It was an experience professional boxer Daniel Valdivia won’t soon forget.
The Top Rank fighter from Tulare was invited to San Diego to train with star welterweight Saúl “Canelo” Alvarez.
Both boxers had to get in work ahead of fights this month, with Valdivia’s on Saturday at Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino in Lemoore.
Valdivia (11-0, nine knockouts) will fight Gilberto Pereira dos Santos (12-3, nine KOs) of Brazil in a scheduled eight-round super welterweight bout for Valdivia’s North American Boxing Federation junior super welterweight title. The fights will be televised, tape-delayed, on UniMas (Comcast channel 12).
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The card will begin at 6:15 p.m. and is headlined by heavyweight Andy Ruiz (28-0, 19 KOs) of Mexicali, Mexico, who will face Franklin Lawrence (21-2-2, 16 KOs) of Indianapolis.
I learned to be a little bit more relaxed. It gives me a lot of confidence moving forward.
Daniel Valdivia, on what he gained from sparring sessions with star welterweight Canelo Alvarez
Meanwhile, Alvarez, 26, will face Liam Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs) on Sept. 17 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, for the WBO super welterweight title. Valdivia said their sparring sessions have taught him a lot.
“It definitely helped me,” Valdivia said. “I learned to be a little bit more relaxed. It gives me a lot of confidence moving forward. He gave me some good advice, just to stay relaxed and take it fight by fight, and don’t get ahead of yourself. He was very inspirational and gave me some good pointers.”
Junior Palafox, Valdivia’s manager, also saw the value.
“You get a little bit intimidated sometimes,” he said, “but as you’re there and you start seeing him and working with him, it’s like anybody else. Just because he’s a world champion … he’s like anybody else. Everything worked out perfect, and they were real competitive. They were going all out, and he got the rounds in and is in great condition.”
Valdivia said he’ll take what he learned into his fight Saturday – his first in the central San Joaquin Valley in a year.
“This is going to be a good step up,” Valdivia said. “I’m looking forward to bringing a good show, and I have to be careful because that fighter is dangerous. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for, and I’m just excited to step back into the ring and do what I do best.”
Visit with Vargas – Jessie Vargas will hold a meet-and-greet with fans at 4 p.m. Saturday at the hotel-casino. Vargas (27-1, 10 KOs) is to fight eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs) on Nov. 5 at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Sellout – No tickets remain for Saturday. Capacity is set for 3,000, promoter Rick Mirigian said.