Former WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez 27-0 (21) survived an early scare to knockout late substitute Adam ‘Blunose’ Lopez 13-2 (6) in seven rounds at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night.
Now campaigning at super featherweight, Valdez found himself on the deck from a left hook during the second frame before rallying in the mid-rounds to drop Lopez with a left hook of his own in the seventh. Valdez battered Lopez, forcing referee Russell Mora to step in and wave off the fight at the 2:53 mark.
Lopez, who was slated to fight at featherweight on the undercard, stepped in to replace Andres Gutierrez who weighed in 11 pounds heavy and was removed from the card.
Judge Dave Moretti had Valdez leading 58-55 at the time of the stoppage, while judge Glenn Feldman had him up 57-56. Judge Max DeLuca scored the bout 57-56 for Lopez.
The fight was billed as a WBC world title eliminator, putting Valdez in line to face champion Miguel ‘El Alacran’ Berchelt 37-1 (33) who watched the fight from ringside.
“I was very surprised. I take my hat off to Adam Lopez. He’s a great fighter, great warrior, just like his father [the late Hector Lopez] was,” Valdez said.
“I just got hit. This is boxing. I prepared myself for two, three months for Gutierrez, but that’s no excuse. This kid is a warrior.
“Berchelt is a true champion inside the ring and outside the ring. Fans love him. That’s the one I want to fight. He has that WBC belt, and he’s trying to take it back home.”
Lopez’s trainer Buddy McGirt praised his charge for his gritty performance.
“That’s an example of a situation where we lost the battle but we won the war,” McGirt said. “People didn’t know Adam Lopez before, but I guarantee you this, they know who he is now.”
Promoter Bob Arum said the Berchelt-Valdez fight would take place on Father’s Day and has all the ingredients to be a modern version of the Erik Morales-Marco Antonio Barrera classic.
“Not might be, it will be another Morales-Barrera,” Arum said.