This is a defining moment in Scott Quigg’s career and where better to fight than the arena dubbed the ‘War Grounds’?
The StubHub Center has seen four Fight of the Year winners since it opened its doors to boxing in 2003 and this is certainly in contention to become the fifth.
The Bury man is bidding to become a two-weight world champion when he challenges the unbeaten Oscar Valdez for the WBO featherweight title – in what is likely to be his hardest hitting opponent yet.
Quigg must box smart
It was a big decision for Quigg to up sticks and move to Los Angeles, where he is now trained by Manny Pacquiao’s former coach Freddie Roach.
He will need to box smart, use his experience and try to keep his distance but these two brawlers’ instincts are to come forward and be aggressive.
The pair have sparred before with Quigg describing them as ‘wars’ so we can expect much of the fight to be handled in the centre of the ring.
Nevertheless, this will be the 29-year-old’s most dangerous fight to date and it’s unlikely he’ll have come across anyone with the power Valdez possesses.
But, like many big punchers, he is also there to be hit – especially in his last outing when he was floored by Genesis Servania before coming back to win on points.
However, if he fights smart, moves around the ring and keeps the Mexican out of range, he’ll have a chance and 8/1 to win on points is tempting.
Valdez power could be too much
The onus isn’t on Quigg to win, however, which puts an increasing pressure on his unbeaten opponent, who hopes to step out of the shadows of his top-class Mexican compatriots Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, Leo Santa Cruz, Abner Mares and Gilberto Ramirez.
This is certainly a step-up for Valdez and it’ll be interesting to see how he handles a vastly experienced opponent.
Aggression is what he’s about, as with most Mexican fighters, and he’ll be unrelenting in his approach to come forward and attack. 23 wins, 19 knockouts and zero defeats is evidence of this.
This is where Quigg could come unstuck, as he rarely takes a backward step and that would play into Valdez’s hands.
So, it’s no surprise to see the 27-year-old odds-on favourite at 1/4, especially with the ‘home’ advantage of LA.
It’s hard to look past a Valdez victory but the value is with him to win by KO, TKO or DQ at 7/4.
Both fighters could hit the canvas
Given the punching power both possess, it’s shaping up to be explosive, especially towards the later rounds.
As I’ve previously said, Valdez has been knocked down before and with his dropped hands style, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Quigg take advantage.
Equally, Valdez’s power will get through at some point during the fight and it will be interesting to see how the British fighter reacts.
Valdez can be wild and slightly unorthodox, but this is when he’s at his most dangerous, as 19 of his opponents have found out.