Felix Verdejo is 21, he’s Puerto Rican, and he’s as talented as any young fighter out there. Watching him fight is like watching another fighters highlight reel except there are no cuts in the tape. Verdejo is that good… so far. The talent level between him and his inexperienced opponents has been vast, and while it’s smooth sailing right now, the future may not be for Verdejo.
There are 2 sides to this story. Either Verdejo’s talent has been overlooked and the opponents he’s facing would be appropriate for a normal prospect with a dozen fights or these guys are the absolute weakest competition Top Rank could find. It might be a combination of the 2. No matter what it is, there’s a problem here.
If Felix Verdejo doesn’t start facing tougher competition all the talk about him being the next Puerto Rican star could backfire. With every highlight reel knockout that he scores more and more fans catch on that he’s the future of the sport. The more talk there is about how great he is and how great he’ll be. The truth right now is who really knows how Verdejo is gonna look when he faces a guy with 22 wins and 3 losses? His opponents have mostly provided very little to show that Verdejo can make adjustments, or that he can get a win on grit. You can’t point to where Verdejo has improved in his 13 fights.
I’m not doubting Verdejo, but should he struggle against any opponent as he makes his rise toward stardom, the backlash will be immense. Everybody likes to say I told you so and the pessimists out there can’t wait to see Verdejo exposed as yet another hype job from the promotional machine.
I doubt the day comes when fans get their “I told you Verdejo wasn’t that good moment.” From what we’ve seen from Verdejo, not till he starts fighting on pay-per-view will he struggle against an opponent… as long as they start challenging him and giving him fights where he can grow.