CARSON, Calif. — Despite all the pre-fight issues, Oscar Valdez and Scott Quigg turned in a classic battle Saturday night at the rain-soaked StubHub Center.
It was a bloody, back-and-forth battle, but in the end it was Valdez who retained his featherweight world title for the fourth time on a unanimous decision with the judges giving him scores of 118-110, 117-111 and 117-111.
ESPN.com scored the fight for Valdez 115-113.
The fight was in some jeopardy as of Saturday morning because Quigg didn’t make weight Friday. While Valdez weighed 125.8 for the 126-pound fight, Quigg was 128.8 pounds, and besides being ineligible to win Valdez’s world title, he was fined 20 percent of his official $100,000 purse (though he will make hundreds of thousands more ).
However, the fight was hung up because Quigg refused the Valdez camp’s demand for a Saturday-morning weight check, and some in Valdez’s camp advised him not to go through with the fight.
Valdez decided to fight, and the camps then hammered out a deal under which Quigg would pay Valdez an additional, undisclosed amount of money from his purse to go through with the fight.
It turned out to be a rock ’em, sock ’em fight-of-the-year candidate that left both fighters with ugly facial injuries. Valdez was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center with a fractured jaw.
Had Quigg won, he would not have won the title. It would have been vacant. But Valdez, despite clearly being the smaller man, stood his ground and fought through an injured mouth for much of the fight. On fight night, Quigg was 142.2 pounds and Valdez was 135.6.
Valdez opened the fight doing what he does best — landing left hooks to the head and body against Quigg, who came into the fight with a heel injury and looked like he wasn’t moving as well as usual.
Valdez pounded Quigg with combinations, but Quigg’s extra bulk allowed him to take the punches. The fight was action-packed, especially the fifth round. Valdez opened a cut over Quigg’s left eye but suffered a cut inside his mouth. Quigg also rocked Valdez with a right hand and appeared to have him in some trouble late in the round.
Quigg threw Valdez to the mat in the sixth round and was given a hard warning by referee Lou Moret.
Blood continued to come out of Valdez’s mouth in the seventh round. Quigg was also a bloody mess as the blood flowed from cuts on his face, and he had bad swelling on his forehead.
Valdez continued to go to the body with hurtful hooks while Quigg looked for right hands to the head. They battled toe to toe in a fight worthy of the reputation of the StubHub Center’s “War Grounds” nickname.
Quigg landed a right hand very low with 20 seconds left in the 11th round, and Moret gave Valdez time to recover. When the fight resumed, Valdez went right after Quigg and badly hurt him with a left hook to the head that drove him into the ropes.
Quigg and Valdez came out winging in the final round with the fight seemingly very close. They were both bloody, hurt and exhausted, but they fought hard to the final bell.