In one of the more brutal battles I can remember offhand, WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez was forced to fend off a hard charging Scott Quigg for seven rounds with a broken jaw. Quigg, who came in overweight for the contest, was intent on imposing his size on Valdez and continually walked through fire making it impossible for Valdez to skate to a win by simply boxing.
Instead Valdez had to fight his way though serious adversity, and although he emerged victorious on the scorecards, the win was a grueling one which came at a price. With the broken jaw Valdez is expected be on the shelf for the remainder of the year and was on a liquid diet for months.
“The fight was tough but I think after was even harder,” Valdez told ESPN during a recent interview at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. “Knowing you won the fight, knowing that the job is done, what boxers normally do is go eat. So that was pretty hard for me to have two months without being able to eat and doing nothing but drinking liquids. I went down in weight. I was pretty much at my weight class. I fight at 126, I was 127, 128, which is not really healthy.”
Valdez says that since the break in his jaw was bone to bone, without tearing any ligaments, that he’s been assured by his doctor that the jaw will heal back stronger, making it unlikely for him to suffer the same injury going forward. But either way, it was the kind of fight he’d rather avoid in the future.
“Honestly, I don’t want those fights because I could also box,” he said. “I think I still have a lot to show to the fans. I always go in there trying to be defensive but I think sometimes you’re forced to be in a war. Scott Quigg was the bigger fighter, the heavier fighter. He was very aggressive, which didn’t allow me to be a boxer.”
The 27-year-old champion would love to make his return by December as he wants to get in as many fights as possible, knowing that a boxing career is a short one, but his handlers want to be cautious with Valdez after a couple of tough outings in a row. But through the pain an injuries, Valdez’s youthful exuberance hasn’t been shaken. He’s a fighter who just wants to be back in the heat of battle.