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Edwin Valero vs. Antonio DeMarco: Head to head

05
Feb

EDWIN VALERO vs. ANTONIO DEMARCO

When: Saturday, Feb. 6

Where: Monterrey, Mexico

TV: Showtime, 9 pm. PT/ ET



Weight: Lightweight (135 pounds)

VALERO

The essentials

Age: 28

Height / Reach: 5-7¾ (171cm) / 69 (175cm)

Hometown: Merida, Venezuela

Turned pro: 2002

Record: 26-0 (26 knockouts)

Stance: Southpaw

Trainer: Mario Morales

Fight-by-fight: http://boxrec.com/list_bouts.php?human_id=122183&cat=boxer

The Ring rating: No. 1 lightweight

Titles: Junior Lightweight (2006-2009; four successful defenses), Lightweight (2009-present; one successful defense).

Biggest victories: Vicente Mosquera, Aug. 5, 2006, TKO 10 (wins junior lightweight title); Antonio Pitalua, April 4, 2009, TKO 2 (wins lightweight title); Hector Velasquez, Dec. 19, 2009, TKO 7 (most-recent fight).

Losses/draws: None.

DEMARCO

The essentials

Age: 24

Height / reach: 5-10 (178cm) / 72 (183cm)

Hometown: Tijuana, Mexico (from Los Mochis, Mexico)

Turned pro: 2004

Record: 23-1-1 (17 knockouts)

Stance: Southpaw

Trainer: Romulo Quirarte Sr.

Fight-by-fight: http://boxrec.com/list_bouts.php?human_id=260221&cat=boxer

The Ring rating: No. 9 lightweight

Titles: None.

Biggest victories: Almazbek Raiymkulov, Feb. 7, 2009, TKO 9; Anges Adjaho, July 11, 2009, KO 9 (title eliminator); Jose Alfaro, Oct. 31, 2009, TKO 10 (interim title).

Loss / draw: Anthony Vazquez, Feb. 4, 2006, MD 6 (loss); Curtis Meeks, Oct. 6, 2006, MD 6 (draw).

HEAD TO HEAD

Skills: Valero has more boxing skill than he’s given credit for but he’s a puncher by nature and an impetuous sort who is prone to rushing his opponents, often putting his power before his technique. DeMarco, on the other hand, is a technician by definition. The 5-foot-10 boxer has a classic stand-up style but from a southpaw stance. The just-turned 24 year old has good hand and foot placement, solid balance, decent counter-punching ability, and he can make use of lateral movement when he needs to. DeMarco is an aggressive boxer who utilizes every punch in the book but he gradually imposes himself on his opponents after a careful start.
Edge: DeMarco

Power: Well, this category is a no-brainer. Valero might be the hardest puncher pound for pound in the sport. While it’s true that the 18 consecutive first-round knockouts Valero scored to begin his career didn’t come against world-beaters, he has stopped eight opponents who had never been knocked out prior to facing him, including RING-ranked 130-pound beltholder Mosquera and Japanese veterans Nobuhito Honmo and Takehiro Shimada. Valero’s early stoppages of Roque Cassiani and Pitalua, two Colombians known for their durability, are especially impressive because the fights were essentially ended by single punches. DeMarco has decent pop to his shots, as evidenced by his good KO ratio, but he generally wears his opponents down to late stoppages with pressure and combination punching.
Edge: Valero

Speed and athletic ability: Again, this category is not hard to figure out. While DeMarco has the edge in technique and boxing patience, Valero is clearly the more dynamic of the two lightweights. The Venezuelan is more explosive, stronger and faster, with better hand-eye coordination.
Edge: Valero

Defense: This category also is obvious. DeMarco actually tries to avoid punches. Valero doesn’t. He’s too preoccupied with trying to decapitate his opponent. This doesn’t mean that Valero is a punching bag. The old adage that a good offense is a good defense holds true for Valero. He often lunges forward with his chin in the air but he is seldom hit with clean punches because his opponents are more concerned about their own safety. However, DeMarco blocks punches, leans away from in-coming shots well and makes use of footwork to avoid getting hit.
Edge: DeMarco

Experience: This category is a toss-up. Valero has been a pro longer and a titleholder since 2006 but his knockout streak has limited the number of rounds he’s fought. DeMarco, who is four years younger, turned pro two years after Valero did but he’s logged more pro rounds. However, Valero’s opposition is slightly better than that of DeMarco, who has faced a few solid fringe contenders (Raiymkulov, Adjaho and Alfaro) but never anyone who was ranked by THE RING. Valero has fought two fighters who were ranked by THE RING (Mosquera, who was the No. 4 junior lightweight, and Pitalua, the No. 5 lightweight at the time). Valero’s 130-pound title defenses against Japanese challengers Shimada and Honmo are often overlooked by American fans but it should be noted that both fighters were seasoned vets with skill and heart.
Edge: Valero

Chin: Neither has been stopped in the pros, but Valero was dropped in the third round of the Mosquera fight. DeMarco has never fought a puncher like Valero but it’s safe to say that his chin has been tested a little more than Valero’s.
Edge: DeMarco

Conditioning: Both fighters claim to train to fight the distance in every bout, but only the younger man has actually heard the final bell for a 10-round fight (twice). DeMarco once fought into the 10th round of a 12-round bout (vs. Alfaro in his last fight). Valero has only fought past eight rounds on one occasion (his 10th-round TKO of Mosquera). On the few occasions he’s fought past three rounds, his mouth was wide open as he appeared to slow down by the middle rounds.
Edge: DeMarco

Wear and tear: Although Valero’s fight with Mosquera was a vicious slugfest he hasn’t really taken a beating in any of other bout. DeMarco had a tough 10-round battle with fellow prospect Nick Casal in his Showtime debut in 2007 but he’s never absorbed any extended punishment, either.
Edge: Even

Corner: Valero has had three veteran trainers teach him at different points of his career, Joe Hernandez, Ken Adams and (briefly) Roberto Alcazar. Those trainers are not with him now. Valero is currently trained by unheralded Mario Morales. DeMarco is trained by one of Mexico’s best, Romulo Quirarte Sr., a veteran who has worked with former champs Julio Cesar Chavez, Jorge Paez, Jose Luis Castillo, Yory Boy Campas and DeMarco’s father-in-law, Raul Perez. Quirarte’s son, Bobby, DeMarco’s assistant trainer, trains 130-pound titleholder Humberto Soto.
Edge: DeMarco

Outcome: DeMarco, who was still viewed as a prospect in 2008, advanced by leaps and bounds last year and the just-turned 24-year-old feels ready for the toughest challenge of his career. The Mexican will box Valero carefully but confidently in the opening round of the bout, jabbing from a distance while stepping to his right (away from Valero’s powerful left). Valero will be confident to see what his young challenger has to offer. Starting with the second round Valero will step to DeMarco, shooting a straight left to the body in hopes of setting up a right hook to the lanky fighter’s head but the challenger will be ready to counter him as he gets near. Once DeMarco connects cleanly, the fight will be on. In Rounds 3 and 4, Valero will try to test his opponent’s physical strength with constant pressure while DeMarco alternates lateral movement with quick counter-combinations that occasionally open him up to Valero’s left to the body and sweeping right hook. To Valero’s surprise, DeMarco will wobble when hit but he will not fall, and the Los Mochis native will give the Mexican crowd a reason to cheer when he buzzes Valero in return and reopens a cut over the Venezuelan’s eye that was suffered in his last bout. The blood will not bother Valero but it will spur on DeMarco, who will abandon his counter punching and stick-and-move strategy and take the fight to the feared puncher. The two will engage in heated exchanges and grapple a little on the inside in the middle rounds of the bout, which will thrill the audience but gradually wear down both fighters. Valero will slow down but continue to fire straight lefts to the body and head of DeMarco, whose hands will come down as he begins to retreat to the ropes as the two enter the later rounds. Valero will look sloppy lobbing lefts to DeMarco's head, body and arms as the game challenger tries to fight off the ropes but he will land hard shots and his power punches will eventually bring the proud Mexican down.

Prediction: Valero by late stoppage.

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