Edwin Valero to Face 140-pound Lamont Peterson
The 28-year-old Valero is coming off of a Feb. 6, 10th-round knockout of Antonio DeMarco (23-2-1, 17 KOs) of Mexico, raising his mark to 27-0 with his 27th knockout. The 5-foot-7 Valero has stopped 19 of his rivals in the first round -- including the first 18 of his career.
Against the 5-foot-10 DeMarco, Valero displayed a variety of boxing skills, defense, and an ability to move in behind a jab and set up his power shots.
Valero also demonstrated the resolution to overcome a cut below his right eye on the cheekbone in the first round, along with a deep gash over his right forehead that resulted from a second-round elbow shot from DeMarco that also caused a laceration on that same eyelid.
"I think that this will be another real test for Valero at 140 pounds, which will be a new area for him," said Arum.
The 26-year-old Peterson (27-1, 13 KOs) is coming off of December's unanimous decision loss to WBO junior welterweight (140 pounds) king, Timothy Bradley (25-0, 11 KOs), with whom Valero also had been considering a potential bout.
"As far as Peterson is concerned, it's a high profile fight that gets him back into the mix after the loss to Bradley. This is because he lost in the ring, but he didn't lose in the court of public opinion," said Arum. "Lamont Peterson fought a very courageous, gutty fight, it's just that the guy, on that night, was better than he was."
With Valero moving up to face Peterson, 29-year-old Humberto Soto (50-7-2, 32 KOs) of Tijuana, Mex., and 33-year-old David Diaz (35-2-1, 17 KOs) will meet in a clash of former world champions for Valero's vacated lightweight belt on the undercard of the March 13 WBO welterweight (147 pounds) clash pitting seven-division titlist, Manny Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 KOs) and Joshua Clottey (35-3, 20 KOs) at The Dallas Cowboys' Stadium.
Valero, however, is being called, "a champion in recess," by the WBC, "which is allowing him to test the waters, so to speak," said Arum. Valero still could be considered for an immediate title shot with whomever the WBC titlist is, should he decide to return to 135 pounds.
In accordance with WBC rules, "champion in recess" can retain the belt while he has a nontitle fight or fights. Meanwhile, an "interim" championship fight between two other contenders can be held in the champion's absence.
If the "champion in recess" decides to come back and continue as champion, he has to fight the interim champion to determine the "undisputed" champion of the weight division.
Arum said that he is working on potential dates and networks -- either HBO or Showtime -- for Valero-Peterson.
"We don't know how Valero can handle a really good boxer like Peterson, and we don't know if Valero can handle the extra weight," said Arum. "And as far as Peterson is concerned, you just look at a picture of Valero, and if it was me, I wouldn't be going within a hundred feet of him. He looks terrifying."
Two issues that still need to be resolved for Valero (pictured at right).
One stems from a DUI last May, which resulted in the champion's being denied a U.S. visa pending the successful completion of an alcohol education program.
The other is the stigma from brain surgery Valero received as the result of a 2001 motorcycle accident that caused a blood clot later revealed during an MRI.
Cleared to fight by a Venezuelan doctor following successful surgery that removed the clot, Valero still was placed on indefinite medical suspension by the New York State Athletic and later banned by most athletic associations which supported the NYSAC's move.
"Valero's MRI is completely clean now, and as far as the Visa, we'll have to talk to the Washington, D.C., commission," said Arum.