LAS VEGAS — Carl Frampton and Oscar Valdez earned shots at versions of the super featherweight world title on Saturday at the Cosmopolitan, but they got their opportunities in vastly different manners.
Frampton rolled to a one-sided 10-round decision over Tyler McCreary despite fighting with two injured hands. He knocked McCreary down with a pair of vicious body shots, once in the sixth and again in the ninth, and won 100-88 on all three cards.
That sets Frampton up, promoter Bob Arum said, for a bout with WBO champion Jamel Herring in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in the first four months of 2020.
Valdez fought a late replacement, Adam “Blu Nose” Lopez, a featherweight who took the bout at Friday’s weigh-in after Andres Gutierrez missed weight by a ridiculous 11 pounds.
Lopez fought surprisingly well and dropped Valdez in the second round with a sharp left hook. Valdez was so stunned that he later didn’t even realize he was down. But he came back to drop Lopez with a left-right in the seventh and finished him with a flurry as the clock was winding down. The time of the stoppage was 2:53.
That sets up a fight with WBC champion Miguel Berchelt, which Arum said would be on Father’s Day. It has the possibility of being a modern version of the Erik Morales-Marco Antonio Barrera classic.
“Not might be, it will be another Morales-Barrera,” Arum said.
Frampton fought for the first time in a year because of a freak accident in August when a large decoration in a hotel fell and broke his left hand. He said after the fight Saturday that he injured the hand twice in camp, then thought he may have broken his right hand in the eighth.
But with a large contingent of Irishmen in the sellout crowd of 2,500, Frampton never thought of withdrawing.
“There was no way I was ever pulling out of this fight,” said Frampton, who said he went to the body as much as he did not for any strategic reasons but because it was easier for him than hitting McCreary in the head.
Lopez wowed the crowd and impressed everyone who saw him against Valdez. He was supposedly way overmatched, but he made a fight of it and was up on one card and down on two others at the time of the stoppage.
Max DeLuca had Lopez up 57-56 at the time of the stoppage. Dave Moretti had it 58-55 and Glenn Feldman had it 57-56 for Valdez. Yahoo Sports had Valdez 57-56 through six rounds.
But that didn’t matter much to those at ringside, who cheered on Lopez throughout and booed the stoppage.
“That’s an example of a situation where we lost the battle but we won the war,” Lopez trainer Buddy McGirt said. “People didn’t know Adam Lopez before, but I guarantee you this, they know who he is now.”
Referee Russell Mora’s stoppage seemed a tad quick, as Lopez had his hands up and seemed steady on his feet. But coming in a year in which four men have already died in the ring, it was hard to argue with it.
McGirt said he thought it may have been “a touch quick, but then again, that’s my guy and I’m a little biased.”
Lopez said he was fine and wished he’d have been able to continue.
“He hurt me, but I was fine,” Lopez said. “I was blocking shots. I think he caught me one time, and the referee stopped it. I think I would’ve have been fine if I would’ve finished the round. I would’ve come back. I think I was up on the scorecards, and it’s just a shame, but this is boxing. I can’t do nothing about it, but I would love a rematch with Oscar. He’s a true fighter. I’m not a 130-pounder, but I’m a real fighter, as well.”
Valdez put on a show despite not looking his best. Arum pointed out that it’s always difficult to change opponents so late, and Lopez’s hand speed and quickness gave Valdez issues.
“I was surprised like everyone else,” Berchelt said of Lopez’s performance. “I never thought he’d have gotten dropped by Lopez.”
But Valdez did what the great fighters do, and he got up off the canvas and found a way to win. He was firing with bad intentions on every shot he threw and while he occasionally was countered as a result, he made it exciting.
He remained cool and stuck with his plan and it eventually paid off.
“My experience made me win the fight,” Valdez said. “I have a great amateur background and a lot more experience than him, and I think that’s what made me win the fight.”
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