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Oscar Valdez suffers jaw injury in win over Scott Quigg

Image: Oscar Valdez suffers jaw injury in win over Scott Quigg

By Jeff Aranow: Oscar Valdez (24-0, 19 KOs) got more than he bargained for in defending his WBO featherweight title against Scott Quigg (34-2-2, 25 KOs) last Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

Valdez’s jaw was broken. He suffered the injury to his jaw during the course of beating Quigg by a 12 round unanimous decision in front of a large crowd of his supporters. The scores were 117-111, 117-111, and 118-110. Both fighters sustained a lot of damage in the fight.

Quigg suffered a nose injury and a cut to his left eye. Quigg came into the fight with a fractured foot, which he says kept him from making weight during camp. He says he hurt his foot 4 weeks before the fight. Valdez also suffered damage to his front teeth. It’s unclear whether some of Valdez’s teeth were knocked out or merely pushed inward from Quigg’s heavy shots.

Valdez took some very hard punches from Quigg. There were three huge shots that Valdez took to the head that would knocked out a lot of fighters. Valdez took the shots from Quigg, but obviously they did damage to him. Quigg landed a lot of big punches during the fight. Valdez avoided a lot with his movement, clinches and his pushing off to keep Quigg from getting near him.

”Scott’s a tremendous fighter. Look at he did to my teeth,” a bloody Valdez said after the fight. ”Much respect to him. It was a war. He caught me with some good shots. He’s a tough fighter. It’s boxing. He gets hit, I get hit.”

In the 5th round, Quigg landed a left hook that seemed to separate Valdez from his senses momentarily. Valdez staggered backwards against the ropes and was forced to cover up while Quigg teed off on him. Valdez came out for round 6 looking like he was reenergized, and he spent most of the round throwing speedy shots that prevented Quigg from being able to let his hands go. At one point in the round, Quigg shoved Valdez, causing him to fall down. The referee gave Quigg a stern warning for the shove.

It looked for a moment like the referee was going to penalize Quigg. It would have been unfair, as he hadn’t been pushing Valdez during the fight. Valdez was doing most of the pushing with his left arm. He was using his left arm to push off on Quigg to keep him from getting close enough to throw shots. The referee let Valdez do this, but he should have addressed it early and warned him for this illegal tactic. Valdez got away with the pushing off the entire fight without being warned. That gave him an unfair advantage over Quigg.

Valdez had planned on punishing Quigg for him coming in overweight at the weigh-in, but it looks like the punishment was mutual in the fight. Valdez is not the kind of fighter that escapes punishment, even though he tends to score a lot of knockouts early in his fights. Valdez, 27, gets hit a lot. He’s tinkered with his fighting style in his last 2 fights where he now uses a lot of movement to limit the amount of punishment he takes. Valdez wanted to impress the crowd by throwing a lot of punches, and trying to get a knockout against Quigg.

When you go right into the teeth of a knockout artist like Quigg, you’re going to sustain damage, and that accounts for how beat up looking Valdez was after the fight. It was in which both guys took loads of heavy blows to the head and body. Valdez didn’t stick around long after the fight for the post-fight press conference. He was taken to UCLA Medical Center to have his jaw checked out. The injury could keep Valdez out of action for a while. His promoters at Top Rank will need to decide what to do with him once he does come back. The Quigg fight was a voluntary defense for Valdez. His No.1 contender in the WBO’s ranking is Joseph Diaz Jr. That would be a very hard fight for Valdez coming off of the punishment he took from Quigg last Saturday night. If Top Rank can buy Valdez some time, they can perhaps give him another defense against a lower level guy that he can knockout quickly. Diaz Jr. would be a hard fight for Valdez to take right away when he comes back.

Quigg had to give up 20 percent of his purse for coming in overweight on Friday. On top of that, Quigg had to surrender even more of his purse for failing to be weighed in the morning of the fight for the secondary weight check, according to ESPN. The amount that Quigg gave up is unclear. But given that Quigg’s purse was only $100,000 for the fight, it wasn’t a monstrous amount of money that he lost. Quigg, 29, couldn’t have won the fight even if he’d beaten Valdez due to him missing weight on Friday.

The WBO 126 lb. title would have gone vacant had Quigg won the fight. It still would have been a big positive for Quigg’s career to have beaten Valdez. The title was meaningless. Just beating Valdez would have been a huge boost to Quigg’s career. Regardless, Quigg’s stock didn’t go down with his defeat to Valdez. He made it an exciting enough fight for him to come out of the fight with a lot of respect from the boxing public. Quigg can hold his head high for the superb fight he put on in a losing effort last Saturday.

“It wasn’t a tactic – four weeks ago, I fractured my foot,” Quigg said to Sky Sports after the fight. “It meant I couldn’t do the roadwork and certain stuff and I knew the way I was going to be fighting tonight, we wouldn’t change my tactics and I wasn’t going to change my fighting style.”

Quigg felt that the fight should have been scored a lot closer than it did. The judges scoring it 10
rounds to 2 and 9 rounds to 3 in favor of Valdez was a bit too wide. Quigg was outworked in every round, but the heavy shots that he landed in many of the rounds should have made the fight closer on the scorecards. Quigg fought well enough to lose 8 rounds to 4. The judge that scored it 10 rounds to 2 was giving Quigg zero credit what he did in the fight. That’s the type of score you see in lopsided fights involving a guy that is getting pummeled and doing nothing in return. That’s not the type of fight we saw last night.

”I thought it might have been a round or two closer,” Quigg said. ”That’s what I expected on the cards, but he won the fight. The close rounds, they sided with him.”

The end result is the same. Valdez clearly won the fight. The judges giving Quigg very rounds don’t change the perception in the eyes of the boxing fans that saw the fight. It was a fight that Valdez took a lot of punishment in winning. The scores by the judges doesn’t make the fans think that it was a route, because it wasn’t. It was one of those fights where the winner had to go through a firestorm to get the victory. Valdez might not be the same fighter after this fight due to the amount of heavy shots he ate. He’d better hope that his promoters at Top Rank are able to get him an easy voluntary defense for his next fight, because it could be bad for him if he has to face Joseph Diaz Jr. next.

“I just hope after tonight’s performance he (Scott Quigg) gets the respect. He went beyond the call of duty,” Quigg’s promoter Eddie Hearn said after the fight.

The way Quigg fought, he would have beaten IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby last night. Quigg has the talent to be a champion at 126. He just needs to fight the right guy, and throw more punches. He wasn’t pulling the trigger on his shots enough last night to give himself a better chance of winning.




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