By John J. Raspanti
I’ll never forget the roar of the crowd when heavy underdog Alfredo Angulo connected with a crunching left hook to the jaw of Erislandy Lara on the night of June 8, 2013. The sound exploded around me like an invisible bomb, meeting slightly above the lights of the StubHub Arena in Carson, CA. and exploding into the sky.
StubHub has been home to some of the most vicious fights ever seen or recorded. Israel Vazquaz and Rafael Marquez left their blood there in 2007 when it was called Home Depot Center. Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado waged war at the StubHub five years later.
Who can forget the give-and-take of Timothy Bradley and Ruslan Provodnikov, or Lucas Matthysse and John Molina Jr? The following year, Robert Guerrero and Yoshiro Kamegai engaged in some rock ’em-sock ’em robots at the StubHub.
It’s a mystery why the relatively small venue (8,000 seats) has hosted so many boxing classics. I’ve often wondered if the outside arena, somewhat reminiscent of the gladiator days in Rome, brings out the extreme warrior in fighters. There’s no quit, no give. Blood spills but nobody seems to care.
March 10 will bring more action to StubHub as Oscar Valdez of Mexico defends his WBO featherweight championship against former WBA super bantamweight titleholder Scott Quigg.
Valdez is undefeated in 23 fights, scoring 19 knockouts. He won his crown two years ago by knocking out Evegeny Gradovich. He’s defended it four times, once at Stub hub, where he won a wide decision over former champion Miguel Marriaga.
Quigg, from Lancashire, England, has only lost once in 37 official fights, 25 of those wins coming by knockout. He was last seen in the ring last November, halting Oleg Yefimovych in six one-sided rounds. He won subsequent fights by TKO and decision. Quigg suffered a broken jaw in his loss to former champion Carl Frampton in 2016. He battled hard, rallying late in the match only to come up short. He has since moved to the United States to work with hall of fame trainer, Freddie Roach.
Valdez, 27, is excited to swap hands with Quigg.
"As usual, on March tenth, I will leave it all in the ring at StubHub Center to show everyone that I’m one of the best featherweights in the world,” said Valdez at a press conference announcing the fight.
"I know that my world title defense against Scott Quigg will be a fun one for all the boxing fans because our styles combine perfectly to make a real war," Valdez added.
Valdez is slick, with fast hands. He puts his combinations together consistently. Quigg,29, is a pressure fighter, with heavy-hands. Valdez has the legs to box and fight. He seemingly likes to brawl when pushed. Quigg wants an inside fight so he can land his own powerful punches.
"This is a fight that I’m really looking forward to. It’s a great fight," Quigg said. "I have a lot of respect for Oscar and his team. We’ve been in the gym together in the past, helping each other prepare for a fight. They are good people. This is a great opportunity for me -- making my U.S. debut on a great platform on ESPN -- and I’m confident on March tenth I’ll become world champion again."
Quigg is a good fighter, but not good enough to defeat Valdez. As expected at StubHub, the two will wage battle. In the end, I see Valdez the victor.
It won’t be boring.