Valdez Shines and the Women on Top for Top Rank Promotions

Updated: April 14, 2015
fuentes vs perez

This past Saturday night at the Laredo Energy Arena a successful and extremely entertaining fight card took place. Top Rank Promotions and Nord Boxing Promotions electrified those in attendance despite having had the highly anticipated main event between Jesse Magdaleno and John Apolinario fall through. What was supposed to be the co-main event between Oscar Valdez (16-0, 14 KO’s) and Jose Ramirez (25-6-2, 15 KO’s) moved up to the main fight while Brazilian Olympian silver medalist Esquiva Falcao (9-0, 5 KO’s) had his moment in the spotlight on national television against tough Kingsville fighter Omar Rojas (3-3, 1 KO) in the co-main event of UniMas’ “Solo Boxeo Tecate”.

Oscar Valdez, the Nogales, Mexico fighting product showed both those in attendance and television viewers why Top Rank and manager Frank Espinoza speak so highly of this young man. Valdez’s superior technique, speed, power, and ring generalship were all obvious against Ramirez, a previous belt holder who has been in with the likes of Vasyl Lomachenko, Abner Mares, and Rey Bautista.

Valdez dominated every single round behind crisp, potent jabs, hellacious body punching, and methodic counter-punching which only fighters with twice his experience show. In the 2nd round a slippery slope decline for Ramirez became evident as over-hand rights and left hooks started to make their mark on the veteran fighter. A left hook – right hand combination pushed Ramirez back into the ropes and a short while later a counter left hook left Ramirez on spaghetti legs only to be saved by the bell.

In the 3rd stanza both fighters’ heads came together with Ramirez suffering a major cut. This seemed to throw Ramirez off of his game plan as he started an aggressive assault which would be turned back in the worst of ways. A weave underneath a punch followed by an organ-demolishing left hook to the liver left Ramirez writhing in pain on his knees as the referee administered the 10-count just over two minutes into the round. Valdez remains undefeated.

In the co-main event of the evening, Brazil’s Esquiva Falcao remained unbeaten by dishing out a hefty dose of leather stuffing to a game but outgunned Omar Rojas over 6 rounds. Falcao’s amateur and Olympic pedigree were on display as he won every single round in what turned out to be a one sided affair which only true sadists would enjoy.

In the evening most violent and entertaining matchup, Laredo’s own Christina Fuentes (4-7-4) took home a majority decision against Coahuila, Mexico’s Mayela Perez (6-19-4, 3 KO’s). Both females gave their all inside the squared circle and for that the crowd loved them.

It did not take long for both combatants to become well acquainted as Fuentes came out the obvious aggressor. Heated exchanges of leather was established in the opening round and would not stop throughout all six of them. Fuentes would push forward with aggression while Perez would use her technique and experience to take most of the punishment off of her arms and hands. Both fighters gave and took.

The 2nd round looked almost identical to the first only that Perez’s experience and boxing technique clearly began to show. As both agreed to fight inside the phone booth, Perez’s quick counters after Fuentes’ combinations mostly to her arms and gloves made a deep impression on this boxing scribe. While Fuentes came out rolling like a bulldozer looking to tear down her opponent, Perez perfectly fit the Stuart Scott coined phrase, “As cool as the other side of the pillow.”

The 3rd round saw Fuentes kick in another gear in aggression as she would work the body up to the head in a fashion that would have made Ricky Hatton proud. Meanwhile, Perez seemed content to allow her opponent to the aggressive advantage while lingering on the ropes and finding counter-punching opportunities, which she did. By this point in the fight the sense of hearing became of great importance as the thunder was not only being provided by Mother Nature outside the arena but also by Perez’s fists.

The 4th round saw Fuentes’ aggression remain while overhand right’s and left hooks to Perez’s liver found their target. Perez seemed to gas out a bit in this round as in the next, which surely was a product of Fuentes’ pressure. Despite this counter punching opportunities were still taken advantage of only with a slightly lesser pop.

In the final round, Mayela “La Cobrita” Perez found her second wind and along with Fuentes gave the fans what in all likelihood was the round of the night. Fuentes moving forward pushing Perez into the ropes while Perez would snipe Fuentes with quick powerful shots in between her punches. Towards the end of the round, Perez appeared the stronger of the two.

In the end one judge saw it 57-57. Another had it 58-56 for Fuentes. While some judge saw another fight in some other place and scored it 59-55. This writer had it 57-57 as Perez’s experience, counter punching ability, defense, and power carried her in rounds 2,3, and 6 while Fuentes’ aggression would not be denied in the other three.

After a fight of this caliber we can only hope that Top Rank brings back both ladies to the area or at least allows us to see them fight on some other Top Rank cards. And after such effort and violence, this fight will surely be a candidate for our “Fight of the Year” award and unanimously took the “Fight of the Night” honor.

In other entertaining action, Eddie Ramirez (8-14-1, 3 KO’s) and Alberto Navarro (3-10-2, 1 KO’s) put on one entertaining scrap over 4-rounds. Ramirez came away with the unianimous decision. Leopoldo Martinez and Ricardo Mena (0-1) battled to a majority decision in favor of Martinez (2-0). These two youngsters left it all in the ring in a fight which this writer scored it a draw. And opening the evening Edinburg’s own Luis “El Flash” Castro (8-1, 6 KO’s) blew away Felipe Cordova (10-6, 4 KO’s) inside of two rounds.

Javier Cantu may be reached at

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