Mailbag: Vegas for Valero?

Kevin Iole
Yahoo Sports

Edwin Valero holds the World Boxing Association's lightweight championship title and is one of the most exciting fighters in the world. He's also been unable to fight in Las Vegas, the so-called boxing capital of the world, because of a 37-year-old Nevada Athletic Commission regulation that prohibits anyone who ever had a cerebral hemorrhage from competing in the state.

On Wednesday, though, the commission will hear a recommendation from neurosurgeon Albert Capanna, the chairman of its medical advisory board, to lift that prohibition. That could be the first step in allowing Valero to be licensed in Nevada – and could lead to a Nov. 14 fight against Humberto Soto on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Valero fractured his skull in a February 2001 motorcycle accident in which he wasn't wearing a helmet. He turned pro as a boxer in 2002 and has fought without incident since.

However, Valero was suspended medically by the New York Athletic Commission in 2004 after concerns were raised about the results of a prefight MRI of his brain. Texas licensed him and he fought there successfully earlier this year.

He is ineligible to fight in Nevada because of the 1972 regulation. But because medical techniques have improved dramatically, the commission's medical advisory board felt there was no need for an absolute ban on someone who'd ever had a hemorrhage.

If the regulation is passed, the commission would review things such as the extent of the hemorrhage, how long ago it occurred and how it occurred in determining whether to license a fighter.

Commission executive director Keith Kizer, who does not have a vote, said it's probably unlikely that anyone who had ever had a hemorrhage from a fight would be licensed, but that would be up to the five-person board.

In situations like Valero's, in which he was injured after being ejected form his motorcycle, an argument could be made that the impact from a vehicular accident would be much greater than anything that could occur in a prizefight.

Valero will have to undergo testing and appear before the commission even if the regulation is passed on Wednesday. But the hearing is the first step toward having one of the world's most exciting fighters display his talents in the town that likes to bill itself as the boxing capital of the world.

Before we delve into the mailbag and I respond to your questions and comments, I'd like to remind you to follow me on Twitter. You can send me questions for the mailbag there or just choose to talk some boxing.

I was able to watch the World Boxing Organization featherweight championship fight on Saturday between Steven Luevano and challenger Bernabe Concepcion. I don't argue with the decision that was made by referee Jay Nady when he automatically disqualified Concepcion for throwing a late punch after the bell in the seventh round, because I believe that is the right decision. But I do believe Nady stepped in late, and assumed that Concepcion was able to hear the bell. As a referee, I think it is his job to keep the fight in control. If he just stepped in the right time, I do not think the disqualification or the hitting after the bell would have happened. By the way, after the point of stoppage, I also had Luevano up 67-66, making the decision of the referee very crucial at that point.

G. Jay Galano
Makati, Philippines

No one knows what was going through Concepcion's mind at that stage. However, I'm not going to put any blame on Nady for this. I'm neither going to say Concepcion threw the late punch intentionally. However, I do think Concepcion was showing signs of frustration and wasn't able to do much with Luevano after the very early going. The boxers were competing and the referee was off to the side, giving them room to do their jobs, as he should. When the bell rang, Luevano raised his glove and Concepcion fired off a left-right combination as Nady was stepping in. Could Nady have gotten in a split second quicker? Yes. But do I blame him for what occurred in any manner? No. There had been no hints of trouble in the fight and he was staying out of their way so they could compete. Promoter Bob Arum said he's planning a rematch in December and said he'd pay each man more. I don't agree with that, however. Why should Concepcion benefit from a flagrant foul? He was doing little in the fight after the second round and had it gone to a natural conclusion, there would have been no talk of a rematch. Why give him a bonus for fouling?


Roy Jones Jr. still has plenty left when it comes to boxers with limited skills such Jeff Lacy, Omar Sheika and a very faded Felix Trinidad. Let's face it: Trinidad was a smaller version of Lacy when he met Jones in New York in 2008, trying only to land one big shot. If Roy wants to seriously consider whether he still has it, I think it's time for him to fight the elite boxers and stop using his name along with these washed-up fighters just to make a buck. Come on! Pay-per-view for Jeff Lacy and Omar Sheika. That's a joke. The true fans see through you, Roy.

Mark Anthony
Yonkers, N.Y.

I don't think Jones is a top-three light heavyweight now. He'd get destroyed by Chad Dawson and would be beaten by Bernard Hopkins. Who is third in that division? Glen Johnson. I think Johnson would beat Jones again, though it's no slam dunk. Beyond that, I think Jones is at least even in every fight he could make at light heavyweight, if not a clear favorite. Having said that, I think you owe the fans a little more than he's been giving them when you ask them to pay $34.95 or more for the shows. The card Saturday was horrendous and the broadcast wasn't much better. Putting Sheika in a pay-per-view bout was a joke, but Trinidad and Lacy were not. However, if Jones is going to keep doing these kinds of cards, he's got to put better fights alongside his so that people get something for their money. It can't be all taking and no giving.


Mr. Iole, I enjoy reading your weekly column. I have two small questions. First, in light of Roy Jones Jr.'s victory over Jeff Lacy, do you see him receiving a title shot in the near future? The second question is that with Paul Williams and Kelly Pavlik scheduled to fight, who do you have winning? I have a very slight edge towards Williams but would not be surprised at all if Pavlik wins.

Edwin Rice

Thanks, Edwin. If Jones keeps winning, I have no doubt that he'll get a shot at one of the light heavyweight belts at some point. As for the Pavlik-Williams fight, which is now going to be held in late November or early December, I definitely favor Williams. He's got a huge reach and a tremendous output, both of which are going to give Pavlik problems.


BELT UNIFICATIONS ANY TIME SOON?

When will boxing unify each division with a sanctioned world entity recognizing one champion per weight class? This will make the sport less corrupt and mandate boxers, managers and promoters to fight appropriately ranked fighters.

Paul W. Storms
Buffalo, N.Y.

I don't think it's ever going to happen, Paul, so I wouldn't get my hopes up. But let me also ask this: Who cares about the sanctioning bodies (or, for that matter, the Ring title)? A lot of fans have misplaced anger about this situation. There have ALWAYS been multiple champions per class. The difference is if the best fights are being made, then the public knows who is the best fighter in that class, regardless of who has a belt. If Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather fight at welterweight next year, the winner of that bout will clearly be the world's best 147-pounder. Would we need the World Boxing Council or the World Boxing Association or The Ring to give them a belt to let us know that? Of course not. The problem is that, far too often, the best guys in the weight class don't fight each other. Change that and have the best fight the best on a regular basis and you'd be surprised how quickly fans forget about the incompetent, corrupt and thoroughly detestable sanctioning bodies and their lame titles.


SPEAKING OF PACQUIAO-MAYWEATHER …

I was under the impression that Mayweather wants a 60-40 split in his favor, hence the diminished possibility that a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight occurs. I am not certain if the Pacquiao camp wants 60-40 in its favor, as well. If both sides want to get the 60-40 favorable split, it makes the contract negotiation difficult. However, what if we have an agreement like this: Whoever wins the fight gets the 60-40 split? If Pacquiao wins, he gets 60-40 and vice-versa. Good idea, what do you think?

Mark Estella
Manila, Philippines

Having the winner get the bigger part of the purse would be terrific, in my view, but the boxers and their managers will sadly never agree to it. I have never heard specific figures mentioned for a split, though Mayweather will undoubtedly demand a much bigger share of the pie. Both fought Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton and in each case, the pay-per-view numbers were bigger when they fought Mayweather. Having said that, Mayweather fought each first and Pacquiao's supporters would argue that De La Hoya and Hatton were less attractive as pay-per-view opponents when he fought them. Mayweather sold a record 2.4 million for his fight with De La Hoya and just under 1 million for his fight with Hatton. Pacquiao did 1.25 million with De La Hoya and slightly more than 800,000 for Hatton.