Felix Verdejo is ready to rumble on his home turf…
The 22-year-old rising Puerto Rican lightweight boxing star and 2014 ESPN.com prospect of the year will face Daniel Evangelista on April 16 at Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, according promoter Top Rank.
The scheduled 10-round bout will headline a “Solo Boxeo Tecate” card on Spanish-language network UniMas.
“The name of my opponent makes no difference,” Verdejo said. “I want to fight the best, but I don’t choose my opponents. I leave that to [manager and trainer] Ricky [Marquez] and Top Rank. I always prepare well for any opponent, and this time won’t be the exception. I will be in my best condition to once again bring happiness to my people.”
If he comes through the bout against Evangelista unscathed, Verdejo (20-0, 14 KOs), 22, is due to fight again on June 11, the eve of the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York. That bout, an HBO-televised co-feature at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, is expected to be against a much better opponent than Evangelista.
The leading candidate for that fight is Jose Felix Jr. (33-1-1, 25 KOs), 23, of Mexico, a fringe contender, according to Top Rank chairman Bob Arum.
Evangelista (18-6-2, 14 KOs), 25, of Mexico, is 1-3-1 in his past four fights but has experience against opponents such as former junior lightweight world titleholder Argenis Mendez and unbeaten prospect Casey Ramos.
“I don’t think it would be smart to think that a fighter with some losses on his record doesn’t have the qualities to be a worthy opponent,” Marquez said of Evangelista. “I respect Evangelista for his bravery of coming to our island to try to ruin our plans. I really think he is an opponent that will come to apply pressure, throw a lot of punches and will make Felix work to dominate him.”