The Beginning of the End

Schoolboy | Jul 17, 2017 | Carlos Castillo

At the press conference after his demolition of Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero Saturday, Omar Figueroa recalled the hardest punchers he’s faced and mentioned getting hit in the spine by Edwin Valero, who bedeviled boxing fans with his talent and tragedy.

I’m producing “Schoolboy,” a film on another troubled talent, Bobby Chacon, so I was naturally drawn to Valero’s dark tale.

Figueroa absorbed that punch to the spine when he was 19 and has remembered Valero’s power to this day. Figueroa, who still looks like a teenager, recalls Valero’s camp assuming it was Figueroa’s dad who was the new sparring partner, not the boyish kid in tow.

Figueroa recalled sensing something was not right with Valero by the look in the man’s eyes and his demeanor. After hearing this, I watched Valero’s last fight, where he destroyed a young Antonio DeMarco in 2010. One of the most memorable aspects of the fight is the presence of Valero's wife, Carolina, who was allegedly beaten and then killed by her husband literally weeks later. Soon after being arrested for his wife's murder, Valero was found hanged in his jail cell.

Throughout the fight, the Showtime commentators reacted to the concern on Carolina’s face as she watched the fight ringside with her daughters, attributing her expression to apprehension about her husband’s match. But when she wore the same troubled look after DeMarco’s corner stopped the fight and Valero was awarded the victory, that was an indication that something deeper was at play here.

At the beginning of the fight, DeMarco displayed supreme confidence. He was a contender, a boxer-puncher with a wicked right hand. A tamborazo band greeted DeMarco in the ring as the Mexican fans cheered their latest phenom at the arena in Monterrey. DeMarco’s was kissing his baby in the ring, not even paying much attention to the introduction. He didn’t seem bothered by the man across the ring with the long hair and vacant stare.

It didn’t take long for Valero to impress me. He fought most of the fight with a huge gash on his forehead caused by a DeMarco elbow. He had power and speed. His defense was pretty damn good, too, and he absorbed some good shots by DeMarco, a guy who would later stop a rugged John Molina Jr. in a single round. Wow, Valero against Pacquiao would have truly been a superfight.

One chink in DeMarco’s armor seems to be speed. In a later fight, Adrien Broner beat him to the punch and so did Valero. DeMarco’s corner finally threw in the towel in the ninth round. You could see defeat and fatigue in DeMarco’s eyes. It was a look shared by Valero’s wife. It’s an image that will probably haunt me and anyone else who knows Valero’s sordid tale.

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