Dougie’s Friday Mailbag
Edwin Valero looks ripped and ready for his showdown with dangerous veteran Antonio Pitalua Saturday at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. Many believers and many skeptics will be watching to see if the Venezuelan KO artist is “the truth” or pure hype. Photo / Chris Farina-Top Rank
FIRST DISTANCE BOUT FOR VALERO?
I’ve never seen Antonio Pitalua except for his impressive highlights against Jose Armando Santa Cruz. However, a quick glance at his boxrec page indicates to me that he is by far the toughest opponent for Edwin Valero since Vicente Mosquera. In assessing Pitalua’s record, I’ll toss out his lone KO loss since it happened in ’95. The two “recent” losses were from 2001 (a split decision) and 2000 (a close UD loss to undefeated German-based Artur Grigorian in Germany ). On paper, he looks real toughÔÇª Except he’s 39-years old. While Valero doesn’t appear to have regained his sharpshooter form since prior to his medical suspension, I’ll still bet on Valero taking out the old man pretty quickly. Or do you see it going to decision for the first time in Valero’s career?
Great article on the Manny Pacquiao gym wars with Urbano Antillon. I particularly liked the ringside quote you got – “You’re not that big yet, Manny” rebuke from Antillon when Pacquiao tried to muscle him aside. Looking forward to reading if Mike Alvarado’s wrestling background can emulate the kind of grappling that Pacquiao will likely face with Hatton.
SighÔÇª I’m going to miss all the fights this weekend. Got some b-day party to go toÔÇª I know, I know, what kind of a fight fan am I? — JL, San Diego
Hey, this is why Tivo/DVR was invented. Try to have fun at the party.
Just know that you’ll be missing the fight of the year, LOL!
Seriously, if you judge how good a fight might be by the fighters’ physiques at the weighin then you should be excited about Valero-Pitalua. Both lightweights looked ripped and ready. Valero weighed in at 134 and half pounds. Pitalua weighed 135 pounds on the nose. He doesn’t have the body of a 39-year-old fighter. I’m really looking forward to calling the action of this fight.
As for where the Colombian ranks among Valero’s opponents, I would say that Pitalua, on paper, is probably the second toughest opponent “my son” has ever faced. For now, I’ll still rate Mosquera as the best because the Panamanian, who is currently serving time for murder in his native country, was just as tough as Pitalua but had more natural talent and was a more versatile boxer.
However, Pitalua is hands down the toughest hombre Valero has faced since he won his first world title in August of 2006. He’s naturally bigger than Valero having fought effectively as heavy as 146 pounds. He can take a good shot. He can obviously punch. I’ve seen a few of his fights and he’s a crafty old badass. Valero has his work cut out for him. He’ll have to watch that looping right hand. However, I think Valero’s talent and underrated footwork will eventually win out in what should be a good action fight. I don’t think it will go the distance but I think it will go past the opening rounds.
I’m glad you liked the piece on Pacquiao and Antillon’s first sparring session of this training camp. There are more to come. I’ll definitely do a similar feature on one of Pacquiao’s sessions with Mike Alvarado. The Colorado native — who has drastically improved over the past 18 months — should give PacMan some quality rounds.
VALERO IS UNBELIEVABLE!
i just watched training footage of valero and all i could think is WOW. i watched hatton and pacquiao hit the heavy bag before….. valero hits WAY harder than them…. if valero has 10/10 power hatton and pacquiao are around a 3 or 4. i think valero hits about as hard as a middleweight from watching these training clips.
is he being pressured by venezeula to represent chavez the way he does? its a little over the top for me…. i dont think boxing and politics mix. i love politics but i dont want to think about that when i watch boxing…. unfortunately i cant look at his chest…
i also think he has faster handspeed than pac and hatton, meaning he throws one punch faster than they do but definitely pacqiuao throws more fluid faster combinations.
conclusions: valero would decapitate hatton in brutal brutal brutal fashion.
he would KO pacquiao, or go down and get knocked out himself in a fight of the year against manny.
i think he has the p4p hardest punch I’ve ever seen. (been watching boxing around 5 or 6 years).
also, is there anybody you would favour to beat valero?
bring some valero footage to the ring, dougie!!!! — Matt in Canada
Have you checked out the excellent training/interview that Daniel Morales and Jaime Cervantes produced for RingTV.com? It a long video (over 14 minutes) but it’s worth watching.
I don’t know if Valero is definitely THE hardest puncher in the sport, pound for pound, but I think he’s one of the heaviest hitters in the game along with David Haye, Vic Darchinyan and Vitali Klitschko.
I agree that he hits harder than Hatton and Pacquiao, I don’t know if he beats both of those veterans. Because of his power, athleticism, conditioning, heart, and hunger I won’t count Valero out against anyone, but if were to fight Pacquiao this year or next, I would favor the Filipino icon.
Of course, Valero could look spectacular Saturday night and continue to improve over his next two or three fights. If begins to show us more than just power, if he shows us speed (and you are absolutely correct that he’s got quick mitts), footwork, head and upper-body movement, and combination punching, I won’t pick anyone to beat him.
As for Valero’s support of Hugo Chavez, nobody is twisting his arm to do that. He voted for Chavez, he admires the man, and he’s fiercely patriotic when it comes to his native country. I don’t mind if a professional athlete is politically minded. It’s a refreshing change from all the corporate hoars that populate the popular team sports in the U.S. As long as Valero doesn’t start preaching and lecturing at boxing events about his personal political views, I’m fine with his strong identification with the controversial Venezuelan leader.
JULIO CESAR CHAVEZ JR.
Finally someone feels the same way I do!!!! As much as I hate to say it, Julio Chavez Jr. is highly overrated, mostly due to the name. Even Oscar De La Hoya, as faded as he is, continues to have a style that surpasses Junior's skills. Oscar has a bit more speed, more power, but most importantly boxing technique. I think he can easily give Julio a well needed boxing lesson. I don’t even want to go into the damage Manny Pacquiao or Alfredo Angulo can cause. I understand Julio was a late bloomer to the art of boxing, but these calculated fights they throw at him are supposed to be easy, not “threatening” to his undefeated record as they have been. I'd still like to see a Chavez vs De La Hoya, or even an unlikely Victor Ortiz vs Chavez. Angulo is a more ferocious Margarito, he's the guy to keep an eye out for.
Thanks for a very “needed to be said” article. — Carlos Sandoval, Tacoma, WA
You are most welcome. That’s my job. The post-fight column pissed off a few diehard Chavez fans, which goes to show what Junior’s real strength is: the loyalty many Mexican fans have to that last name of his. But I thought I was even-handed in my analysis of the 23-year-old pro. I pointed out all of the things he does well, and he is solid in many categories, but I also took a look at areas where he’s weak.
Because of these areas, I wouldn’t give him a shot against prospects like Angulo, Deandre Latimore or Vanes Martirosyan. Although Victor Ortiz is a 140-pound fighter and Chavez Jr. is a 6-foot junior middleweight, I would favor “Vicious” if they ever met at a catch weight (which is not a bad idea, come to think of it; I bet you Bob Arum could sell it and the hall-of-fame promoter would probably be into the match in hopes that Junior gains a measure of revenge for the manner in which Ortiz jumped ship to Top Rank).
YOU & K9
I was just reading ur response to Javier in the mailbag.
It didn’t surprise me what u said about K9, it did surprise me that u said it though. I always had the feeling that Steve Kim was a bit of an abrasive personality, I remember one of the last episodes of TNR u did with him and he went on this rant about how the fans should just stick to watching fights and never mind the business side of boxing because we don’t know anything and we don't know that we don’t know and we wouldn’t know even if we knew that we didn’t know ÔÇªwho knows. I just remember watching that and thinking to myself “this guy thinks he’s god because he knows more about boxing business than the fans”
Quick, Tim Bradley-Kendall Holt who wins? — Steve, Montreal
Aw hell man, that 140-pound showdown is a tough fight to pick. I think it all depends on how Holt fights. He can stink it out and win a safe but boring decision if he wants to just by utilizing a quick jab and a lot of movement. If he steps to Bradley, we could be in for a good fight. I see Bradley winning a shootout, provided his chin is solid enough to take a direct shot from Holt (and I think it is).
As for Steve Kim. One of his favorite sayings is “It is what it is” and that can be applied to his personality. He is who he is. He’s honest with himself and others. He’s not going to pretend to like people he doesn’t really like or know, he’s not going to try to protect someone feelings if he believes they are wrong about something, and he’s not one to waste time with friendly chit chat. Like I said last week, that attitude rubs a lot of people — both fans and industry folks — the wrong way. I’m not one of those people who take it personally, however. I’ve always respected Steve’s knowledge of the business, sport and craft of boxing. Even though I occasionally disagree with him and sometimes I think he’s a bit harsh, I know he’s calling it like he sees it. You gotta respect that because at least the man isn’t going to lie to you. And, of course, after years of traveling together to fights (literally hundreds of cards across the U.S.) I became friends with ole K9. That hasn’t changed since I moved to RingTV.com. I keep getting emails from fans and boxing people asking me if we are “still cool”. Yeah, we are. We just don’t hang out as much because we work for different companies now.
Hey, it is what it is.
RESPONSE TO CHAVEZÔÇª
I just finished reading your article on Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. I totally disagree with some of the stuff you said. As much as I hate to, I agree with you on some stuff. Chavez vs Pacman, probably won't happen. Another person that he can take on right now is Andre Berto, moving down to welterweight won't be a problem for Chavez. Chavez is young with no amateur experience, keep that in mind, but it won't be used as an excuse for ever. The time will come for him to grow up, and carry a whole country on his back like his father did for many, many years. He's a good balanced fighter. Not great, but better than average. I completely disagree with you saying that he's as good as he's going to get. Chavez Jr. is showing improvement every fight, and you can see that he has a game plan when he steps into the ring, kind of like dad but different style. Junior is in love with that hook to the body, wait till he discovers the jab and starts mixing in his punches better. He'll fight you from the inside or outside. J.C Chavez is a big name, of course Junior is going to be in the spot light. Naturally a lot is expected from him. I just takes some longer to get there, sooner or later he will make his way to the top of the boxing world and leave his mark on the sport. La legenda continua… — Ricardo
OK, Ricardo. If you say so. I didn’t say the kids sucks ass, but I stand by my observation that he hasn’t improved much over the past 18 months. I don’t think his style or skill has advanced since I watched him fight Ray Sanchez III in New Mexico, December of 2007. I agree he’s got a hell of a hook to the body, and I think he’s got a good jab when he uses it. However, he often neglects the jab. And although he can fight outside and inside, he too often elects to fight on the inside and makes fights tougher than they should be.
If you think he can take Andre Berto, God Bless you. Who knows? Maybe, due to the size difference and Berto’s questionable whiskers, you’re right. I believe Junior would have trouble with Berto’s speed, footwork and athleticism. I’m pretty sure Lou DiBella would shy away from making that fight for his welterweight star.
First and foremost, it was a pleasure to meet you in Houston last month. (I was the tallish white dude from South Florida who was hanging with Darryl, Kirk, and Kim’s crew) You probably don’t see many 25 year old, white fans anymore (LOL), so I probably stood out. Look forward to catching up with you fellas in Vegas next month.
I just wanted to thank you for the Monday mailbag this week, specifically the last entry. You put my thoughts to prose, in a way far better than I could. I have nothing more to add, but just felt compelled to write today for the first time in the 10 or so years I’ve been reading the mailbag.
I’m a Tony Margarito fan (obviously being 25, I’ve kind of grown up with him as “my” fighter) so this has been a tough couple of months. I’m just happy you decided to publish a different take than what most have written over this difficult time. But that has been your hallmark, so I shouldn’t be surprised. I’m sure I’ll be in the minority by thanking you for this one, but f__k it, keep doing it your way. — Matt
I will Matt, and thanks for writing in for the first time. I may not be as caustic as my old MaxBoxing cohort can be at times, but I call ’em like I see ’em, just like he does, and I’m not afraid to go against the grain.
I’m also totally cool with anybody disagreeing with my views. I just hope those that do understand that I’m telling “the truth” as I know it.
Dougie can be reached at [email protected]