SAN DIEGO, Calif., March 9, 2018 – Boxing fans get to choose between cards from Southern California and Texas for their entertainment this Saturday. It’s a coin toss which of the two main events, Valdez vs Quiggor Garcia vs Lipinets, will produce the better entertainment. Also in the ring is Vences vs Saucedo.
Oscar Valdez defends his title, but Scott Quigg can’t win it
After a barnburner bout in September ending in a hard-won unanimous decision, fans expected two-time Mexican Olympian and WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez (23-0, 19 KOs) now living in Tucson to face one of the bigger names in the division from Great Britain, such as Carl Frampton or Lee Selby.
Instead, England’s former junior featherweight champion Scott Quigg (34-1-2, 24 KOs) got the call. Quigg’s only prior loss was to Frampton. It marks Quigg’s American debut. With excitement building for a good scrap and the best test for Valdez as a pro, the air went out of the room at Friday’s weigh-in.
Valdez easily made weight at 125.8 pounds. Quigg blew through the 126-pound limit at 128.8 pounds. Per the California State Athletic Commission’s more stringent rules, Quigg was not permitted a chance to make weight since he was more than two pounds heavier than the agreed upon weight.
The fight will proceed with fines paid off
The fight on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10:30 p.m ET/7:30 p.m. will go on. Valdez will still make the fourth defense of his title. He can lose, but Quigg cannot win. Per the CSAC, Quigg pays a 20 percent fine, with 10 percent going to Valdez and 10 percent to the commission. The two camps were also negotiating a direct payment from Quigg to Valdez, coupled with a Saturday morning weight check to prevent Quigg from blowing up beyond reason.
Don’t cry for Quigg, though. He’s a significant star in boxing crazy Great Britain and he’s making a solid purse thanks to British TV rights.
Was this a ploy by Quigg to get a win, belt be damned? Perhaps he took the calculated risk after seeing Valdez grind out two decision victories against Genesis Servania and Miguel Marriaga in his last two fights. It would be a solid win for Quigg’s career and gives him some leverage back home for bigger money fights. But Quigg hasn’t had a problem before and is known to practice quality training habits.
Valdez needs to be worried if Quigg comes in big and weathers whatever Valdez has to throw at him. However, Valdez is fighting in front of a friendly Mexican-American fan base in a familiar setting and it helps him. There is a significant chance of rain at the open air StubHub Center venue, unusual for the Carson venue which could add a twist to the setting.
Undercard bouts feature Rio Olympians
On the undercard, undefeated WBC Continental Americas super featherweight champion Andy Vences (20-0, 12 KOs) of San Jose faces world-rated junior welterweight contender Alex Saucedo (26-0, 16 KOs) of Oklahoma City.
2016 American Olympian and three-time U.S. Amateur champion Mikaela Mayer (3-0, 2 KOs) of Los Angeles and 2012 Olympic silver medalist and middleweight contender Esquiva Falcäo (19-0, 13 KOs) of Brazil also appear on the undercard.
Mikey Garcia looks for the fourth division title against Sergey Lipinets
At the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, undefeated world champion Mikey Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs) of Moreno Valley, California has the opportunity to make boxing history against undefeated IBF Super Lightweight World Champion Sergey Lipinets (13-0, 10 KOs) of Kazakhstan.
Garcia can win a title in a fourth weight-division with a victory over Lipinets.
He would become only the third boxer to hold titles at featherweight, super featherweight, and lightweight, joining Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao.
The bout will air on Showtime Boxing starting at 10:15 p.m. ET/7:15 p.m. PT.
Garcia has an excellent chance to do so. The fight was originally scheduled in February but postponed a month due to a training injury to Lipinet’s hand.
Garcia will be the toughest opponent Lipinets has ever faced.
Lipinets knows it.
“Getting the title is one thing, but keeping the title is a more difficult task. I’m not about to give it away to anybody … I can promise you this won’t be a snoozer. It’s going to be an action-packed fight for sure.”
Garcia, among the best pound for pound fighters today, took some heat for taking the fight with Lipinets instead of facing WBA lightweight champion Jorge Linares at 135 pounds. But he claims the fourth title opportunity drew him to Lipinets.
“Winning a fourth title was the big draw for me in making this fight happen. To make history like that is something that really motivates me. I know that I have a lot more to accomplish in the sport, but this is a great start. This is the direction I want to go in.”
Garcia has all the skills in the world. It’s always been his will being the cause for concern. Great fighters need both. Fans have seen many boxers with exceptional skill lose focus and fail when faced with adversity in the ring.
It’s not likely to happen to Garcia here, but fans are getting impatient to see him face a real test. They might give him a pass on this one, but he needs to book a big name and soon.
Barthelemy takes on Relikh in a rematch to prove himself
In the co-main event, Rances Barthelemy (26-0, 13 KOs), a Cuban exile, takes on a rematch against Kiryl Relikh (24-2, 19 KOs) of Belarus for the vacant WBA Super Lightweight title. Relikh is coming off two losses to Barthelemy and Ricky Burns before that.
Both fighters hit the canvas in their first bout last May, but they made it to the final bell and Barthelemy won a questionable victory via the cards. He’s got to prove himself in this fight for a little redemption. Relikh is in “must-win” territory, which makes him potentially dangerous.
Featured Image: Oscar Valdez and Scott Quigg have words at Friday's weigh-in after Quigg failed to make weight. Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank Boxing
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.
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