A Puerto Rican boxer-puncher with solid amateur credentials being guided by promotional outfit Top Rank. It sounds all too familiar, doesn’t it? Bob Arum is hoping that it isn’t just a coincidence and that Felix Verdejo emulates Miguel Cotto’s success as best he can, or preferably, surpasses it. That’s a tough road to follow, but “El Diamante” looks posed to give it a go.
At the very least he is the sharpest looking prospect to come from “the island of enchantment” in recent years, which is always a compliment with the steady class of fighters they produce. Verdejo is quick, can hit, has good timing and accuracy, and again in reference to Cotto, can box and brawl a bit. There just doesn’t seem to be much he cannot do.
The 23-year-old has made steady progress since leaving the amateur ranks behind, overcoming better and better competition each time out. Some he has put out spectacularly, like his right hook-induced stoppage over Sergio Villanueva, or his starching of Lauro Alcantar with a beautiful left. His next bout is another step up. Verdejo is fighting a man whose only losses have come to quality opposition, a Nicaraguan named Oliver Flores (27-2-2 (17 KO’s)).
Given Verdejo pulls through it, he will be on the cusp of landing a shot at one of the 135-pound division’s top dogs. And anyone who understands the political in-workings of Verdejo’s promoter should believe Terry Flanagan would be the prime target. It’s an intriguing matchup, but Verdejo must keep doing his part.
Of course he’ll have to go above and beyond that to inscribe his name among Puerto Rico’s elites, but he doesn’t seem to feel the pressure to do so, telling boxinginsider.com that “I will work hard and those great fighters had their career and I will have mine.”
No matter who you are the measuring stick will always be out, but it’s no rush. He has plenty of time to prove himself and loyal following if he does so.