a) right, and
b) you would also show good boxing knowledge, because the 28 year old Venezuelan southpaw slugger with the 27-0 (27 ko´s) record is far from a household name in most sports fans households. At least for now.
He made a huge step toward changing that at the weekend, when he defended his WBC lightweight title against once beaten 24 year old Mexican prospect Antonio DeMarco, the WBC´s interim lightweight champion. Fighting in front of hostile Mexican fans at the Arena Monterrey, Valero showed off his usual repertoire of pile driving head punches, allied to an improved level of boxing skill to force his opponent´s corner to throw in the towel after nine one-sided rounds. A cut to his forehead from a DeMarco elbow in the second round resulted in Valero fighting with blood streaming down his face and chest. With the blood, his long hair and snarl, revealing a multicolored gumshield, Valero could have passed for an extra on the movie Braveheart.
As usual, Valero was frequently wide open with his chin in the air, but DeMarco
(23-2-1, 17 ko´s) was so preoccupied with avoiding Valero´s non-stop aerial bombardment, he could do little in the way of mounting a counter-offensive. The bout brought Valero much needed US TV exposure via cable giant Showtime who carried the fight live.
The Venezuelan has boxed just once in the US in the last seven years. In 2003 he failed a CAT scan when a blood clot was found in his brain, the result of a 2001 motorcycle accident. In effect he was excluded from ever holding a boxing license in the US. As a result Valero didn’t box for 17 months, until he picked up his career in South America and Japan.
Last year prior to the Pitalua fight, Valero passed a battery of tests and was licensed to fight in Texas. Subsequent to his victory, Valero was caught DUI (driving under the influence) and had had his US visa revoked, and can now, for the moment, no longer enter the United States. Talk about two steps forward, one step back!
Some Valero fans have likened their fighter to a young Roberto Duran. There is a similarity in terms of controlled ferocity, pressure tactics and non-stop aggression, but that is where the similarity ends. The obvious difference is that Roberto Duran was extremely well schooled in the art of boxing by Ray Arcel, whereas Valero gives the impression that he is still learning the game.
His natural punching power is on par with any legendary slugger one cares to name, but it is of the wild, unschooled brand, similar to a Rocky Graziano, an Alfonso Zamora or a Pipino Cuevas, as opposed to the more disciplined, accurate bombs of an Earnie Shavers or a Julian Jackson.
A look at Valero´s old fights on YouTube reveal a fighter who shuns any attempt to employ the art of boxing. He simply hunts his opponent down, gloves held at waist level, wide open, and unleashes wide armed haymakers at his opponents head.
This approach would be suicidal for 99% of human beings, but Valero is so tough and hits so hard it has been a 100% success, so far. Would it work against a defensive genius like Mayweather? or a fighter blessed with the mobility of Pacquiao? It would seem highly unlikely.
Valero fights with a tattoo of the Venezuelan flag on his chest. On the flag is an image of Venezuela´s controversial President Hugo Chavez. Like Roberto Duran with Panama and Manny Pacquiao with the Philippines, Valero is extremely proud of his nation, and rightly is accorded God like status in his home country.
He turned profesional in 2001, and after scoring 19 straight knockout´s, 18 in the first round, Valero fought Panamanian WBA super-featherweight champion Vincente Mosquera in Mosquera´s home town of Panama city in August 2006. Although the Mosquera floored Valero in the 3rd, he suffered a sustained battering until the referee saved him in the tenth.
Four defenses followed, all by knockout before he vacated his crown in 2008. In April 2009 Valero fought Colombian Antonio Pitalua for the vacant WBC lightweight title. The bout was staged in San Antonio, Texas, Valero´s first aprearance in a US ring since 2003. Valero became a two division world champion just 49 seconds into round two when Pitalua hit the canvas for a third time.
Valero defended his new crown in Venezuela the week before Christmas, bludgeoning Mexican veteran Hector Velazquez to a seventh round defeat. And just seven weeks later, it was Antonio DeMarco´s turn to take on the human threshing machine.
With motorcycle crashes and DUI charges, Valero appears to have the capacity to be something of a wild man outside of the ring. So far, apart from getting him kicked out of the very country he needs to be able to fight in to maximize his earnings, his behavior hasn’t affected his performances in the ring.
For the next few years of his career, if he truly wants to become a global superstar and not just a cult hero,Valero must surround himself with a stellar support team. Valero has to work on his defense, he has to learn to keep his chin down, and he has to develop some body punching skills.
He actively wants to fight Pacquiao and Mayweather, and he wants them now. Luckily for him, he doesn’t have enough clout to attract the top stars, and they will certainly not risk their reputations against him without substantial financial gain.
The best case scenario would see Valero sign with Golden Boy Promotions and come under the tutelage of Freddie Roach and Michael Moorer. Then maybe he would reach his maximum potential.
Could Valero potentially knock out the PacMan? In a word – yes. Pacquiao takes risks in the ring, he gets tagged. Manny has been knocked out twice before, and although he has mixed with many big punchers since then, including his last three opponents; De La Hoya, Hatton and Cotto, he has yet to fight a man who hits as hard – even harder – than he himself does.
Can Valero knock out The Pretty Boy? He would have to catch him on the chin first. One shot is unlikely to do it, and he would find it almost impossible to nail Mayweather with the salvo of shots necessary to finish him off.
Could Valero knock out Amir Khan? I think if there is one fighter on the planet that Freddie Roach would NEVER allow Khan in the ring with, even for a multi-million dollar purse, it would be Valero. And that´s not to say that Amir couldn’t beat him. Khan on his best day might be too much of a boxer for the wild swinging Venezuelan.
But nevertheless, the potential risk factor would be much too high.
If Valero keeps winning, and keeps bowling his opponents over, he will undoubtedly become one of the biggest stars in boxing.
Watch this space.