Home Boxing News Emanuel Navarrete vs Oscar Valdez has all the hallmarks of Marco Antonio...

Emanuel Navarrete vs Oscar Valdez has all the hallmarks of Marco Antonio Barrera vs Erik Morales classic

Oscar Valdez and Emanuel Navarrete. Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

When WBO super featherweight champion Emanuel ‘Vaquero’ Navarrete 37-1 (31) meets Oscar Valdez 31-1 (23) at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona on Saturday night, there will be much more on the line than simply a world title belt.

This fight is about Mexican pride.

No-one knows this more than Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales, who fought a scintillating three-fight series across the super bantamweight, featherweight and super featherweight divsions from 2000 to 2004.

Morales won the first fight while Barrera picked up victories in the following two bouts. All three were instant classics that went to the scorecards and could have arguably gone either way.

Navarrete and Valdez are looking to add to that storied history.

And what better way to stoke the fires of national rivalry than to have two legends of the sport watching the action from ringside.

“The fans want to see a fight like the ones between Morales and Barrera,” said Valdez, 32, who has previously held the WBO featherweight and WBC super featherweight world titles.

“Every time there is a fight between Mexicans it’s a great battle and this won’t be the exception.

“I always tell people that I grew up during the era of Morales and Barrera. They inspired me to be the fighter that I am today. So, to leave something similar in history would mean the world to me.”

Navarrete dipped his cowboy hat to his countrymen too.

“To know that two legends from an important Mexican trilogy will be there during fight week gives us some added pressure,” said the 28-year-old Navarrete, a former WBO super bantamweight and featherweight titleholder.

“They set the bar really high. What they did is difficult to do, let alone surpass. But Valdez and I have what it takes to leave a similar mark.”

If their fight comes anywhere close to those lofty heights, fans both at ringside and watching from home will be out of their chairs.

You can count Valdez’s manager Frank Espinoza amongst those who will be shocked if the fight fails to produce.

“I would be surprised if this doesn’t turn out to be a fight of the year candidate,” Espinoza said.

“Their styles will combine into something very exciting. These are extremely competitive, talented and hungry fighters. Mark my words, this will be an unforgettable fight.”

Valdez had a tougher than expected outing in a winning effort against Adam Lopez in his last outing following a wide points loss to Shakur Stevenson.

Navarrete had his own problems in his last bout, recovering from a fourth-round knockdown to stop Liam Wilson in nine.

Both boxers have something to prove.

“Oscar is a smart individual and he’s made adjustments to his style which has improved his fight game,” Espinoza said.

“You’re going to see a well conditioned and an even better version of Oscar Valdez. He’s going to show you what he’s made of. Which is courage, skills, intelligence and the desire to succeed at a the top level.”