By Robert Coster
Is Edwin Valero the man nobody wants to face? The unbeaten, dynamite punching WBC lightweight champion with 25 knockouts in 25 fights is calling out for the big name boxers, Pacquiao, Mayweather or any other fighter in the face of the planet, to dare step into the ring and face his murderous fists. Yet, there are many pundits who feel that Valero has yet to face a real, stern test by facing a truly elite boxer. The fact is that Valero remains an enigma to many and even more so because the southpaw destroyer has been fighting outside of the USA. First Edwin was denied fights in American rings for over five years for allegedly having failed an MRI test. After finally getting OK’d to fight in Austin, Texas in April, Valero has subsequently been denied a US visa. Fightnews sat down with the brazen, supremely confident champion to discuss the visa controversy, his hopes for the future and his real frustration at not being given the opportunity to fight those marquee name boxers who he feels are evading him.
Champ, you were recently denied the US visa. What is your take on that decision and do you plan to appeal this ruling by US authorities?
The decision to deny me the US visa is incomprehensible. Not only was the visa denied to me but to whole my family, including a daughter of mine born in the United States. I really feel that the decision has been a political retaliation for my being a supporter of President Hugo Chavez. I don’t plan to appeal personally. If my promoter informs me that the US authorities plan to change their stance, then I will travel and fight in the USA. Otherwise, I won’t go back and solicit a visa in my name.
How do you think not being able to fight in the USA will affect your career? You are conscious that the real mega-fights are in Las Vegas?
Of course I would love to fight Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas. But there are other places where the fight can be held. Macao, in Asia, is one place that has been mentioned where that fight could happen.
In the meantime, what are your immediate plans?
I have to defend my title and it will be on December 19 in Caracas, Venezuela against Hector Velasquez, a tough guy who has fought Manny Pacquiao and Rocky Juarez among others. He is 51-13 with 35 KOs. It will be a good test.
So, let’s go back to Pacquaio. How do you see a fight between the two of you?
Totally one-sided my way. I have the talent and the power to beat him decisively. I hit much harder than Manny. I am the only boxer around that can kayo Manny.
And Floyd Mayweather, would you go up in weight and fight him? Wouldn’t his style and movement be very difficult for you?
I would go to body to take away his speed. Also, hit him on the arms to lower his guard. I have faced shifty boxers like Roque Cassiani and Alejandro Heredia. Of course, they are not the level of Floyd but I really believe that once I slow down Mayweather, he will be mine for the taking.
And a bout at your weight with Juan Manuel Marquez?
An easy KO win for me. He will be there right in front of me and that means that he just won’t last the distance.
Are the top boxers really afraid to fight you?
No doubt about it and it’s very frustrating.
This “KO King” reputation, is it added pressure for you to live up to that destroyer image? Do you feel that you have to get all your opponents out of there before the final bell?
I feel no pressure at all. The KOs come by themselves. In a 36 minute fight, I just know that at one point I will connect and that my opponent will go down . It is simple as that.
Some say punchers do not train to last the distance and have stamina problems. What do you say about that?
Not my case. I do between 100-200 rounds of sparring when I prepare for a fight. Stamina has never been a problem. I always come into the ring in the best of shape. Again, I don’t look for the KO…it’s just that at one point my opponent will feel my power and fall.
Last question, Champ. What are your greatest ambitions as a boxer?
I already am a two-division champion. I want three more titles in three more categories. If the champions aren’t afraid of me and give me the opportunity, I’ll achieve these goals.