Monday, August 08, 2022  |

News

Dougie’s MASSIVE Monday mailbag

07
Feb

FAR FROM FLAWLESS

Hi Dougie,
It's funny – you mentioned bad luck for Valero in your column – I was thinking the same thing in the second round. Just when he was falling into his rhythm, that elbow could have really turned things around for him.

On the other hand, you can't exactly say it's all bad luck. Splitting up with a disciplined trainer, drinking and driving, and getting a humongous Hugo Chavez tat smack in the middle of your chest are not exactly examples of model decision making – even among the pro boxing demographic. Although I can't argue with his taste in women.

I guess what I am trying to say is that he does control his own luck to a degree. If there is one thing he could focus on to improve, what do you think it is? And do you think it will actually happen? I just wonder what his potential truly is, and how much is Edwin himself responsible for not reaching it.

And what happened to his power? DeMarco is clearly a badass despite the loss – but is it possible Valero didn't leave some of it at the lower weight? — B (NYC)

I think Valero’s power was there, but he was facing a very motivated challenger (who I believe was willing to die in pursuit of his lifelong goal), who has a world-class chin, good hand placement (to block certain punches) and was just tall enough to prevent Valero from following up his overhand left with a right-hook finisher. This is just a theory but I think if DeMarco were three inches shorter, Valero could have zeroed in on his chin (instead of the right side of his head) with a straight left followed by a right hook on the jaw, which would have at least produced a knockdown in not a KO. But that’s all speculation.

What I learned from Saturday’s fight is that DeMarco has even more character and toughness than I thought he did (and I considered the young man to be a stud going into the fight), and Valero has the ability to create distance and switch to volume punching when his opponent has crazy durability and a strong will to win. My hat is off to both fighters.

Regarding Valero’s bad luck, you are absolutely right. Outside of the ring, he is his own worst enemy. His stubborn and impetuous nature often bites him in the ass.

If there is one thing I think he can focus on to improve it’s his attitude in the gym. Few fighters train harder and more intense than Valero, but he wants to dictate to his trainer what they should do and that’s not the way it’s supposed to be. Manny Pacquiao improved as a fighter because he humbled himself in the gym and allowed Freddie Roach to teach him. Valero needs to bring in a seasoned, proven veteran coach and allow that trainer to teach him.

If he does that, I think he has pound-for-pound potential. If he continues to act his own trainer, I think his talent and balls will take him to the top of the lightweight division, but not far beyond.

I LOVE VALERO

I love your son. He showed guts and skill. He looked great. I would pay to watch him. I think his defensive flaws will be his undoing as he fights better guys like Tim Bradley.

Strengths:
– Power
– Combination Punching
– Hand Speed
– Foot Speed
– Guts

Weakness:
– Keeps Head High – Love how he was rolling Demarco's left hand
– Needs to Commit to the Jab
– Needs to Work Body More

— Big Swa

I agree that he needs to tuck his chin and work the body more. I honestly believe that if he was training with Ken Adams we wouldn’t see that head in the air as much when he throws punches, and we would see more hard shots to the midsection when he’s in with fighters with solid whiskers.

However, I thought he was working his jab quite well against DeMarco. It’s not easy to have a consistent jab against a taller, rangier opponent who’s got a nice jab of his own. According to CompuBox statistics, Valero (the shorter man by four inches) out-jabbed DeMarco, landing 87 to the Mexican’s 47.

I agree that his defensive flaws will ultimately cost him but I think it says something about Valero that most fans and boxing writers agree that it will take an elite fighter (which I believe Bradley is) to exploit them.

BIG BOXING WEEKEND

Hey Doug,
Just a few quick things:

1. Glen Johnson once again refuses to let his age or a recent loss push him out of boxing. His stoppage of Yusaf Mack was quite impressive and he set himself up for another big fight. Good for him.

2. It may be too early to say definitively how Tomasz Adamek will fare as a heavyweight. All I know is, I’ll be watching.

3. And speaking of fighters we'll be watching, I have one question. To all those who say boxing is dead; to those who say boxing is boring; to those who say MMA is so much better than boxingÔǪ Can you REALLY tell me that you don’t wanna see Edwin Valero every time he steps in the ring?

Thanks. — Jesse, New Jersey

Thank you for writing in. I’ll respond to your comments/questions in order:

1. I expected the “old man” to beat Mack (even though I was pulling for the young gun) because the Philly native just doesn’t seem able to deal with hard pressure and we all know that’s Johnson’s forte. However, the three knockdowns and mid-rounds stoppage was indeed impressive. I think Johnson vs. Tavoris Cloud could be fight of the year candidate. We’ll see.

2. I can’t comment too much about Adamek’s performance against Estrada because I haven’t seen the fight yet. I watched the Showtime broadcast at a friend’s place (Dave Schwartz’s Rent-A-Wreck in Santa Monica, where two of my favorite peers — Steve Kim and Gabe Montoya of Maxboxing — were among other good folks). Dave had the Adamek fight on a computer in another room but it was on the exact same time Valero-DeMarco was underway and I wasn’t about to get up and miss a moment of “my son” in a tough fight to see a heavyweight contest. I’m going to get Adamek-Estrada on DVD tonight or Monday, so I’ll be able to comment on it by the time Friday’s mailbag rolls out. Anyway, I think Adamek’s pending clash with Chris Arreola will tell us all we need to know about the Pole’s potential in the heavyweight division.

3. Those who say boxing is dead aren’t paying attention to the TV schedule and are certainly unaware of the large crowd that paid to see Valero-DeMarco in Mexico (as well as the fight’s ratings on Televisa, the country’s largest network) and the legion of loyal Polish fans who will pay to see Adamek fight ANYBODY at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. Those who say boxing is boring have been watching too many Floyd Mayweather fights and have probably never seen a Valero or Adamek fight. Most MMA fans were too busy watching Randy Couture submit Mark Coleman in the main event of UFC 109 to give a rat’s ass about Edwin Valero. Hey, it’s their loss.

VALERO VS. SOTO

One word about Valero’s win over DeMarco: Wow.

Now I would love to see Valero vs. Humberto Soto. — Simon, Montreal

Me too.

If Valero can’t get his visa to enter the U.S. in a timely fashion I think that showdown is a natural to be made in Mexico. Hopefully, Showtime would be willing to return to Mexico to televise it live as they did Valero-DeMarco so the ‘V-nom’ vs. 'Zorrito' won’t have to be a Latin Fury PPV headliner.

Anyway, I think Valero-Soto would definitely have more two-way action than Valero-DeMarco did.

V'S POWER VS. D'S CHIN

Hey Doug,
I have always wanted to see a live Valero fight due to your writing about him. I must say he was very impressive. I know you see a lot of flaws but I saw a fighter who controlled DeMarco with his jab making him go to the ropes. He was able to step out of range when DeMarco tried to counter.

Now, DeMarco must have Margarito-like chin or Valero doesn’t hit as hard as I thought, but I'll let you answer that one. I was worried DeMarco would end up collapsing after the fight the way he looked going back to the corner. He looked like he had the flu beaten into him (he looked sick, man). I hope Valero gets licensed in Las Vegas and elsewhere there are some great fights to look forward to. — Rio

Oh man, Valero in Vegas. It can’t get any better than that. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that his visa and license issues can be resolved ASAP so that can become a reality before the year is out.

Regarding Valero’s power, I think DeMarco has an awesome chin and it was backed by an iron will. DeMarco was willing to die on Saturday night, which had be worried about his health as early as the sixth round. After the eighth round I was really scared for the young man, especially when he was rocking back and forth on his stool as if he were suffering from severe nausea and having trouble keeping his head up.

For the record, I think Valero’s power is just as good at lightweight as it was a junior lightweight, and I see WAY MORE talent and skill than I see flaws in his game.

YOUR SON

I thought he kicked DeMarco's ass but I am concerned with the number of punches he takes; do you think he can beat Pac-man?

Keep up the good work. — Omar/Sacramento

Valero really didn’t take that many clean shots (at least not compared to how many DeMarco was force fed), but I think it’s VERY premature to assess his chances versus the Pac-monster. The lightweight beltholder has had a single fight at 140 pounds, let alone welterweight where his dream match would have to take place. Right now that fight is still a dream.

And I think I agree with pretty much everyone else on the planet that, as good as he looked vs. DeMarco, the version of Valero that fought Saturday night would not beat Pacquiao. However, I must state that I believe that Valero rises to the level of his competition. For example, I think the version of Valero that beat Hector Velazquez in December would have lost to DeMarco, but that’s not the version that showed up on Saturday, is it?

I think Valero grew from the DeMarco fight and the more quality fighters he faces, the better he will become. I’ll put it another way, if Arum wants to make a Pacquiao-Valero showdown and ensure that his cash cow wins, he’ll make that fight sooner rather than later. If Arum waits until 2011 or 2012 to make that fight, I think there’s a very good chance that Valero will have grown and evolved into the kind of fighter than not only beats Pacquiao but KHTFO.

YOU CALLED IT

Hey Dougie,
Just finished watching Valero bludgeon DeMarco, it's amazing how uncanny you are in breaking down the fights. Your pre-fight outcome was exactly what happened, with cut and all…….. you're the man. I attached a drawing I did when I met you at Cotto's media day back in November. It was good to finally meet you in person. Keep up the great work! — Tyler

Thanks Tyler. You are the Edwin Valero of boxing artists! LOL.

And by the way, I’m not the man, Valero is the man (at lightweight, anyway).

The fight went the way I thought (and detailed in the “outcome” area of the Head to Head analysis) in terms of Valero suffering a cut, DeMarco hanging tough, and Valero scoring a late-rounds stoppage, but I thought it would be a more competitive fight. Valero exceeded my expectations because I actually envisioned that he would lose more than a few of the early rounds and eat more shots on his way in, but I only scored the second round for DeMarco and I thought he defended well against the taller sharp-shooter.

WOLVALERO-INE & THE ROAD WARRIOR

Dear Mr. Fischer,
What a weekend of solid fights! The Glenn Johnson match on ESPN was a thriller. The man is clearly starting to age, but also showed the moxie of a man who still wants to be champion. Johnson's in the caliber of guys like B-hop, Sugar Shane and JMM who prove a champ can overcome any obstacle, even that dreaded “age” problem.

On Valero, I swear that guy's adamantium skeleton was showing through that forehead cut. Is Valero Venezuela's boxing Wolverine? His recovery after that nasty gash hinted at a mutant healing factor. He may not have the claws, but he is a short guy with a killer instinct and a berserker rage! He also gets credit for taking multiple nasty cuts and still making his opponent to quit on the stool. So do we call him Valeroverine, Wolvalero or Wolvalerine? Cheers. — Enrique Fern├índez Roberts, Washington, DC

I like “Wolvalero” best. It’s funny that you bring up the ole mutant healing factor. Remember when Valero reportedly got into some kind of knife fight in a bar or club in Venezuela in the final days of August of 2007? The Venezuelan press reported on Aug. 30 that Valero had been slashed across his forehead and had been “disfigured.” Anyway, I’m in Las Vegas before the Joel Casamayor-Juan Manuel Marquez fight (a day or two before Sept. 13) and who do I spot walking around the MGM Grand? Valero! I asked him to lift his bangs so I can see the damage, he did, and there was nothing there. I asked him if the reports were false or if he just healed fast and all he did was wink.

By the way, I haven’t given Valero’s new trainer much in the way of props but Mario Morales did something with Valero’s cut that I’ve never seen before. He basically pasted some of Edwin’s bangs into the gash with a glob of Vasoline and think that helped stem the flow of blood as the fight wore on. As for the little cut just above his right eyelid, I think Valero’s healing factor took care of that.

I agree that we can include Johnson’s name among the other elite “older” boxers who don’t fight their age, such as Hopkins, Mosley and Marquez.

SHOW AND PROVE

Dougie,
Good weekend of fights. Thanks God we needed this.

On to your son…. In the 1st three/four rounds I thought Edwin Valero looked like a solid brawler. Nothing Special. DeMarco looked very relaxed & focused. But I still didn't think much of “Tony” regardless what all the internet “scribes” were saying about his style/technique/height. I mean he just graduated from Shobox recently. I thought Valero was too seasoned and well-traveled to lose.

Then something happened during the fight… not sure what it was but I'm guessing Valero noticed that DeMarco could take his punch and decided to beat him with volume. Now this Edwin “Dougie” Valero is a Force. Great footwork, different angles, head movement and an sneaky body attack eventually broke DeMarco down and out. Props to Antonio DeMarco for taking the fight and having a good showing but the tempo was too great for the young buck. I just think it was to soon for him. As soon as I saw Soto holding the belts before the fight I told myself “that's the man Valero should be fighting tonight.” Hopefully that comes to fruition.

Guillermo Rigondeaux is a breast. Look out 122 lbers.

WBC open scoring sucks. Keep that BS away from us. — Frankie from the Bronx

I agree. Abregu-Gutierrez would have been a barnburner for 10 rounds had the scorecards not been announced after the eighth round.

I also concur with your thoughts on Rigondeaux. He’s wasting his time (and his trainer Freddie Roach’s — I can’t believe he flew all the way to Miami for a fight that lasted less than half a minute) — fighting inferior opponents like he faced on Friday. I’d like to see him take on one of the 122-pound titleholders within his next three or four fights. If he could get a shot at the winner of Marvin Sonsona-Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. (Feb. 27 for the vacant WBO belt), I think Rigondeaux could go for a belt in his very next fight.

I think DeMarco is better than you think he is. Valero just didn’t allow the kid to get started. However, he was tough, sharp and game enough to force Valero to show more than power. He only does that when he has to. He did against Mosquera beginning in the middle rounds of that dog fight. He didn’t rush in vs. Antonio Pitalua (at least not until he dropped the hard-punching Colombian). And Valero took his time with DeMarco, even though he still averaged more than 93.2 punches a round, according to CompuBox.

I think Valero was significantly less than dynamic early in the fight because he needed the first four rounds to figure out DeMarco’s style. He began to impose his timing and athleticism on the Mexican in the fifth, and I thought he outclassed and outmaneuvered DeMarco in rounds six and seven before he really started to put a beating on the poor courageous kid in rounds eight and nine.

IS VALERO BOXING'S KIMBO?

Pretty nice weekend featuring some decent scraps.

I'll admit I thought Glen Johnson had lost more than a step or two and thought Mack would outpoint him. Johnson proved once again that he is a resilient bad-ass, while Mack proved once again that he's a front runner and once he gets hurt things go downhill from there.

On to DeMarco-Valero:

Valero won just about every round and dished out a pretty consistent beating. This was all the more impressive when one takes into account the nasty cut he had to overcome.

That being said, I have to admit I walked away somewhat less than overwhelmed.

I'm having a hard time believing this is the same guy that yourself and others are picking to one day beat Manny Pacquiao.

Valero's got good hand speed and has a great motor, but so many of his punches are pushed or arm punches.

Where was all of this devastating power I have been hearing about all this time? He laid it on DeMarco pretty heavily, but I don't think he even came remotely close to seriously hurting him.

I think he's natural ability will carry him as far as it can, but eventually he's going to run up against a true world class opponent and be exposed.

If he decides to venture up to 140lbs, which I'm hearing he will, I just think a disciplined world class opponent chops him into pieces.

Especially, after witnessing the urban legend of his power. He may end up being boxing's version of Kimbo Slice. — Tom

I don’t think it’s fair to compare him to Slice, Tom. Valero was a decorated amateur boxer (a four-time, four-division Venezuelan champ who almost made the 2000 Olympic team) who has gone on to win two major titles in two weight classes as a pro.

There’s no urban myth to his power. It’s very real. Valero wouldn’t have pancaked tough guys like Roque Cassiani and Eduardo Morales in one round on his way up, and he wouldn’t have convinced Vicente Mosquera’s corner to step in and save the titleholder from his own toughness or blasted Antonio Pitalua to the canvas with a single hook.

Here’s my questions for you (and Valero’s other doubters):

If Valero didn’t, in your words, come “remotely close to seriously hurting” DeMarco, then why did the challenger’s corner stop the fight?

You say he’s going to eventually “run up against a true world class opponent and be exposed” (which made me laugh because isn’t this pretty much true of all fighters?), well can you tell me WHO is going to do the “exposing?” (Man, what is it with hardcore fans and that word?)

If your answer is Manny Pacquiao, you’re probably right, but is losing to the pound-for-pound best, and someone who is a first-ballot hall of famer and arguably an all-time great, the same thing as being “exposed”?

Just wondering. And if you think there are standouts at 135 and 140 pounds who can “expose” “my son,” I’d like to know, so we can stay in touch in the event that Valero winds up fighting one of them.

PROUD PAPA

Man, the whole time I’m watching the Valero-DeMarco fight all I can think about is you. You are the only guy who has really been pushing Valero. I have never seen him fight before, so this was my first look to see what all the hype or criticism was about.

This guy is a young pit bull. I like his balls fighting through the elbow and three cuts. He gave DeMarco a beating. Now lets see him on TV more and against some good fighters so we can see what he has. — JB

Amen to that. If I were running the show at Showtime I would quickly get into the Edwin Valero business. There is a damn good fight that can be made in Mexico (vs. Humberto Soto) while his visa and licensing issues get worked out, and if he can get licensed in California or Nevada by the end of the year, I think a showdown with Tim Bradley would be must-see TV.

Bradley seems to be left out of HBO’s plans to showcase the 140-pound division (which mostly involves Golden Boy Promotions fighters, apart from Devon Alexander and Juan Urango), so what’s he gonna do? Who’s he gonna fight that will really excite the fans? I know Ricardo Torres is out there (somewhere) and Kendal Holt is coming back from his bid, but I think Valero is the man for Desert Storm. (I wouldn’t mind seeing Valero-Torres or Valero-Holt, either.)

By the way, I don’t think I’m going to be the only guy pushing Valero any more.

TOO GOOD FOR HIS OWN GOOD?

Dougie,
Watching Valero vs. Demarco I couldn't help but think about the excitement of what could be and on the other hand disappointment on what might be. I thought he looked good, not as good as Showtime announcers thought, but good. I thought he actually handled adversity quite well with that nasty cut, even better than Pacquaio has when he's been cut, but his overall skill needs to improve.

I think if he was in with an elite guy like Paquaio it would be a fun while it lasted, but he'd probably get KO'd. This victory was a good one, but the future will tell how good considering Demarco is definitely not an elite guy.

The sky is the limit for Valero, but he needs to get a great trainer and listen. I'd love to see what Freddy Roach would be able to do with him or even Beristain or Mayweather Sr. (even though I can't stand him). I'm definitely interested to see what you have to say, but my feeling is that Valero can be great and the only thing that can stop that is him. He needs to get a trainer he respects and start respecting his sport a little more. Judging by tonight he has what it takes to improve and be great, but if he stays on his current path then my bet is that he will be stopped eventually. — Michael, NYC

Eventually, most fighters lose, and (God forbid!), many of them are even stopped (Gasp! No!). Believe it or not, folks, it’s happened most of the fighters enshrined in the boxing hall of fame. (Seriously, go check it out if you think I’m joshin’ ya.) It’s not the end of the world or a fighter’s legacy.

That said, I agree that Valero is a incredible raw (well, semi-raw) talent in need of a seasoned trainer to smooth out the rough edges, so to speak. The trainers you mentioned wouldn’t work, though.

Roach would be great, but he’s got an, um, ahem, conflict of interest. Beristain’s “my-way-or-the-highway” philosophy would only clash with Valero’s bossman mentality in the gym. I doubt that union would last more than a week. Plus, the Beristain template is too patient and counter-punching focused for Valero’s aggressive style, IMO. Mayweather Sr. would only suck the power out of Valero the way he did with Francisco Bojado and Oscar De La Hoya. That would make me cry.

I think his former trainers Joe Hernandez and Ken Adams are still the men to train the V-nom. Coach Adams is almost as stubborn as Beristain, but he also knows how to get along with and get the best out of wild/wayward fighters like Valero (see Kennedy McKinney, Vince Philips, or Diego Corrales for examples). I think Joe Goossen or Rudy Perez would be excellent choices, as well. Goossen is great with personalities like Valero and he’s an expert at bringing power and poise out of southpaws. Perez is very good at refining aggressive fighters and bringing out their “inner boxer”. I’d add young guns like Robert Garcia, Joel Diaz and Henry Martinez, but I know Edwin, and I know he won’t listen to anyone under 50.

Doug Fischer can be reached at [email protected]

close

SIGN UP TO GET RING NEWS ALERTS