The Tragic Tale of Edwin Valero

This is exactly what boxing does not need right now.

Another huge freaking mess with a fighter on the verge of superstardom smack in the middle of it. What’s worse? A young lady got killed and two kids lost their mother, and most likely their father.

Venezuela’s Edwin Valero (27-0-0, 27 KOs) was going to be a boxing superstar. He started his career with 18 straight knockout wins. All in the first round. Take a moment to let it sink in. 18 straight wins, all by knockout, all under three minutes.

To put things into perspective, Manny Pacquiao has six first round knockouts in 51 wins. Mike Tyson and George Foreman, two the most feared punchers of all time have 22 and 17 first round knockouts in 50 and 76 wins, respectively. Valero has 19 in his 27 wins. You’ll have to be blind not to see that Valero was destined for something big.

There was something appealing about Valero. I first read about him on one of the boxing websites I visit. Then I started to look for videos of his fights on the net. I was lucky to find some and in those few short videos, I quickly became a fan.

The phrase “he has no regard for human life” gets thrown around often in sports jargon. People in the NBA say it when LeBron James plows his way through a phalanx of defenders and dunks the ball emphatically through the hoop. But in Valero’s case, it actually had literal meaning. He was like a caged animal in the ring; he won’t stop punching till his opponent is down for the count. Blood may be streaming from his eyes but he shows no pain. He just moves forward with his take-no-prisoners attitude and beats the living hell out of his opponents.

Mention to any boxing fan a prospective fight between Pacquiao and Valero and you’ll most likely get a quick smile followed by “it should be lots of fun while it lasts.”

Now, we can all stop thinking if this dream match could ever come true. The answer is, quite simply, no. Valero’s boxing career is over. He may spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Pacquiao was not the only opponent being lined up against Valero. He could have had great matches with the current champions at lightweight. Juan Manuel Marquez and Humberto Soto could have been great fights. A match with Michel Katsidis could have been the best blood and guts fight in recent memory. Moving up to 140 and facing Marcos Rene Maidana, Amir Khan, Devon Alexander, and Timothy Bradley could have easily been pay-per-view material. None of these matter now. Boxing needs to look elsewhere.

Even with his immense talent, Valero’s issues were always the bigger story. He underwent brain surgery from a motorcycle accident that led most of the athletic commissions in the United States to ban him from fighting in their territory.

There were reports that Valero was an alcoholic. At one point in his visit to the States, he rammed his car to a tree. He was proven to be drunk and it made it hard for him to reprocure a US Visa. Then word came out that he laid his hands on his mother and sister. Then the news of him beating up his wife cam up. Now this.

Valero went down to the front desk where he and his wife spent the night to tell them that he has murdered his wife. He was quickly apprehended after the hotel personnel alerted the police. His wife was found dead in their hotel room with multiple stab wounds.

As a boxing fan, I can’t help but be pissed off about the turn of events. Valero could have injected much needed excitement to the sport of boxing. I feel horrible for Venezuela. Valero was a source of national pride for them. They may not agree with his lifestyle but he made them proud every time he stepped into the ring because he gave it his all. They see blood covering the tattoo on Valero’s chest, a tattoo of their flag and their leader, and they’re reminded that things may get rough, but they’d have to keep fighting. Now their favorite pugilist is behind bars. It will take a long time before this wound heals for them.

As a human being, well, I still can’t imagine how a man can kill his wife. Yes, Valero had his demons, but he cannot possibly get a free pass for killing his wife just because he had a rough upbringing. Lots of people had to overcome worse shit in their lives, plenty of them didn’t end up being violent people.

As much as it pains me that a would-be boxing superstar will never fight again, it cannot possible lessen the pain of knowing that a wife died at the hand of his own husband and now their kids will have to go on through their lives without their parents. 

Sure, boxing lost an asset. But two kids lost their mom. The latter is clearly the bigger tragedy. Even the biggest boxing fanatics will agree.

Please say a prayer for their family.

RIP Jennifer Carolina Viera.

  1. April 21st, 2010
    Trackback from : Fire Quinito

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