A never-ending cycle
What should have been a rather joyous occasion for WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez and his team was a bit muted as the gutsy Valdez suffered a rather severe jaw injury versus Scott Quigg, last Saturday night, at a rainy and wet StubHub Center, in Carson, California.
It was a bloody battle that saw neither man attend the post-fight press conference afterward.
For Valdez and his manager Frank Espinoza, it turned out to be just the beginning of a long night.
“After the fight, approximately 10:30 (p.m.), the ambulance took (Valdez) to Harbor Hospital. We stood there the entire night. We weren’t able to get a plastic surgeon to work on Oscar,” recalled Espinoza, who was by his fighter’s side throughout this ordeal. “They gave us a day of Tuesday or Wednesday possibly. Once we found out that there wasn”t going to be a plastic surgeon available, we checked him out and went to Cedars-Sinai, in Beverly Hills, and that was now Sunday morning. We checked him in that morning and he stood there till the afternoon.”
Espinoza, who snuck in a few hours of rest back at the fight hotel in Manhattan Beach, eventually called a Top Rank attorney, who referred them to an oral surgeon out of Beverly Hills, Dr. Douglas M. Galen.
“So we then checked him out of Cedars-Sinai on Sunday night and we got him into a hotel and because (Dr. Galen) could do the procedure on Monday morning at 8 o’clock. So we all went there on Monday morning; (Valdez) was released at 1 o’clock in the afternoon and now he’s still here in California,” said Espinoza, who explained that his boxer did not have surgery on his jaw but will have it wired shut for five-to-six weeks.
Espinoza, who lives in West Covina, wasn’t able to get home till Monday afternoon. He was still in a bit of a fog. “Isn’t it Tuesday?” he asked with a chuckle, when asked the following morning at breakfast if he knew the day of the week.
“There’s more to managing than just getting your percentage,” said Espinoza, who has never been shy about being a hands-on manager. “Me, I care for my fighters. They’re like family to me and they’re just like sons to me and I want to make sure that their health and well-being is looked after and it’s very important that I’m there in moments like this, through the good times and the bad times.”
Espinoza – who, in the past, as guided the careers of Martin Castillo, Israel Vazquez, Abner Mares and Daniel Ponce de Leon – was visibly upset after the fight on Saturday, having advised his client to not take the fight after Quigg came in nearly three pounds over the featherweight limit and then refused to participate in a day-of weigh-in with a rehydration limit. Quigg, who came in above the junior welterweight limit, was noticeably bigger than Valdez and kept marching forward throughout the fight, despite absorbing a multitude of punches from the defending champion.
“Personally I didn’t want Oscar to take this fight under these circumstances but he insisted. So at that point, it was his call. Now with that said, in my view, the commissions need to put rules in place so that instances like this never happen again. I understand that fights have to go on. You can’t cancel events but you shouldn’t do it at the cost of what happened to Oscar. This isn’t just about him but all boxers who are put in that position,” said Espinoza.
By Wednesday afternoon, Espinoza and his son Frankie Jr. (the other half of Espinoza Boxing) were at Legendz Boxing in Norwalk, California, with a trio of their young prospects, Emilio Sanchez, Raul Curiel and Joet Gonzalez (who fight next week on a Golden Boy Promotions card), where a media day was held for the participants.
“Hey, you’ve got to be there for these guys too. They’re young but they’re the future,” said Espinoza, who regularly drops in on his fighters at the gym. Espinoza isn’t afraid to get involved with his fighters and invest in them. This past training camp, Valdez – and others in his talented stable – spent much of it in Mexico and Espinoza picked up many of the expenses that came with it. And yes, Espinoza, spent a couple of days in Guadalajara a few weeks ago with his boxers and trainer Manuel Robles.
(Not for nothing, his lavish victory parties he throws for his fighters at his home are can’t-miss.)
On Friday night, Frank Sr. and Jr. will be at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles, where Antonio Orozco will make his 2018 debut, and the irony is not lost on Espinoza that Orozco’s bout versus Roberto Ortiz was aborted because his fighter couldn’t make weight. However he points out, laughing, “The difference is that as we were trying to sort all that out. We were more than willing to do a next-day weigh-in. We’re not hypocrites here.”
Then it will be fight week for Sanchez, Gonzalez and Curiel at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California, where the Espinozas will be back on the grind for their clients.
“This job never really ends,” said Espinoza.
Here’s this week’s edition of “The 3 Knockdown Rule,” with Mario Lopez and me. On this week’s show you’ll hear from Mr. Espinoza, Jose Ramirez, Abel Sanchez and Antonio Orozco.
As I stated on “3KR,” the Jeff Horn-Terence Crawford WBO welterweight title bout will be moved back from April 14…With that, the bout between WBO 122-pound champion Jessie Magdaleno and Isaac Dogboe has been moved to April 28, in Philadelphia…Thompson Boxing Promotions will be streaming Danny Roman’s recent defense of his WBA 122-pound belt, in Japan, on Saturday night and their private card from Orange, California, on Saturday night…The Lakers better keep Julius Randle…It’s hard to keep up with all these NFL moves…I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.