Pablo Valdez vs. Julio Cesar Sanchez
Madison Square Garden, New York, USA – 11 December 2021
New York native Pablo “Pretty Boy” Valdez has long wished of performing in one of boxing’s most historic venues, Madison Square Garden, and he will fulfill that dream this Saturday when he steps in to the ring to face Julio Cesar Sanchez in a six-round contest. An admitted brawler in the ring, Valdez enters this weekend’s fight fresh off a crowd-pleasing victory in his October 30 bout at the Hulu Theater. He plans to put on another entertaining performance on the highly anticipated card headlined by Vasiliy Lomachenko and Richard Commey on December 11.
The 38-year-old Valdez has traversed a windy road to reach this destination, but he refused to give up on his goals, even during the darkest of days. He’s watched from near and far as many of the boxers he’s trained with accomplished their dreams, and now he will have the chance to do the same with many of them watching from ringside.
Valdez took up boxing after competing in karate as a teenager, and he immediately fell in love with the sweet science. He was fully immersed in the talent-laden New York boxing world and believed he would go on to become a world champion. Yet life had other plans. He was arrested and would spend several years in jail, derailing his plans in the ring.
His time behind bars didn’t dampen his love for boxing, but rather gave him much needed motivation and encouragement through the tales of his fellow fighters’ success. From learning of Marcus Browne’s Olympic berth to Sadam Ali’s success, and the Serrano sisters’ rise, each of his boxing brothers and sisters’ victories brought him joy and hope for the future.
He and super middleweight prospect Edgar Berlanga entered the gym at the same time as youngsters, and despite their age difference, they enjoy a strong bond to this day. Valdez has enjoyed watching the journey Berlanga has been on, and Berlanga will be ringside to take in Valdez’s bout on Saturday.
Once he got the opportunity to return to boxing, Valdez began his pro career in 2018 at the age of 35. It hasn’t been a smooth journey since coming back to the sport with several starts and stops as well as the Covid-19 pandemic which has impacted so many fighters’ activity. He was scheduled to compete on the March 14, 2020 card that was cancelled just 48 hours before the event due to the pandemic, and he’d sold approximately $50,000 in tickets to the show.
Valdez returned to the ring in February of this year after a 15-month absence, and Saturday’s bout will be his third fight of 2021. He hopes to gain some momentum with a strong showing this weekend and head in to the new year strong.
One of the many lessons that Valdez learned during his time behind bars is that it’s never too late to chase your dreams, and it is important to him to showcase that in his own life. He’s getting the opportunity to prove that this Saturday with many of those who’ve supported him cheering him on.
Valdez’s bout with Sanchez will be a part of a stacked undercard beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT and will be the undercard bouts will be available on ESPN+.
PABLO VALDEZ BIO
Hometown: New York, NY Birth date: May 5, 1983
Weight class: Welterweight Height: 5-10
Boxing stance: Orthodox
Trainer: Coaches Andre Rozier, Gary Stark Sr., Sharif Younan
Professional record: 6-0 (5 KOs)
Next fight: December 11 at Madison Square Garden
Pablo Valdez’s life has been far from easy. Yet during many of his darkest days, the sport of boxing provided a sliver of light that kept him going. He has survived moments that would have destroyed most people and those trials and tribulations have only made him stronger and more grateful for the life experiences he’s enjoying now.
Like many future boxers, Valdez’s mother wanted to find a way to instill discipline in her son but boxing wasn’t his original combat sport. He took up karate as a seventh grader upon the suggestion of a math teacher who also taught karate. Valdez would go on to become a black belt in karate before eventually taking up the sweet science. Ironically, he began boxing at the same time as a much younger future prospect – Edgar Berlanga.
Berlanga was far from the only future star that Valdez would train alongside in the thriving New York boxing scene. During his time in the New York boxing circuit, Valdez got the chance to work with names such as Curtis Stevens, Jaidon Codrington, Joe Greene, Sadam Ali and many more. He credits them for keeping him motivated and in the gym throughout his boxing career.
Yet Valdez would soon run in to a challenge that would forever alter his life. He was incarcerated in 2010 and would spend nearly four years of his time behind bars in solitary confinement. During those difficult and isolated days, boxing and learning about his boxing brothers’ success kept him going. He read the USA Boxing quarterly magazine and learned about Marcus Browne earning a spot on the Olympic Team and heard tales of Sadam Ali and many others’ success in the professional ranks and was able to find hope and encouragement in their victories. Valdez even tied up his mattress to make a heavy bag and stayed in shape while dreaming of his own future in the sport.
Once he got out of jail, he told renowned trainer Andre Rozier that he wanted to give boxing another go. Rozier asked him if he was sure and threw him in the ring for a sparring session with former world title challenger and power puncher Curtis Stevens to test exactly how serious Valdez was about the sport. Even after Stevens dropped him with his signature hook, he assured the trainer that he still wanted to box.
Valdez stayed dedicated and made his pro debut in 2018. He and his team decided then that he would set a very realistic goal for his pro career. Valdez wants to have 10 professional fights, remain undefeated and possibly challenge for a smaller title. Unlike so many in the boxing world, it’s not money or fame that motivates him. He truly loves the sport and despite his late start both in the boxing and in the professional ranks, he truly lives a fighter’s life. He believes that if he had not been incarcerated, he would have gone on to become a world champion.
He categorizes his style as a puncher and admits he likes to brawl in the ring. After everything he has experienced his life, he and his team know that there is nothing that can happen in a boxing ring that will intimidate or break him.
Valdez says that one of the biggest lessons he learned in jail is that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel despite how hard it may feel in the moment. He’s witnessed many people give up when the walls felt like they were closing in, but he refused to do so and he’s now reaping the rewards of that perseverance during his darkest days.
Valdez has become a huge ticket seller both in the Dominican Republic where several of his professional bouts have taken place and in his hometown of New York. He sold approximately $50,000 in tickets for what was supposed to be his New York debut in March of 2020 before the card slated for the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden was cancelled due to Covid-19. Valdez finally made his long-awaited New York debut in the small room on October 30, winning a hard-fought six round victory.
Yet his next bout will move to the big room on the undercard of Vasiliy Lomachenko- Richard Commey on December 11. For this lifelong New Yorker, fighting in boxing’s most historic venue is a dream fulfilled and proof that it truly never is too late to chase your goals, no matter how big or impossible they may seem to others. In addition to fulfilling his own dreams, he wants to prove this very important lesson to others that may be facing difficult challenges and allow them to see that no goal is out of reach despite your age or circumstance.
Valdez remains close with Berlanga and the many great New York fighters who trained alongside him and helped keep him motivated both before and after his time away. His story is another amazing tale among the many great stories of New York fighters and he plans to add another chapter on December 11 when he steps in to the ring in the Mecca of Boxing to perform in front of the many friends, family and fans who’ve supported him along the way.
Subscribe to our new YouTube Channel with the latest boxing news and results, gossip and information from around the world. Just click the image below or any of the images for all our social media:
For the list of boxing events we will cover live with and with unofficial scorecard (main event), click the following link > Live Boxing Results & Event