Last night, in the picturesque location of the StubHub Center in Carson, California, he went on stage one of the most exciting match so far in 2017.
Oscar Valdez, now 22-0 with 19 KO, faced a real tough opponent determined to give everything to the end as Miguel Marriaga (25-2, 21 KOs after yesterday). The fighting was valid for the WBO featherweight title held by Valdez.
The fight began with the best wishes: the champion began to sign some combination and challenger put pressure with conviction and aggression. The first four rounds have been fought on the edge of balance, with Valdez who has tried to use the ring and attack in bursts with broad strokes (in particular left hook and right overhand) but still loads and effective, and Marriaga that he tried to press it and unleashing bombs with both hands, testing the composure of the young Mexican.
The fifth and sixth round saw the two protagonists make changes during construction to his boxing to adapt and find countermeasures, in particular a more sustained use of the jab as part of either could momentarily to shift the balance. Valdez kept her distance rival with some combination while Marriaga became more dangerous when it was rounding the jab.
In the ninth round, the young champion seemed willing to take a breath and left too much space to the action of Colombian puncher, who with unchanged perseverance and fighting spirit won the round.
But the turning point of the fight has arrived in the round number 10: the impetuous rhythm of Marriaga it seemed for a moment to bend the resistance of Valdez, which retreated for several seconds and underwent the two-handed attack the challenger. And just then Marriaga remained uncovered and Valdez struck him with a precise left hook sending him to the mat.
After counting, the champion has launched the attack trying to close the challenge before the limit but his opponent was able not only to recover and resist but actually ended in forcing the round, with great pride. The tenth was therefore a round among the most exciting of the year.
Once the last six minutes of the battle, the two fighters faced each other openly, exchanging several heavy blows, dealing with admirable intensity, heart and desire to win until the last moment, despite the fatigue.
The judges awarded Oscar Valdez by unanimous decision (119-108, 118-109 and 116-111) and just this last card seemed the most truthful, the other two a loose fitting and very unforgiving towards excellent and competitive Marriaga.
This fight told us much about the future of the WBO featherweight champion. Oscar Valdez has passed a tough test, he never lost his cool, he managed the forces and showed the world that in addition to talent has heart and tenacity that serve to fight at the highest levels of a psychologically demanding sport as physically like boxing.
Marriaga for its part, has brought out the best from his opponent with a performance at very high intensity, energy and courage. The 5419 spectators at the StubHub Center went home satisfied.