By: Hans Themistode
Bob Arum has always been impressed with Emanuel Navarrete but his admiration for the WBO featherweight champion has seemingly gone to another level.
The long-time promoter sat comfortably in his ringside seat less than two weeks ago as Naverrete defended his world title against Joet Gonzalez. Arum couldn’t keep himself from smiling as the long-reigning champion fought a fight of the year contender en route to prolonging his championship status.
The 126-pound landscape has a slew of great fighters that Arum is more than willing to put his Top Rank promoted champion against. With that said, Arum is also intrigued by the possibility of Naverette moving up in weight to take on WBC 130 pound champion, Oscar Valdez.
“There’s a lot of places and a lot of good featherweights he can fight,” said Arum to FightHype.com. “What about him and Valdez? That would be some fight.”
A showdown between Valdez and Navarrete could placate several including the fighters, Arum, fight fans, and media pundits. However, Shakur Stevenson would be none too pleased if their contest were to take place next.
The newly crowned WBO 130 pound champion truncated the title reign of Jamel Herring this past weekend at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. Following his win, Stevenson took aim at Valdez and claimed that Arum would be “protecting” his WBC champion if he placed him in the ring with Navarette as opposed to himself.
In spite of Stevenson’s criticism, the former 2016 Olympic silver medalist could be given no choice but to wait patiently on the sidelines.
Valdez, to his credit, has publicly asked for a showdown with Stevenson as well. The 30-year-old, much like Stevenson, recently wrapped another world title around his waist as he dismantled Miguel Berchelt earlier this year. Just a few months later, Valdez saw his stock take somewhat of a hit after eking out a controversial unanimous decision win over Robson Conceicao on September 10th.
With both world champions, albeit from different weight classes, pulling off recent victories, Arum has placed the ball in their court in terms of making their contest a reality.
“If the fighters sort of like the fight, it’s easy to make.”
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