WBC lightweight champion Edwin Valero battered number one challenger and interim belt holder Mexican Antonio DeMarco from pillar to post for nine brutal rounds on Saturday night in Monterey Mexico until Demarco’s corner has seen enough and threw in a white towel. Passing the toughest test of his professional career with flying colors, Valero extended his record to 27-0 with all of his wins coming by way of knock out, but more than just his brute power and force, Valero was able to demonstrate his boxing skills and the heart of the champion.
“This was definitely my best performance,’’ said 28-year- old Valero after making the second title defense of the 135-pound belt he won in April 2009. “I learned I have to pace myself and can’t just come out in the beginning rounds so aggressively. I have to save some of that for the later rounds.”
Despite adversity early on, Valero was bleeding from the nose, caused by his opponent’s stiff jab in the first round, a cut on the right side of the cheek bone, a huge gash on his fore head caused by an accidental but very hard elbow in the second round and another cut on top of the right eye in the third, Valero controlled the action, pushed his adversary back with sharp vicious combinations. Valero pumped a shot gun jab with a regularity of a machine to set up his devastating four, five, six, and eight punch combinations that kept assaulting the challenger round after round. Demarco was not just a punching bag; he boxed well, especially early on in the fight moving and counterpunching with authority, landing some stiff jabs of his own and a few hooks that cought the attention of the champion and the crowd. Surprisingly Demarco looked to be the stronger man in the ring, possibly because his very infrequent connects were accompanied by the roar from the partisan crowd.
“I felt I was the stronger fighter but it wasn’t my night,” conceded the 5-foot-10, 24-year-old DeMarco: “He got the best of me. I went out there tonight to fight but my body did not respond.”
“As a Mexican fighter, I did not want to quit,” said DeMarco (23-2-1,17KO’S):” But my corner saw throughout the fight that Valero was the better fighter.’’
Valero was definitely the better fighter on Saturday night, but what was really surprising was his defense and boxing skills never on display before. Valero unleashed his atrocious combinations and moved back avoiding getting hit by return fire from DeMarco. Despite his obvious disadvantage in height and reach, Valero rolled his shoulder and moved his head out of the way, Mayweather like, to avoid getting hit with clean punches. In fact it was Demarco who was reaching and missing with his blows most of the night like he was the shorter fighter. Valero was always one step ahead of his challenger gaining dominance with each round and showing his mastery of the sweet science.
“I wasn’t surprised the fight lasted nine rounds. I was expecting it to last the full 12,’’ he said. “I knew I had to keep doing what I was doing in order to win. They thought I wasn’t a boxer and that I couldn’t deal with his reach. They didn’t know that I was a lateral fighter. I showed them that I had a better defense and better legs.’’
Valero’s introduction to a wide American TV boxing audience was awe inspiring and should bring him much coveted big fights with boxing elite.