Valero and Abregu Still Undefeated

ValeroBy John G. Thompson: Edwin “Dinamita” Valero 27-0 (27 KO’s) put on a career defining performance in defending his WBC Lightweight Title and forcing Antonio DeMarco 23-2-1 to quit on his stool before the start of the tenth round. No one should misunderstand what happened as the Venezuelan champion showed brilliance against a very game, yet outclassed opponent in the young Mexican warrior. This was not simply a case of a young fighter being exposed, but an example of what happens when a very good fighter meets a great one.

Warming up the crowd in exciting fashion, Luis Carlos Abregu 29-0 (23 KO’s) earned a tough fought unanimous decision against Richard Gutierrez 24-4-1. After a somewhat close first round, Gutierrez almost pulled an upset in the second, knocking Abregu down. Abregu had just thrown a hard right which was blocked by the guard of Gutierrez, and was following it up with a left hook, when Gutierrez threw a vicious left hook of his own catching Abregu on the chin. Abregu’s knees buckled and he went down. Getting up on shaky legs Abregu managed to move and eventually regained his faculties, even landing shots of his own before the bell ended the round..

Abregu came out with something to prove in the third round and caught Gutierrez with an overhand right which wobbled Gutierrez, who appeared to put his glove down and touched the canvas, though the referee did not see it. Gutierrez waved Abregu in and Abregu obliged. Gutierrez landed an uppercut to the body; however, Abregu simultaneously landed a right uppercut and left hook combination which put Gutierrez down. Abregu swarmed Gutierrez with shots after he got up on unsteady legs, though somehow Gutierrez was able to land some good shots during those exchanges.

The action continued for several rounds as Gutierrez pressed forward, with Abregu appearing to land the cleaner and more effective shots. Neither man held on and it made for great exchanges and some tough rounds for each man. By the end of the eighth round with the open scoring system (by which the judges’ scorecards are made public each round) it was clear that Abregu was comfortably ahead in the fight. The corner of Gutierrez told him he could not win a decision and implored him to go for the knockout. The opposite conversation took place in the other corner as Abregu’s camp told him to box and move, which he did successfully for the remainder of the bout.

Edwin Valero retained his title not only with his now legendary power, but with impressive movement, landing multiple combinations then stepping back out of range before Antonio DeMarco could respond. At times it appeared as though DeMarco was reluctant to throw punches, but this should not be mistaken for a lack of heart. DeMarco was being smothered with punches in every round and then stripped of the opportunity to counter punch.

To add to the drama of this win, Valero was cut in the second round by an accidental elbow foul which opened up an enormous gouge across his forehead. Valero, who could have simply quit, spent the majority of the fight with half his face covered in blood. Instead of quitting Valero proved his mettle by pummeling DeMarco until his corner stopped the fight prior to the start of the tenth round.

A mega fight with pound for pound king Manny Pacquiao certainly makes for an intriguing match-up, though the “Pac Man” is currently campaigning at 147 pounds. With Valero having only recently moved up to 135, and not yet a big enough name in the sport, it appears unlikely that these two will square off anytime soon. A bout with Juan Manuel Marquez would be the next best thing; however, Marquez has many options at preset (Amir Khan, Ricky Hatton) and may opt for a bigger payday. Valero too should now find himself with many options such as Rolando Reyes, Joan Guzman, or David Diaz. If Dinamita really wants to prove himself, he could take a fight with Ali Funeka or better yet find a way to make the Juan Manuel Marquez fight happen.

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Article posted on 07.02.2010

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