Last June, in Félix Verdejo’s last fight at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, an arena full of fans of the Puerto Rican lightweight watched him destroy Ivan Najera in a points win that left Najera touching the canvas four times. Well, that was last year. Last night, The Theater at Madison Square Garden was packed with fans of Verdejo who were looking for another showstopping performance, but instead saw 10 dominant yet dull rounds.
His Brazilian opponent, Willian Silva, showed great boxing skills early and an ability to come forward. However, after round two, Verdejo controlled the pace and cruised to an easy decision. Silva is tall for 135 just like Verdejo and the length of Silva seemed to cause reluctance in Verdejo, who is usually more aggressive with his power punches. Silva’s footwork kept him moving in and out of range, which made it difficult for Verdejo to land anything of significance.
Although Verdejo never seemed to have Silva in serious trouble, he landed twice as many power punches (67-34) and over three times as many jabs (39-11). The only surprise came at the end of the bout when Silva’s corner lifted him in the air as he held his hands high with a proud look on his face trying to convince the judges he won. Maybe he was just happy to give a good account of himself and avoid ever being seriously hurt by Verdejo’s punches. Or, maybe he actually thought he did enough to win.
In the end the judges weren’t swayed and all of the rounds went to Verdejo on all three scorecards except for round 9 of John McKale’s, who gave the round to Willian Silva (23-1, 14 KOs).
It was far from one of Verdejo’s best performances but Silva was an undefeated fighter with a sharp ring acumen who wasn’t in there to take chances. He fought smart and didn’t leave many openings for Verdejo to give his fans the stoppage they were clamoring to see.
Expect Félix Verdejo (20-0, 14 KOs) to be back in the ring looking for another KO victory on April 16 in Puerto Rico.