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Oscar Valdez wins decision in brutal bout with Scott Quigg
By GREG BEACHAM
CARSON, Calif. (AP) Oscar Valdez's broken jaw gradually left a pool of blood between rounds in his corner of the ring. Scott Quigg's badly damaged nose wasn't even the most grotesque feature of his battered face.
By the time Valdez and Quigg embraced after the 12th-round bell, the poncho-clad fans at StubHub Center's outdoor ring rose to cheer an exceptional display of boxing perseverance through both rain and pain.
And Valdez headed for the hospital with his championship belt still firmly in his possession.
Valdez persevered through a grueling challenge from England's Quigg in a steady downpour to claim a unanimous decision victory Saturday night.
Valdez (24-0, 19 KOs) retained his WBO featherweight title while fighting under a canopy in this famed outdoor boxing venue south of downtown Los Angeles. With raindrops streaming through the spotlights onto the soaked crowd, the surreal setting added an extra layer of uniqueness to a remarkable, taxing bout for both men.
"Of course he's got to get better, but I thought he did great considering he fought with a broken jaw," said Manny Robles, Valdez's trainer. "You have no idea how hard this kid works and how much he wants to please his fans and live up to his Mexican heritage."
Two judges scored the bout 117-111 for Valdez, and the third had it 118-110. The Associated Press scored it 116-112 for Valdez, who rose to the challenges of the unusual conditions and an oversized opponent.
The two-time Mexican Olympian got a punishing test from Quigg (34-2-2), who missed weight for the bout and appeared to benefit from that extra strength. Promoter Eddie Hearn revealed that Quigg had a right foot injury during his training camp, likely affecting his ability to make the 126-pound limit.
"Both guys showed unbelievable heart," Hearn said. "It was a brilliant fight. Both guys aren't human."
Valdez landed 237 punches to Quigg's 143. Valdez also led in power shots, 175-129.
Valdez was taken to a hospital in nearby Torrance afterward. Quigg displayed heavy damage around his eyes in addition to his broken nose.
But "Oscar was laughing" on the way to the ambulance, Robles said. "He's a Mexican warrior. He's the epitome of an Aztec warrior."
Rain fell throughout the night across the Los Angeles area, but several hundred hearty fans stuck it out with help from cheap rain gear and beer. They were treated to another night of memorable fights at the outdoor ring that has hosted countless landmark bouts, albeit in California's usually pleasant evening weather.
Valdez had more pace than Quigg early, peppering him with shots in the first three rounds. Quigg found his stride and strength in the fourth round and again in the fifth, when he appeared to hurt Valdez seriously with a big right hook.
Blood began to drip from Valdez's mouth in the sixth round, likely related to the broken jaw. Robles didn't take Valdez's mouthpiece out of his mouth between rounds, trying to keep his jaw somewhat together.
"I don't know how to describe it, but his teeth are separated," Robles said. "Part of his jaw is (caved) in."
Quigg hurt Valdez in the 10th, and the Englishman landed a low blow on Valdez in the 11th. After Valdez shook off the pain, he rushed back from the stoppage with a heavy flurry that nearly floored Quigg.
Along with the miserable weather, the proceedings were dampened by Quigg's inability to make weight. Quigg came in at 128.8 pounds on Friday, a hefty 2.8 pounds over the limit.
Quigg was fined 20 percent of his $100,000 purse by the California commission, and he is likely to be required to make an additional payment to Valdez. Quigg had won three straight fights since his move to featherweight, but the Manchester-area native acknowledged he had badly botched his weight cut for his first fight in North America.
The former WBA super bantamweight champion also lost his chance to fight for a major title in his second weight class. Hearn laughed at online theories suggesting Quigg had missed weight on purpose to have extra strength.
"The only reason we took this fight was to try to win a world title," Hearn said. "It was a disaster for him to be too heavy."
Updated March 11, 2018