Johnny Wilds ESPN Boxing Insider Special to NYfights
Oscar ‘Fierro’ Valdez (23-0 19 KOs) vs. Scott Quigg (34-1-2 25 KOs)
WBO Featherweight Title
Date: Saturday March 10th
Location: StubHub Center aka ‘The War Grounds’ Carson, CA.
TV: ESPN 10:30 PM EST/7:30 PM PST
Opening Odds:* Current Odds:* Total Rounds
Valdez -400 Valdez -410 9.5 Over -215
Quigg +320 Quigg +330 9.5 Under +185
* Odds courtesy of William Hill, Las Vegas
Here's a look at where the money is going from Vegas bookmakers, along with opinions from boxing experts, trainers and my prediction for the fight.
At William Hill US, senior trader Adam Pullen opened the fight with Valdez -400/+329 and now sits at -410/+330. “We have taken very light action thus far. Tickets are dead even and money almost even,” said Pullen. He is hoping to take more action come Friday and Saturday.
At The Westgate, Las Vegas I spoke to Jeff Sherman, Race and Sportsbook Manager, and he posted the fight with Valdez -400/+320 and 9.5 rounds over -220 and under +180. Action on the favorite has driven the price to -445/+335.
• Colin Morrison (boxing sharp): “The styles here should mesh to give us an entertaining fight. Both men like to crack and don't seem to pay too much attention to the “not get hit” part of the boxing mandate. We're going to see plenty of exchanges but the slightly superior skills of Valdez will wear Quigg down late on. Valdez to win by TKO or possible corner retirement between rounds 10-12.”
• Evan Young (boxing sharp): “This is a terrific match-up. Valdez is a fan friendly fighter and I believe Quigg will be happy to oblige. No one will have to look for the other. Based on the odds, it appears Quigg is being a bit overlooked. Quigg is one of the top featherweights in the world and he is a very good puncher. Valdez can bang as well and has a higher KO percentage, however, I don’t think he is a better puncher than Quigg. Quigg is a precise puncher, and while Valdez is fast, he is also a free swinger that leaves himself available for counters. Not a good recipe against someone with Quigg’s power and efficiency. Valdez has the home court advantage in California but Quigg is very much in this. I’m tabbing the upset special with Quigg scoring a late round stoppage in a rousing battle.”
• Abraham Gonzalez (boxing sharp): “Another Stubhub Classic! That is what will be yelled at the end of this one. This will be a war of 2 great fighters. Quigg will establish his presence by boxing early but it will then shortly turn into a war after the 4th round. Both may touch the canvas briefly but at the end, I think Valdez squeezes this one out. Valdez by split decision.”
• Stephen “Breadman” Edwards (boxing trainer): “Valdez is a little wild and he tries to punch too hard instead of landing sharp. Look for him to be winning but Quigg comes on steady late. Expect some controversy and I say Valdez by SD.”
• Jamel ‘Semper Fi’ Herring (lightweight contender): “Valdez and Quigg is going to be a good fight. I think people are underestimating Quigg and not looking at his strengths. Valdez is one tough guy, with the heart of a lion but his aggression leaves him open at times. His last few fights he’s been caught with big shots by lesser opposition and Quigg is a strong guy. The main flaw I see with Quigg though is that he starts slow as we all saw in the Frampton fight. I think Valdez needs to start fast and keep a good pace throughout the fight, but I can also see Quigg flooring Valdez at least once. It’ll be an exciting match up overall.” No pick
• Marcos Figueroa (boxing sharp): “This should be a very good fight. I expect Valdez who is the bigger man to big brother Quigg. Quigg will have some moments but I expect a UD Valdez.”
• John “Iceman” Scully (boxing trainer): “I think it could be an exceptional fight for 6 rounds or so but Valdez will find himself tiring. Quigg will hit the gas and come away with the UD over the second half of the fight.”
• John Gatling (boxing sharp): “Oscar Valdez V Scott Quigg is peanut butter and jelly. Their styles “spread” well over the bread and should be a treat to watch. I give the slight edge to Valdez. I like his activity over a Quigg that hasn't quite regained his mojo since being tracked by Frampton. Valdez UD 12.”
• Luke Chapman (boxing sharp): “Two fighters with plenty of heart. Quigg has recorded a couple wins since breaking his jaw early in a lacklustre affair against Carl Frampton and is now here with Freddie Roach. Valdez does not let up and loves a firefight. I expect a great fight with Valdez getting the decision at +130 in a closer one than the current odds suggest.”
Valdez: The 27 year old WBO featherweight champion fighting out of Sonora, Mexico is an all action packed fighter who had a storied amateur career and holds wins over current contenders Diego De La Hoya and Fazliddin Gaibnazarov. He also beat the likes of Carlos Cuadras and Rey Vargas, who both claimed professional titles. He is 4-0 with 2 KOs in championship fights. In his last fight in September of 2017 versus Genesis Servania, he found himself on the canvas in round four while backing up and getting caught on the chin. It was second time he has been down in his career but stormed back and returned the favor in round five putting the challenger down with a hard overhand left. The fight was an epic donnybrook and Valdez won by UD 117-109, 116-110 and 115-111 to retain his title.
Quigg: The 29 year old fighting out of Bury, England is the former WBA super featherweight champion and made six title defenses and his only loss as a pro was to Carl Frampton in February of 2016 by SD scores of 116-112, 116 -112 for Frampton and 115-113 in his favor. Like Valdez, he too is an action packed fighter who left his former trainer, Joe Gallagher, last February in favor of hall of fame trainer Freddie Roach and is now training at the acclaimed Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles, CA.
Who will win?
The trainers and sharps are favoring Valdez 6-2 and fighter Herring thinks it’s too close to call. The line is very high on Valdez as this fight could be closer than anticipated. For me, Valdez just offers a bit more in terms of power punches. I suspect both fighters will touch the canvas at some point but I do think Valdez will have more of the wow factor and sway the judges if he doesn’t slump Quigg in the later rounds.
Pick: Valdez -400 or better.