What started out as a sharp performance by 🇵🇷Felix Verdejo (27-2-0, 17KO👊) quickly faded, and turned to a nightmare, as Japanese top-contender 🇯🇵Masayoshi Nakatani (19-1-0, 13KO👊) turned the tides on him, knocking Verdejo out, for the biggest moment of his pro career.
Nakatani immediately rushed Verdejo to start off the fight. Ignoring his 📏height and range difference however is what got him in trouble, as Felix scraped him with a big right hand that made Nakatani taste the canvas. The Japanese fighter got up and showed moxy, getting himself right back into the mix, looking to pressure Verdejo and keep him on the back-foot.
Verdejo real quick into the third round landed a big right hand that wobbled Nakatani, and it was evident from this point that Nakatani had no defense for that particular punch. Another megalithic right hand scored another knockdown for Felix a minute into the 4th round as he (at this moment) seized full control of the bout…..↩️but that soon would change.
Verdejo fell into the pitfalls of looking for the knockout too much and loading up on every single punch that was clearly slowing down his momentum. Nakatani took advantage, and hurt Verdejo in the 7th round, putting the Puerto Rican fighter in very compromising situations. Felix fought gutsy on the inside while hurt, showing craft to survive the onslaught.
In the 8th round, it appeared that both fighters 💫stunned each other at the same time, which is something you don’t often see. All of a sudden, this fight became one of will, as opposed to skill, and that is where Nakatani thrives. Nakatani snuck a short left hand that had Verdejo on rubbery legs.
Nakatani then drove Verdejo back, and down with a hard jab. Verdejo looked in horrible shape as he was listening to the Ref’s ⏲️count. He got up, but Nakarani immediately followed with a right hand to the temple, and Verdejo came undone, spiraling to the canvas, to where the Ref called a halt to the bout, with Nakatani securing the greatest victory of his career.
DREAMS CRUSHED FOR THE DECORATED, AND SOME CONCERNS FOR THE WINNER
As for Nakatani, from his vantage point, he literally had to walk through hell in order to get the victory, and as the tougher, better conditioned man, that’s exactly what he did. After the fight, he was taken to the 🏥hospital for precautions concerning his overall condition, and if anything concerning comes back, he will report it for you all to be informed.
As for Verdejo, having an extensively successful amateur background, and having the hype as Puerto Rico’s latest successor, this loss here is a bitter pill to swallow. This loss will hurt Verdejo more than the punches have. His pitfalls have been his conditioning, and his lackluster chin, and at times, that can be a lethal combination that you do not want to have. Offensively he is very good, but because of those setbacks, he may not reach his full potential, but he is still a good fighter for a stacked Lightweight division.