By Steve Kim
WBO featherweight titlist Oscar Valdez will be paired with Scott Quigg on March 10th from the StubHub Center in Carson, California on a card that will be televised on ESPN. The deal was finalized on Friday.
On paper, it's the sternest challenge for Valdez (23-0, 19 KO's), who will be making the fourth defense of his title that he won in July of 2016 by stopping Martin Rueda in two rounds.
For Quigg (34-1-2, 25 KOs), it's going to be his toughest fight since losing a close decision to Carl Frampton in their super bantamweight unification in February of 2016.
After that fight, Quigg moved up to featherweight, hired Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, moved his training camps to the Wild Card in Hollywood, and won his last three bouts.
"We wanted Valdez to fight a guy who's known, who was capable. We called Barry Hearn up, he was happy to make a deal with us and (Valdez's manager) Frank Espinoza agreed that we needed to step up Valdez and the competition, having him fight a name guy and so it's just a smart fight to do," said Bob Arum, the founder of Top Rank, to BoxingScene.com.
"In other words," continued Arum, "we're not playing around. We're not playing around like, 'the future's down the line, seventeen fights and then you put him in a big fight.' We have an obligation to the audience that watches ESPN which is most of the young people and people who love sports. And we want them to watch interesting fights with good fighters and kids who have stories and so forth. That's what we're doing, we're programming.
"We're not plotting, planning that, 'We'll have him fight this bum and then he'll fight somebody else and maybe two years from now he'll go in a real fight.'"
Valdez-Quigg figures to be a fan-friendly affair between two boxers in their physical prime with plenty at stake.
"We have a responsibility to the public and to ESPN to give them the best possible fights that we can make," said Arum.
Steve Kim is the news editor for BoxingScene.com.