Undefeated former WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez 26-0 (20) returns to the ring when he takes on Andres Gutierrez 38-2-1 (25) at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night.
“I’m just excited to be back. Andres Gutierrez is a very tough fighter and he is coming with everything. I feel good and I’m just ready to give a solid performance,” Oscar Valdez told Fightnews.
The fight will mark the super feather debut for the 28-year-old Mexican.
“This will benefit me a lot. My last fights I came in trying to lose weight. The healthier thing was for me to go up to 130. So I do feel this was the best decision I ever made,” said Valdez, who is coming off a hard-fought unanimous decision win over Jason Sanchez in June.
“I feel healthier and stronger. At 126, after the fifth or sixth round I didn’t feel as strong. I felt I didn’t have any punch or energy.”
Gutierrez has won three straight fights since coming up short in his world title bid against WBA champion Abner Mares two years ago. In his last bout he won a 12-round points decision over former world champion Tomas Rojas.
“Andres Gutierrez is a dangerous fighter. He’s been in with some dangerous fighters and he knows if he beats me. He gets a title shot,” Valdez said.
“I have to do whatever it takes to be victorious. He wants it just as bad as I do.”
The super featherweight division is stacked with talent. If Valdez gets past Gutierrez, there are tantalising matchups with WBC champion Miguel Berchelt, IBF titleholder Tevin Farmer, WBA boss Leo Santa Cruz and Rene Alvarado.
“There’s a lot of names out there and we have to take it. Step by step,” Valdez said.
Former world champion Carl Frampton will face Trevor McCrary in the co-feature bout.
“I would love to fight Frampton. That’s a fight that I’ve been wanting. Frampton is a big name, but I want Alacran Berchelt and he has that WBC belt. That is my dream bout,” Valdez said.
“There is just something about that belt. Julio Cesar Chavez, Erik Morales those are my idols they’ve had those belts and I’d like to do the same.”
Top Rank chairman Bob Arum added: “Frampton and Valdez are two of the best in the weight category. There’s a lot of mixing and matching we can do. Frampton and Valdez win that would be a great match, I’m sure Josh Warrington would be a great match too.”