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Roach: Oscar Valdez isn’t that good; Quigg beats him

Freddie Roach Bob Arum ESPN top rank Valdez vs. Quigg

By Chris Williams: Scott Quigg (34-1-2, 25 KOs) will do the job on WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez (23-0, 19 KOs), says trainer Freddie Roach. The negotiations for the Valdez-Quigg fight are still being finalized. Valdez’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank views Quigg as “good competition” for the 27-year-old Valdez, but he thinks he’ll win.

Unless there’s any hiccups in finishing up the negotiations, Valdez-Quigg will be fighting on March 10 on ESPN at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Arum wants to turn the 2008 Mexican Olympian Valdez into a big star in the U.S. Having Valdez fight a guy like Quigg on ESPN during primetime is one way for the Top Rank promoter to accomplish his goal.

“He should beat Valdez. I don’t think Valdez is that good,” Roach said to Lance Pugmire of the

It may be a surprise to some that Roach is saying that he doesn’t think Valdez is “that good”, but he obviously has seen how fragile the Top Rank fighter has been looking lately. Valdez was hurt a couple of times in his fight with Miguel Marriaga last year in April at the StubHub Center. This is a fighter that Nicholas Walters and Vasyl Lomachenko both handled with ease. Valdez was almost knocked out by Marriaga. You can take that whatever way you want to.

Maybe it was one of those things where Valdez got hit, and it could have happened to anyone, right? Unfortunately, that doesn’t explain why Valdez was hurt and dropped by his last opponent, the light hitting Genesis Servania (30-1, 13 KOs), in their fight on September 22 in Tucson, Arizona. Servania came into the fight with Valdez with a 42 percent knockout percentage, and yet he was rocking him left and right with his power shots.

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Valdez had to finally put on his track shoes and run from the Filipino fighter in the last half of the contest to milk his early lead to get the win. From watching Valdez’s last 2 fights, it looks like Arum’s fighter is not the guy he thought he was going to be when he first turned pro 6 years ago. Valdez is a decent fighter, but he seems to be falling apart at this point in his career. The way that Valdez is starting to deteriorate reminds me a lot of how Meldrick Taylor’s career began to crumble after he fought Julio Cesar Chavez. I’m seeing the beginnings of the same thing.

The 29-year-old Quigg will begin his training camp today to start getting ready for the fight with Valdez. This is a very crucial fight for the career of Quigg. He was already beaten by Carl Frampton 2 years ago by a close 12 round split decision loss on February 27, 2016 in Manchester, UK. More than anything, that loss was a result of a freak injury that Quigg suffered early in the fight. Quigg has come back from that loss and won his last 3 fights. Roach has Quigg firing on all cylinders at this point, and he feels he’s ready to capture his second division world title against Valdez.

All the training for Quigg will be conducted at Roach’s Wildcard Boxing Gym in Los Angeles. California. Quigg will be getting top rate sparring at this famous gym. He’ll be ready when fight time comes to deal with Valdez’s style.

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“We’re finalizing everything. It’s essentially done,” Arum said to the, in talking about the negotiations for the Valdez vs. Quigg contest on ESPN. “Is it a gimme fight? No. Quigg is good, and Valdez has to be at his best to win. It’s about good competition for him.”

Arum may have misjudged the quality of Quigg. He might have been deceived by now Quigg came up short in his loss to Frampton in 2016. If Arum just looked at Quigg’s ring record and spotted the defeat, then he might be confident that his guy Valdez can beat him for that reason. But if Arum took the time to watch the Frampton-Quigg fight, then he’ll have seen that Quigg looked very good in the last 6 rounds.

Valdez is one of the best fighters in the featherweight division, but I don’t think he’s the best by a longshot. Arum obviously rates Valdez as the best because it’s his fighter, but I don’t think he’s anywhere near the best. I rate these featherweights as being better than Valdez:

• Scott Quigg

• Carl Frampton

• Gary Russell Jr.

• Leo Santa Cruz

• Abner Mares

• Joseph Diaz

Nonito Donaire and Lee Selby would both be very difficult fights for Valdez for various reasons. Donaire has the punching power, speed and boxing experience to give Valdez headaches. I still think Valdez might have enough youth to beat Donaire, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if we saw an upset in that fight. Selby has the movement and skills to out-box Valdez for 12 rounds. I don’t know if Selby would be given a decision though if the fight took place in the U.S, but I do think he would box circles around Valdez for 12 rounds.

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Quigg is going to need to be mindful that he’s going to be entering the lion’s den on March 10 in fighting the popular Valdez in the U.S at a venue that he’s fought on 3 previous occasions at the StubHub Center in Carson. That likely means that if the rounds or even remotely close, they might be given to Valdez. I’m the judges’ score the fight in a fair and impartial manner, but the cheering from the pro-Valdez boxing fans could have an unconscious influence on the 3 judges. We’ve seen that kind of thing happen before where the judges appear to be influenced by the cheering from the fans. I’m hoping we don’t see that happen for the Valdez vs. Quigg fight. Quigg needs to know what he’s up against before he steps inside the ring to face Valdez on March 10 at the StubHub Center, because the chances are, he WON’T get a rematch if the results of the fight are controversial. It doesn’t matter if the boxing world thinks Valdez deserved a loss against Quigg.

If Valdez is given the ‘W’ on the night, I suspect that Arum will have him move on towards other fights rather than having him take the chance of fighting Quigg again and things not going his way in the second fight. Whatever happens, I don’t see Valdez being able to hang onto his WBO belt for too much longer. Even if he beats Quigg by a controversial decision, it’s a matter of time before someone beats him. If Quigg doesn’t beat Valdez, then Frampton likely will.

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