12 years ago yesterday, Edwin Valero won his second world title in as many weights, as he moved up to lightweight and proceeded to destroy Antonio Pitalua inside two savage rounds to win the vacant WBC belt. Valero, one of the most exciting, ferocious and explosive fighters in recent boxing history, was dead a little over a year after becoming a two-weight champion.
Valero fought, or annihilated, Pitalua in America, the April 4, 2009 fight in Houston, Texas his first on US soil since 2003. True stardom, and the possibility of an atom bomb explosion of a super-fight with Manny Pacquiao, seemed to be in “El Inca’s” grasp. Instead, as we know, the internal fury that the Venezuelan used to such chilling effect inside the ring turned on him, in doing so destroying two lives – Valero’s own and that of his wife; this at the crazed fighter’s own hand.
Valero brutally stabbed his wife, then took his own soul to wherever it was destined to end up by way of hanging in his jail cell. This was a shocking and disturbing end to a potentially great fighter; an ending that remains as unforgettable as it was unforgivable. Valero will never have an ounce of sympathy, yet the fan fascination remains.
Exiting this world with a 27-0(27) pro boxing record, Valero’s name often comes up, with fight fans wondering how far he might have gone had he not imploded as dramatically as he once exploded in the ring. And could the southpaw punching machine have beaten southpaw dynamo Pac Man?
But what about today’s lightweight stars? How might Valero and his wicked fists have done against the likes of Teofimo Lopez, Devin Haney, Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia? To say nothing of Vasly Lomachenko! The current 135-pound stars – Lopez, Garcia, Haney and Tank – have been dubbed by some “The New Four Kings.” But what if they had the potential hell of a Valero fight to deal with?
Might Valero have been the king of the lightweights had he been operating and looking for the big KO today? We will of course never know, but it sure does make for some fascinating Dream Fight material, don’t you agree?
Valero added genuine fire and fury to both the 130 and 135-pound weight divisions, to the sport in general. This is something neither of the current lightweight stars have yet been able to do. No murderous monster should ever be celebrated, of course, but Valero the boxer (if you could even call him that) remains a warrior of interest. For good or for bad we will never forget him. To think, Valero would be just 38 years of age today.
I don’t know about you, but I think the 2009 version of Valero would have given each of the five lightweights mentioned above sheer hell indeed, beating at least a couple of them by KO.