by James Slater – Despite being one of the purest punchers in the sport today, as well as currently holding a WBC world title, unbeaten southpaw bomber Edwin Valero is still not a star. Hampered in his progress to become one, no doubt, by his being disallowed to fight anywhere in America apart from the state of Texas (due to the head injury the 27-year-old suffered in a motorcycle accident back in early 2001) Valero seemingly has all the ingredients needed to become a huge attraction..
One of the purest punchers in the sport today? At an amazing 25-0(25) it’s fair to say that. Not one opponent, in a pro career that began back in July of 2002, has managed to make it past the tenth round against the former WBA super-featherweight and reigning WBC lightweight king – the man who did last into the 10th being Vicente Mosquera back in August of 2006 (the fight in which Valero won his WBA 130-pound title). But despite the withering power he has at his disposal and the recognised world title belt he has around his waist, the Venezuelan warrior is not yet close to being a household name anywhere other than in his homeland.
This won’t change after his next fight, set for December 19th, in Caracas. Having what will be his first world title fight in is home country, the man known as “El Inca,” who craves big fight opportunities against the likes of Manny Pacquiao, will meet Mexican veteran Hector Velazquez. On paper an easy fight for the man who won the WBC 135-pound crown back in his April 2009 debut at the weight (a 2nd-round stoppage of Antonio Pitalua), the Velazquez fight will not do too much as far as raising Valero’s worldwide profile.
At age 34 and with a long and hard sixteen year pro career behind him, the Mexican who is now 51-13-2(35) is actually going into his first crack at a genuine world title off a loss. Losing on points to Joksan Hernandez down at super-featherweight in June of this year (130 being the weight Velazquez has boxed large portions of his career at), the 34-year-old now gets the opportunity of a lifetime. But has he any real chance of winning?
Stopped some 5 times as a pro, by guys such as Jesus Rodriguez and, most recently, Manny Pacquiao, the challenger has also lost two of his last three outings (on points). It’s amazing the old warhorse from Tijuana is still going really, when you consider how he has been in with long since retired fighters such as Kevin Kelley and Robbie Peden (both fights down at featherweight). Having already faced and lost to many good or great fighters – Israel Vazquez also being a fine fighter Velazquez has met in his time – we don’t know much the veteran of well over 60 fights has left.
Velazquez does hold wins over good men Bobby Pacquiao and Guty Espadas Junior, but both these wins came at either 126 or 130-pounds and both were a long time ago. Having done nothing at lightweight, it’s strange indeed how Velazquez has been given this shot at Valero. As tough as he is, he’s sure to give it a good go and fight as best he can – and with 35 KO’s to his name, Velzaquez can hit quite hard himself – but against as lethal and as hungry a puncher as Valero it’s tough to see him lasting more than a few rounds.
Look for Valero to keep his 100-percent KO ratio as he stops Velazquez inside four rounds next month. Then, maybe, he will get some of the big fights he really wants.