GLENDALE, Ariz. — Emanuel Navarrete swarmed with his trademark punches from puzzling angles, while Oscar Valdez, his right eye grotesquely swollen shut, searched for a fight-altering left hook.
That counterpunch landed multiple times throughout the 130-pound title fight between fellow Mexicans, but the shots never forced Navarrete to waver. The volume-punching machine connected on four-, five- and even six-punch combinations while Valdez stood his ground in a firefight.
In an all-out slugfest on ESPN, Navarrete (38-1, 31 KOs) retained his WBO junior lightweight title via unanimous decision, with the judges scoring it 116-112, 118-110 and 119-109. ESPN scored it 116-112.
Navarrete outlanded Valdez 216-140 while throwing more than twice as many punches — 1,038 to Valdez’s 436.
For Valdez, a former champion at 126 and 130 pounds, it’s a second defeat in his past three fights. The Olympian entered the fight rated No. 1 by ESPN at junior lightweight but failed to recapture his title in his adopted home state.