Q&A With WBC Champ Edwin Valero -- 26-0, With 26 KOs
He is nicknamed "Dinamita," or Dynamite, and Edwin Valero has indeed displayed two-fisted power throughout his professional boxing career.
On Saturday, Feb. 6, in Monterrey, Mexico, the Venezuelan-born, WBC lightweight champion will pursue his 26th, consecutive knockout in as many victories without a loss when he makes the second defense of his crown against WBC interim titlist, Antonio DeMarco, in a Showtime-televised, 135-pound clash of talented southpaws.
The 28-year-old Valero (pictured above, at left) scored his most recent KO on Dec. 19, when a badly beaten, 34-year-old Hector Velazquez failed to come out for the seventh round of their bout before Valero's hometown fans at the Polideportivo José María Vargas, in La Guaira, Venezuela.
The 23-year-old DeMarco (23-1, 17 KOs), of Tijuana, is a boxer-puncher who is coming off of an Oct. 31, 10th-round knockout of Jose Alfaro.
So as he looks to earn a place among boxing's premiere performers, this could well be the most difficult challenge for Valero, for DeMarco won every round of what was his 12th consecutive victory, improving his unbeaten streak to 15-0-1 with 10 knockouts since losing a six-round, majority decision to Anthony Vasquez in February 2006.
Alfaro was the third straight knockout for DeMarco, who earned the NABO with a February, 2007, ninth-round stoppage of Almazbek Raiymkulov, a fighter who came in with a record of 27-1-1, and 15 KOs.
A sensational and relentless puncher, Valero won his first 18 career bouts by first-round knockout, capped by a first-round stoppage of Whyber Garcia in the WBA super featherweight (130 pounds) title eliminator in February of 2006.
Two fights later, Valero got up from a third-round knockdown to earn the WBA super featherweight crown with a 10th-round knockout of Vicente Mosquera, whom he dropped twice in the first round of their August, 2006 matchup.
Valero defended that title four times before rising to lightweight, where he dropped Antonio Pitalua three times on the way to an April, 2009, second-round knockout that earned him his current championship.
Two problems have hindered Valero from getting much-needed exposure during his career: Unresolved issues stemming from a DUI last May, which caused Venezuela to subsequently deny him a U.S. Visa., and another stigma stemming from brain surgery he received as the result of a motorcycle accident in 2001 that caused a blood clot later revealed during an MRI.
Although cleared to fight after successful surgery removed the clot, Valero was still placed on indefinite medical suspension by the NYAC, and, thus, banned by most athletic associations which supported the NYAC's decision.
Valero knocked out his next 14 opponents over the ensuing six years in Venezuela, Argentina, Panama, Japan, France and Mexico before being sanctioned in Austin, Texas, for his knockout of Pitalua.
FanHouse caught up to Valero recently for this Q&A, during which he discussed the importance of making a big impression against DeMarco.
Note: This interview was translated by Marylyn Aceves
FanHouse: What do you believe that beating Antonio Demarco will do for your career?
Edwin Valero: This fight means a lot. Depending on what happens -- and it should go my way -- a win in this fight would open a lot more doors for bigger fights.
FH: Did you see Antonio Demarco's last fight, and if so, what did he think of him?
Valero: Out of all of his fights, I've only seen two rounds of his fights. And I didn't see his last fight.
FH: Do you believe that you have had ample time to study Antonio Demarco, or are you simply more concerned about what you will do to your opponent than what your opponent will bring to the table?
Valero: My main focus is what I'm going to do against Demarco, or with Demarco in the ring, the moment I step into the ring with him.
My focus has been physically on me and my training. But the moment I step into the ring, that's when I'll focus on Demarco.
FH: So haven't studied any film on Antonio Demarco, but have relied on your trainer to do that?
Valero: My trainer, Mario Morales, he studies the films of the past fights of Demarco. But I tell him not to tell me a thing about them, but to just train me accordingly.
Don't tell me a thing about him because when I come in there, that's when I do my job. I use my instincts.
FH: Where are you training, and, by fight time, how many months or weeks will you have trained for Antonio Demarco?
Valero: I've never really stopped training since my last fight against Hector Velazquez. So, really, it would be since back in September until now.
And I've already been here in Monterrey training for two weeks. So I'm in supreme physical condition.
FH: Where do you believe that you rank among the sport's pound-for-pound best?
Valero: It's been over a year, or at least almost a year now that I should have been included in that list with the top 10 best boxers.
And that's my goal -- it's to get my name among them, now.
FH: What do you believe it will take in this particular fight for that to happen -- a knockout or simply dominance?
Valero: I need to win this fight by knockout to be included in this list, and yes, of course, that's what I'm trying to do in this fight.
FH: With the past problems with your head injury slowing your career, and not being able to fight in America, do you believe that those situations and issues have hurt your exposure?
Valero: I don't feel pressure to get my name out there and to have myself as a well-known fighter because I was not in the U.S. I just think that with my performance, if I perform well, then that will do the job.
That will get me included with the best of the best fighters in the sport and in the world.
FH: Do you need to show well-rounded boxing skills in this fight or simply be a pure knockout puncher to reach that next level of appreciation?
Valero: To start, I'm a fighter with skills, and I know how to box. To date, all of the fighters that I have been in the ring with have not pressed or challenge my ability to have to box.
They have all backed up basically, and so I've been able to do what I've needed to do, which is to knock them out. But when put to the test, everyone will see that I can surely box.
FH: What is your dream fight?
Valero: Manny Pacquiao is my dream fight. But I'm tired of asking for it. All of the true boxing fans would want to see that fight.
They can be sure to know that that fight would be explosive and there would surely be a lot of bloodshed.
FH: What do you want the boxing world -- promoters, trainers, fans, fighters -- to know about you?
Valero: To my boxing fans, I want to say don't forget to watch me on Feb. 6, because you're going to be very pleased and very happy.
I know that the true boxing fans will really enjoy the aggressive style that I have. I really don't have anything to say to the promoters, except that I want them to be watching me on Feb. 6.
I want the promoters to be watching what I do because they're going to see my style of fighting and what a quality fighter that I am.
And, I'm willing and ready to accept any matchup that they have. Just talk to my promoter and we can get it done.