This Saturday night live on ESPN, Oscar Valdez defends his featherweight belt against former 122-pound titleholder Scott Quigg. On paper Quigg is the most experienced fighter Oscar has met, having faced Carl Frampton and Kiko Martinez at super bantamweight. The style matchup and StubHub Center venue should make this an entertaining scrap.
Prior to 2017, lots of people spoke about Valdez as one of the top young prospects in the game. His work to the body and power punching made for a can’t miss future champion. Although Valdez did become a 126-pound belt-holder, he has yet to face a top-level operator like a Leo Santa Cruz.
When news broke about this bout happening, many media members were surprised. Top Rank is taking a calculated risk here, instead of moving their young fighter laterally by giving him a stay busy opponent. After two difficult outings in a row, a lot is riding on Oscar Valdez to prove his worth.
Last April, Valdez went life and death with Miguel Marriaga in an action-packed brawl that unfortunately few saw because it was on a Top Rank PPV. Valdez’s was forced to come up with a plan ‘B’ after some hard-fought rounds. Oscar used his outside movement and quick combination punching just to scrape by. Marriaga did have several big moments, even hurting Valdez on a few occasions.
The general public perception heading into Valdez’s last opponent in September was seen as a stay busy against Genesis Servania. Servania was greatly overlooked as a guy with a glossy unbeaten record that seemed empty. By the end of his fight with Valdez, Genesis had hit the canvas but also hurt and dropped Valdez in an all-out slugfest.
In walks a real step up in Scott Quigg, whose only loss came from a highly thought of boxer in his own right, Carl Frampton. Two springs ago, Quigg fell short in defeat to Frampton. It’s hard to fully judge Quigg, who broke his jaw in the early goings, yet still managed to make a decent run in the second half.
Quigg attacks fighters to the body and is at his best throwing flurries. His bad habit of starting slow will need to be fixed versus Valdez. Quigg has also shown to have some outside boxing skills to an extent when he circles and uses his jab.
As previously mentioned, on paper this should be entertaining and at times explosive fight with both men landing flush. A body punch will likely change momentum within an individual round if not the fight. Look for both guys to start at a somewhat measured pace. Oscar will use his jab and pivot away, as he combos in quick-rapid-fire-fashion to get the advantage on the judge’s scorecards.
Like most of these two men’s past fights, a brawl will no doubt break out. That’s where Quigg has to make his punches count, especially to the body. Valdez will look to move and that’s where Quigg will need to cut the ring off. Hurting and scoring a knockdown is definitely a must for Quigg.
A key factor for Quigg will be how much power he brings up to featherweight. If it’s similar to what he had at 122, Valdez could be in some serious trouble. Oscar’s defense is suspect but so is Quigg’s and neither guy has true one-punch KO power, which equates to lots of punches being thrown and landed.
Don’t be surprised if the sentiment post-fight is Quigg won the fight. However, Valdez will once again have to dig deep to get this respected victory of Quigg. Valdez mixes brawling and boxing doing just enough sway the powers that be.
Side Note: The co-feature is a stern test for Andy Vendes as he takes on Erik De Leon in a 10-round contest. Vences will use his length and outside abilities to win, that’s if he can take De Leon’s power. Boxing fans set your DVR for at least an extra 30 minutes if not an hour longer on ESPN due to the ACC tournament & maybe record on ESPN News as the alternative channel for early bouts.
Written by Chris Carlson Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available on Apple Podcast (ITunes), Player.FM, Stitcher, Tunein, Spreaker, www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio & TheGruelingTruth.Net. Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio