Oscar Valdez retained his WBO featherweight title with a 12-round unanimous decision victory over Jason Sanchez in an entertaining but one-sided fight at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada, on Saturday.
All three judges scored the fight for Valdez 117-110 and 118-109 (twice).
Sanchez (14-1, 7 KOs) was certainly game and sturdy throughout the night, but he was dominated by the offensive arsenal of Valdez (26-0, 20 KOs), who hit the challenger with a multitude of left hooks and overhand rights.
In the fifth round, a well-placed hook sent Sanchez to the canvas, and it was at that point that Valdez started to assert full control of this bout.
Sanchez would have some sporadic success, but he could never sustain anything consistent against Valdez, who is now under the tutelage of Eddy Reynoso, best known for developing the vast skills of middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez. While Valdez will always have an offensive mindset, in what was his second fight under the guidance of Reynoso, it's clear that he is becoming a more defensively responsible fighter.
Valdez capped off the night by stunning Sanchez in the 12th, and instead of sitting on his lead, he tried to finish things off. But to his credit, Sanchez saw the final bell.
"Sanchez showed the heart of a champion, and he gave me a great fight for 12 rounds. He has a lot to be proud of," Valdez said.
Now, the question is whether Valdez will continue on as a featherweight.
Valdez, who has admitted that he's having increasing difficulty making the 126-pound limit, said after his latest victory, "I hope to [to fight at featherweight again]. I also have to listen to my body. We're going to see what's best. Sometimes I get tired in there, and I'm not sure if it's because of the weight loss. We'll talk about [my next move] as a team and we will do what is best. I want to fight everybody at 126, 130."
"We're going to look for a fight later on in the year between Valdez and Carl Frampton, if Frampton is successful in his next fight," promoter Bob Arum said.