Edwin Valero
By Steve Kim, MaxBoxing (April 19, 2010) Special to Doghouse Boxing (Photo © German Villasenor)  
Like everyone else that follows boxing, I was hit with the disturbing news on Sunday morning that WBC lightweight champion Edwin Valero had allegedly stabbed his wife to death in his home country of Venezuela. I’m shocked but, then again, I’m not all that shocked. Valero’s life was turbulent, to say the least, and you just had a feeling it wasn’t going to end well. But I didn’t think the downfall would be to this extreme.

I remember getting introduced to a young Valero in the summer of 2004 by Joe Hernandez, who believed this young, dynamic, raw puncher had a chance to be a champion. I certainly didn’t follow him to the degree that my then-Max-colleague Doug Fischer did, but I enjoyed a friendly and cordial relationship with him, since that point. To him, I was that Asian guy who worked with the pony-tailed fellow who always interviewed him.

My last real interaction came with Valero the night before Manny Pacquiao faced Oscar De La Hoya on December 5th, 2008, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. He was with my friend Ray Alcorta of Top Rank, who had actually promoted some shows in Maywood, California, where Valero made his American debut, and was still pretty close with him. I was invited by them to have dinner at the Studio Cafe at the MGM Grand. We were with a group of about six or seven people, with Valero, Alcorta and me at the very end of the table. Valero speaks very little English, but I asked him through Alcorta, who he thought was going to win the next night. Very few pundits believed that the “Pac-Man” could topple De La Hoya going into that contest.

Valero calmly explained- to the shock of Alcorta- that this was an easy fight for Pacquiao and that he would be wagering big on him. He said during his time in camp as a sparring partner for Oscar in Big Bear, he could not miss him with his left-hand. And that, while he felt his left had more jolt than Pacquiao’s, the Filipino was much faster and quicker with his. He believed that Pacquiao would not be able to miss with that weapon. He also clarified something that was brought up in that “24/7” for that promotion, it was he, not Victor Ortiz, that blackened De La Hoya’s eyes during sparring. But because he was not a Golden Boy fighter, he wasn’t given credit for it and he was soon jettisoned from that camp. Something he had harsh feelings about.

He turned out to be a prophet, as Pacquiao - based largely on the utilization of his left hand- was able to dominate De La Hoya and stopped him after eight one-sided innings. I believe that was also the night when he was busted for a DUI on the strip.

Unfortunately for Valero, it seemed to be just the beginning of his problems.

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