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Edwin Valero vs. Antonio DeMarco Fight Preview and Pick

Edwin Valero vs. Antonio DeMarco Fight Preview and Pick
Saturday, February 6th, 2010
Location: Arena Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico
TV: Showtime at 9 pm EST (Fight No. 2 on Card)
Weight Class: WBC Lightweight Championship: 12 Rounds

By Scotty L of

Edwin Valero, WBC Lightweight Champion, 26-0 (26 KOs), Merida, Venezuela vs. Antonio DeMarco, Challenger, 23-1-1 (17 KOs), Tijuana, B.C. Mexico.

Preliminary Odds: Valero (-500), DeMarco (+325).

Analysis: On Saturday, Edwin Valero attempts to make his second defense of his WBC Lightweight Title against top challenger Antonio DeMarco in Monterrey, Mexico, a fight that will also be shown on Showtime.

Hardcore fans have developed a fondness for the rampaging Venezuelan. When a guy is 26-0 with 26 knockouts, it tends to get some people excited. Valero has had a strange, but upward trajectory that has taken him to where he is now—on the cusp of breaking through to mainstream stardom.

Before Valero turned pro, he had a motorcycle accident that fractured his skull and led to a blood clot that required surgery. Beginning his career in the less-regulated boxing waters of Venezuela, he was deemed fit to fight professionally. After 12 fights, he was brought to the U.S. and signed by Golden Boy Promotions, a great break for the young fighter. However, an MRI revealed abnormalities stemming from his accident and he was denied a license and dropped by Golden Boy Promotions.

He continued fighting abroad, eventually building a promotional base in Japan, where he continued his assault. Despite his troubles, Valero set a record by opening his career with 18 consecutive first-round knockouts. As the quality of his opposition has increased, he has begun taking longer to dispatch his foes.

He beat decent Vicente Mosquera for a belt at junior lightweight, and made 4 title defenses against anonymous opponents. Then after being able to secure a boxing license in Texas, he won the vacant WBC Lightweight Title against hard-hitting Antonio Pitalua in April of last year. He made one defense, against tough Mexican Hector Velasquez.

DeMarco, four years Valero’s junior at 24, is not an unheard-of entity to boxing fans. Over the past few years, he has started making waves, putting together a nice streak of victories. The baby-faced stylist has beaten the likes of Jose Reyes, Kid Diamond, and former titlist Jose Alfaro to secure the high ranking he now enjoys.

This fight pits two contrasting styles against each other. Valero is the assassin, looking to get his power game untracked, while DeMarco relies on his boxing acumen. Both are southpaws utterly comfortable in their styles.

Valero has fought in Mexico before and actually has some support there by fans that appreciate his “go get ‘em” approach to the sport. But in his homeland, DeMarco will be the crowd favorite. With a 3-inch advantage in height and reach, the conditions at least are right for DeMarco to employ a long-range boxing game plan.

I like what I see from DeMarco. He’s as fundamentally sound as any lightweight in the game. He boxes smartly and has an underlying toughness and advanced vision of the fight. Valero, while knocking everyone out, hasn’t really shown improvement. 18 first-round KO’s is impressive, but may not be the perfect way to season a fighter poised to be on the world stage.

Both men will be each other’s most difficult opponent this far. There is always a perception when a younger fighter takes on an established champion that the challenger has fought the far less dangerous opposition. When you look at the records of these two, however, the quality of their opponents is comparable. Valero, being older, has probably fought more against higher-level fighters, but their resumes at the top are similar in quality.

Valero could conceivably go in there and be too much for DeMarco. But I see a fight where DeMarco is able to box in his style, with varying degrees of comfort. He will have to call on reserves he may not have called on before, but his skill and toughness might see him through. I also think while everyone is mesmerized by Valero’s power, DeMarco is not a pitty-pat puncher, with 17 KO’s in 23 wins. With far more technique than Valero, DeMarco might have enough pop to at least give his boxing more clout.

I see a demanding fight, with both men having success during the first 8-9 rounds. I think DeMarco will be able to close strongly with his better form. DeMarco will not have a big margin for error, as one slip-up against Valero could be disastrous. I think DeMarco knows this. I expect a high-concentration approach from him. I think he will steel himself for the task at hand, weather the anxious moments, and outbox Valero for a decision win.

Scotty’s Pick to Win: Take the +325 on Antonio DeMarco to win.

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