Felix Verdejo, the next big thing from Puerto Rico, looking to make a name in Macau

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  • Félix Verdejo

MACAU -- Felix Verdejo bears an uncanny resemblance to his more famous, and much more accomplished, countryman, Felix "Tito" Trinidad. But Verdejo has the same kind of elite boxing skills and the charismatic personality that could turn him into boxing's next big star.

Verdejo is just 20 years old, but already has shown enough to make promoter Bob Arum giddy. Verdejo lost to Vasyl Lomachenko in the 2012 Olympics, but made a fan of the two-time Olympic gold medalist.

"Lomachenko told me Verdejo was his toughest amateur fight and you can't get a better endorsement than that," Arum said.

Indeed. Lomachenko compiled an amateur record of 396-1 and is regarded by some as the greatest amateur boxer of all-time.

Verdejo, who is 8-0 with six knockouts as a pro, will fight Petchsamuthr Duanaaymukdahan in a lightweight fight Saturday (Sunday Macau time) on the Manny Pacquiao-Brandon Rios pay-per-view card at CotaiArena.

"It's important for me to fight in different places and for people to get to see me and know how I fight," Verdejo said. "The whole world is going to get to see me in this fight and so it's a very important fight for me."

Verdejo has star quality, because he has the infectious smile, the outgoing personality and the temperament to become a star. He looks to put on a show and is generally one of the sport's most exciting fighters, even though he's young and developing.

Top Rank matchmaker Brad Goodman said Verdejo hasn't developed the power that his frame suggests. He's a very accurate puncher with exceptionally fast hands, and against the limited opposition he's faced so far, it's been enough to be dangerous.

He'll need to develop that, but Goodman said he sees it coming.

"As time goes on and he gets a little older and stronger and his body matures and he becomes a legitimate 135-pounder, 140-pounder, I think the sky's the limit for the kid," Goodman said. "Right now, I wouldn't consider him a devastating puncher or anything like that. He's a sharpshooter. He has that great speed, but as time goes on and he gets that man strength, I think he's going to become a good puncher."