By: Hans Themistode
Some messages are better conveyed through actions, not words.
For lightweight contender Felix Verdejo, he’s hoping that by demolishing this weekend’s opponent in Masayoshi Nakatani, that one man, in particular, will take notice.
“Knocking out a tough fighter like Nakatani would send a clear message to Teofimo that he has to be ready to face me in the future,” said Verdejo to Boxingscene.com. “I would love to send that message on December 12th.”
Before Teofimo Lopez placed himself on virtually every pound for pound list with his two championship wins against Richard Commey and Vasiliy Lomachenko, the latter would crown him as the youngest undisputed titlist in boxing history, Lopez found himself in an unexpected dog fight with Nakatani.
Up until that point, Lopez simply steamrolled his competition. Yet, when he faced off with Nakatani, things were much more complicated than anticipated. Lopez of course, would walk away with the victory, but not before a large number of detractors ripped him for his efforts.
Verdejo, 27, admits that he did see Lopez struggle with the much bigger Nakatani, but all in all, he views the win as something that he used as a building block.
“It was a great experience for Teofimo. He did what he had to do to get the win. It was a tough fight but he did what he had to do to get the win. Now, it’s my turn to do everything I have to do to get the win. We did the hard work in the gym, studied his style and worked out all of our strategies. We are ready to put on a show on December 12.”
Nakatani (18-1, 12 KOs), hasn’t fought since that 12 round decision loss to Lopez but is anxious to step back inside of the ring. For Verdejo though, he is simply trying to reignite the spark in a career that was once believed to be as bright as any other prospect in the sport.
Just two short years ago, Verdejo walked into his contest against Antonio Lazada Torres as the prohibited favorite. Unlike Lopez, who struggled early on against Nakatani only to win via wide decision, Verdejo just couldn’t get over the hump as was brutally stopped in the tenth and final round. The loss for Verdejo hasn’t aged well either as Torres has come up short in his last three contest with two of them coming before the final bell.
The loss may have sullied his record and changed the perception of him, but with the help of new trainer Ismael Salas, Verdejo has gone undefeated since then, including a first round stoppage in his last ring appearance. That in turn has him believing that he’s back on track.
“Everything has gone very well since I have been training with Salas in Las Vegas. The change has been from heaven to earth. I’ve seen the changes in me. I am in excellent condition. I have confidence in my skills and on the work I have done.”