez. That style includes using lunging jabs, lead-hand hooks, and lead-hand uppercuts. In short, Navarrete likes to use his reach advantage and fight at distance. Navarrete also employs unconventional footwork and timing, which makes him a tough fighter to gauge when coupled with his length.
Oscar Valdez betting breakdown
Although he does not hold a 130-pound title, ESPN has Oscar Valdez as the No. 1 ranked fighter in the junior lightweight division. He can hold onto that rating and once again become a champion.
Valdez is the smaller fighter, but he knows how to use his size to his advantage. He baits his opponents into making mistakes and practically forces them to step into him. Once that happens, he uncorks fast counter hooks, and it only takes one of those punches to change the trajectory of the fight. Also a Mexican boxer, Valdez does an excellent job of disguising a lead hook by using a lot of jabs. Valdez is also willing to mix things up in close if the fight requires.
Valdez is going to be the biggest test of Navarrete’s career. That’s not the case going back the other way. The experience Valdez picked up by going 12 rounds with Shakur Stevenson could prove to be invaluable for Valdez in this matchup.
Emanuel Navarrete vs. Oscar Valdez: Who has the edge?
Oscar Valdez has shown that he can beat an opponent like Emanuel Navarrete through a high guard and patience. Valdez employed this style in his win over Jayson Velez. He won that fight via 10th-round TKO by enticing Velez to step into punching range and then firing out a quick and powerful left hook. Valdez also used this style to knock out Miguel Berchelt. Navarrete is better than both men, but he must still be aware of his countering ability, speed, and power of Valdez.
Best Bets for Emanuel Navarrete vs. Oscar Valdez
Against lesser opponents, Emanuel Navarrete’s unorthodox style gives him an advantage. That is not the case against someone as skilled and patient as Oscar Valdez. The betting pick in this fight is to go with the betting favorite in Valdez. There is a chance that Valdez will score a knockout win via his powerful and patient left hook, but that’s a risky bet to make against a fighter with only one career loss. With that, there could be value in wagering on a knockout, so I would look at those prop bet odds and bet accordingly. My betting pick for this fight is Valdez to win via unanimous decision.
Best bet for Emanuel Navarrete vs. Oscar Valdez: Oscar Valdez to win via decision.
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