At the age of 24, Felix is a five-year pro. A rising young contender at 135 pounds, he was an amateur standout who represented Puerto Rico in the 2012 Olympics before his debut.
He is one of boxing’s top young talents, and many observers see him as the next in the long, distinguished line of great Puerto Rican champions, following Felix Trinidad and Miguel Cotto.
Felix has drawn large, enthusiastic crowds wherever he fights and given impressive performances.
He stayed very active in the ring with seven fights in 2014, three in 2015, and four in 2016. He has made good progress – his last seven fights were scheduled for 10 rounds and he stepped up in class of opposition. Two of his recent opponents were previously undefeated prospects.
He returned to the ring on February 3 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and won a 10-round unanimous decision against Oliver Flores.
Fightnews.com reported [excerpts]: WBO #1 lightweight Felix “El Diamante” Verdejo scored a ten round unanimous decision over Oliver Flores in front of 7,143 boxing fans at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum.
Verdejo, returning to the ring for the first time since a bad motorcycle accident last August, controlled most the fight against the defensive-minded Flores. Flores finally woke up in round eight….
It was too little, too late for Flores, however, as Verdejo won 99-91, 96-94, 98-92. [End Fightnews.com item]
Felix had been scheduled to challenge WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan of England last November 5th, but was injured in a motorcycle accident three months earlier on August 7th and the fight was postponed.
The Ring’s Mitch Abramson reported [Aug. 8, 2016 – excerpts]: Lightweight contender Felix Verdejo is in stable condition and could return home from the hospital on Tuesday after he crashed his off-road motorcycle over the weekend and sustained lacerations on his head and face.
The accident took place in the Northern Coastal Valley of Rio Grande in his native Puerto Rico on Sunday. Verdejo was taken to a medical center in the Rio Piedras neighborhood of San Juan, where he is currently in recovery, according to police. Verdejo escaped the accident without suffering any bone injuries or internal bleeding or serious head injuries, such as a concussion. [End Abramson item]
Manager-trainer Ricky Marquez said, “I’ve been training Felix since his first day in the gym at the age of nine. He trains at my gym – ‘El Diamante’ – in Trujillo Alto. That’s where he got his nickname.”
Felix said through an interpreter, “I’m a technical boxer with good power. The fighters I admire here are José Pedraza, Rocky Martinez, and Yovanny Rodriguez. We don’t all train in the same gym, but we train together sometimes and we are good friends.
“I want to be a role model for the kids, the same way that Felix Trinidad was to me. That’s what I want to be now for the younger kids.”
About his nickname, Felix said, “The name of the gym where I was training was ‘El Diamante.’ There was a guy from a boxing webpage here in Puerto Rico, and he was the first one to call me that.”
AMATEUR, PERSONAL BACKGROUND: Felix said through an interpreter, “I was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I have two brothers and two sisters. My mother works in an auto insurance company. My father doesn’t work – he has epilepsy. I’m the only boxer in the family. My father boxed amateur a little bit when he was young.
“I started boxing when I was nine years old. I used to see Felix Trinidad fight when I was a kid, and I just wanted to be like him. One day I was playing baseball and there was this kid throwing rocks at me. I went to my father to complain. The other kid was a boxer and his father said, ‘If you have a problem with him, put the boxing gloves on and spar a little bit.’ So, we sparred, and the father of the other kid saw how well I managed myself and said I should go to the gym.
“As an amateur, I had 106 wins and 17 losses. I’m naturally righthanded.”…
Manager-trainer Ricky Marquez added, “I trained the other kid, Jean Rivera – the one that was throwing rocks at Felix that day – and he brought Felix to me. That was the first day that Felix came to the gym. Now Felix and Jean are like brothers. The father of that kid is now one of my assistants in Felix’ corner – Angel Rivera Cuso.”…