Masayoshi Nakatani vs Felix Verdejo Preview Dec. 12th
Masayoshi Nakatani of Japan will enter the ring for the first time in a year when he takes on Felix Verdejo of Puerto Rico this Saturday, Dec. 12th. The 10-round lightweight bout from the MGM Grand Bubble in Las Vegas can be seen in the USA live on ESPN+, ESPN Deportes and ESPN while those in Canada can catch it on TSN and fans in the UK can view it on Premier Sports. Nakatani last fought in July, 2019 when he dropped a 12-round unanimous decision to Teofimo Lopez. Verdejo was in the ring this July when he stopped Will Madera in the first round.
Nakatani vs Verdejo Betting Odds
- Masayoshi Nakatini +350
- Felix Verdejo -500
Most fans had never heard of the 31-year-old Nakatani until he gave Lopez all he could handle 17 months ago. The native of Osaka is the reigning Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation Lightweight Champion. He won the title in January of 2014 with a majority decision over Yoshitaka Kato and has successfully defended it 11 times. He steps into the squared circle with a fine mark of 18-1 with 12 Ko’s. However, unless you hail from his part of the world you won’t recognize any of his opponents other than Lopez and this will be just his second fight outside of Japan.
Nakatani is a tough boxer with a solid chin and better-than-average power with a current knockout ratio of 63.2 per cent. He had stopped four straight opponents and seven of the last eight before running into Lopez. Nakatani stands close to six-feet tall with a reach of 71 inches. This gives him a three-inch height edge over Verdejo with more or less the same reach. Nakatani made his pro debut back in 2011 and has boxed a total of 131 rounds since.
The 27-year-old Verdejo enters the bout with a record of 27-1 with 17 Ko’s. He’s a former WBO Latino Lightweight Champion who won the vacant crown by stopping Marco Lopez in the fifth round back in April of 2014 and then dealt former undefeated contender Ivan Najera a 10-round decision loss during his first title defence. Verdejo then stopped Josenilson Dos Santos inside two rounds in December of 2015.
He’s also beaten Willian Silva and Jose Luis Rodriguez by unanimous decisions but was then stopped in the 10th round in 2018 by Antonio Lozada Torres to derail his career. Since then he’s beaten Manuel Rojas and Bryan Vazquez by decisions and stopped Yardley Cruz in the second round and Madera in the first. Verdejo turned pro in 2012 and has fought 135 rounds since then. He was once a top prospect but still hasn’t faced any legitimate top-10 world-class boxers as of yet.
Verdejo has decent power in his fists with a current knockout ratio of 60.7 per cent, but still needs to step up in class if he hopes to become a legitimate contender and one day earn a world title shot. Right now he needs to stay active and steadily take on stiffer opponents and Nakatani is at least a step in the right direction. He was supposed to take on WBO Lightweight Champion Terry Flanagan of England a couple of years ago but had to pull out due to injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident.
Verdejo’s power and skills saw most of his earlier career fights end pretty early but that hasn’t been the case lately. He possesses speed and mobility with an excellent uppercut and is also adept defensively. He stands 5-feet-9-inches tall and has a reach of 71.5 inches. Verdejo fought in the 2012 Olympics in London, England and was beaten by Vasyl Lomachenko, who was recently regarded by many as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world before starting slowly and losing a decision to Teofimo Lopez.
Nakatani is a solid boxer with good size and skills and proved his toughness last year against Lopez. Verdejo is also quite talented with enough power to cause damage and this has the potential to be an entertaining fight if they trade punches rather than utilize their skills. Nakatani needs to be the aggressor here but this is a close call. I think Verdejo has the better boxing skills but if Nakatani can get him to slug it out hat would be to his advantage. This is a coin toss to me but I’ll go out on a limb with Verdejo.
A tossup with Verdejo having a slight edge.
Play: Verdejo -500 @ BetOnline.ag
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