It was a fallacy to think lightweight sensation Edwin Valero was a one-dimensional puncher, which isn’t the same as saying he’s a master craftsman in the ring. But he showed off every skill he has Saturday on Showtime in beating up young Antonio DeMarco and forcing his corner to call a halt to it at the conclusion of the 9th round.
It’s the punching power that always stands out in Valero’s game, but what caught my eye was his exceptional defense. I’d said before the fight that Valero looks vulnerable and wild at times, but I also noted that he’s really good at controlling distance and has nice reflexes on D. If Valero fights like this every time out — and there’s no guarantee he does, because even he acknowledged this was his best performance — I go from being dubious that any lightweight in the world beats him to damn-near certain.
A recap of the fight, followed by a continually-updating list of other Saturday night results:
EDWIN VALERO-ANTONIO DEMARCO
Early on, it looked like the unlikeliest of results — a Valero win by decision — was the most feasible outcome. Valero was boxing smartly, and DeMarco wasn’t getting off. But DeMarco also was taking Valero’s punches well, and Valero was being patient in seeking out his opportunities. If DeMarco was to lose, at least he’d have the honor of being the one who stopped Valero’s career-long knockout streak at 26.
It wasn’t to be. The only round I had DeMarco winning was the 2nd, but he was deducted a point under the WBC’s idiotic accidental foul rule, as DeMarco opened up a big gash on Valero’s head because of an elbow. Valero, though, has fought through nasty cuts before, a trait that remains rare in the sport. DeMarco worked his jab well in that round and slugged out Valero’s mouthpiece at one point.
But there wasn’t much else for DeMarco. There was the jab connecting periodically, and there were a couple right hands in the 6th that had Valero tying up, and there was the occasional overhand left. And Valero looked the worse for wear of the two, with a bloody nose and two cuts around his right eye caused by punches. The rest of the time it was all Valero. He would step in, force DeMarco back on his heels, connect with some straight lefts or left hooks, maybe even flurry with both hands, and then be out of range by the time DeMarco mounted return fire. His footwork was really quite beautiful. His punches weren’t as sloppy as usual.
By the end of the 8th, with Valero increasingly stepping up his attack and DeMarco trying to do the same to no avail, DeMarco looked completely dispirited. He didn’t answer when his trainer asked him several times if he wanted to continue, but he did say he was OK. He took another beating in the 9th and that’s when his corner stopped it.
DeMarco has nothing to be ashamed of — he just got beaten by a better fighter. Maybe he made the mistake of “fighting small” and bending down rather than taking advantage of his height, but I don’t think it would have made a difference. At just 24, I bet he’ll bounce back just fine and the corner’s wise stoppage kept him from taking unnecessary punishment. He was clearly losing, even without the benefit of knowing as such because of the WBC’s stupid open scoring (and even though Showtime’s panel of journalists scoring the fight had a terrible night, thinking this fight and the undercard fight were so damn close).
Valero’s time, though, is now. If he can keep his nose clean outside the ring, given his troubles in that regard, and stay consistent — like I said, he is too good for this crop of lightweights. The Venezuelan is an exciting and talented fighter, and it would be great to see him on Showtime and HBO more often. If he feels like sticking around lightweight, he can make entertaining fights with the likes of Ali Funeka and Michael Katsidis. If he feels like moving up to junior welterweight, I salivate at the idea of him taking on Marcos Maidana in a power-punchfest.
- On the Showtime undercard, welterweights Carlos Abregu and Richard Gutierrez waged an entertaining fight that Abregu won by 10-round unanimous decision. Abregu is just a drama machine. He suffered a knockdown in the 2nd, then scored a return knockdown in the 3rd. It seems like every fight he’s in trouble then rallying. Abregu largely controlled the fight by using his height and landing a lot of thudding right hooks around Gutierrez’ gloves, but Gutierrez had his moments with his right hook. Abregu showed some small signs of improvement, like with his defense, movement and combination punching, but he’s still not convincing as a top 10-worthy welter. Who gives a damn, though? Just put him on TV and wait for something crazy to happen. One more note: The judges accurately scored it by a convincing margin for Abregu, but the open scoring system meant Abregu knew he was far ahead and as such largely ran away from Gutierrez for the last two rounds. Open scoring must die.
- In New Jersey on a card broadcast in the United States via GoFightLive, Tomasz Adamek defeated Jason Estrada by 12-round unanimous decision in his second appearance as a heavyweight. I think Estrada might be better than people think, but I do wonder how Adamek’s defeat of Estrada compared to Alexander Povetkin’s. Adamek is in line for an April 24 fight against Chris Arreola in what would be a big step up in the division, and how his struggles with Estrada compared to Povetkin’s could be informative. TQBR contributor Scott Kraus will give us the details on this card, he tells me, as he planned to attend live. But if you want to risk getting a computer virus, you can read BoxingScene’s account here to hold you over.
- On the undercard of Adamek-Estrada, super middleweight prospect Peter Quillin won a wide but reportedly boring decision over Fernando Zuniga. Again, I expect SK to give us a full account, but here is FightNews’ brief recounting.
- Over on Fox Sports, Brandon Rios won the duel of lightweight prospects by reportedly pouncing on Jorge Teron and stopping him in the 3rd round. Also, junior featherweight Tomas Villa won by disqualification over Juan Ruiz in the 10th and final round for some strange-sounding reason, per the link above.
- In a rematch, flyweight Daiki Kameda outpointed Denkaosen Koawichit to take his strap. Jorge Solis had a successful move up to junior lightweight, recovering from a 3rd round knockdown to stop Likar Ramos in the 7th and take an interim title belt. One long KO streak ended Saturday. Canadian middleweight prospect David Lemieux didn’t get a knockout in his 21st fight, but he rather dominated Jason Naugler on the scorecards — 100-89 on all three.