Emanuel Navarrete Scores Needed Knockout Over Eduardo Baez to Evade Defeat!
The featherweight division is turning up the heat with all kinds of good match-ups and potential unifications. So fans were highly engaged watching WBO champion Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete (36-1, 30KOs) and #8 contender Eduardo “El Gemelo” Baez (21-3-2, 7KOs) trade leather.
Baez spent most of his career fighting out of Mexico, which explains why he is relatively unknown to most fans. However, El Gemelo has proven to be capable of upsets in the past. In 2021, he narrowly lost a majority decision to top super bantamweight contender Ra’eese Aleem. On March 26, Baez shocked the boxing world by defeating then #11 ranked Jose Vivas, which proved to be a vital win, considering that earned him a title shot.
Vaquero literally came out of nowhere, beating down former junior featherweight champion Isaac Dogboe twice. Since becoming champion, he has been looking unstoppable with five successful title defenses. In 2020, Navarrete moved up and quickly captured the featherweight title. After two successful title defenses, the champion took a 10-month hiatus for some much-needed rest.
THE LONG LAYOFF MAY HAVE HURT NAVARRETE
Baez came out and immediately attacked the soft-looking body of the WBO champion. He focused mainly on the body for a good portion of the fight, early. Navarrete landed a solid overhand right, but he was getting countered with hooks to the body.
El Gemelo continued controlling the champion with counters and enclosed fighting, taking advantage of the champion’s sloppy technique. The fight was looking like a new champion was going to be crowned as the contest rolled into the middle rounds
SAVED BY HIS POWER
Navarrete’s corner told him to take control of the fight as they believed he was losing. Baez kept the heat going by landing the body shots, and just like that, in round six, Navarrete landed a perfect right hook to the liver that took the legs of Baez.
Navarrete’s power was the saving factor in this fight. That debilitating punch left Baez stretched out on the floor in agonizing pain. During the post-fight interview, it was unclear if he would stay at featherweight. If he moves up, a fight with unified junior lightweight champion Shakur Stevenson, or a trilogy with number one ranked Isaac Dogboe could be next.
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By: Garrisson Bland