Mailbag: Valero steals the show

Kevin Iole
Yahoo! Sports

Edwin Valero is no Mike Tyson. Edwin Valero is no Mike Tyson. Edwin Valero is no Mike Tyson.

There. I said it. Did my penance issued by hundreds of Yahoo! Sports readers, who were outraged that I would dare compare Valero, the power-punching WBA super featherweight champion, to Tyson, one of the hardest-hitting heavyweights ever.

I awoke Sunday morning to a flood of messages commenting on my column on Valero, who retained his title in Cancun, Mexico, on Saturday with a third-round knockout of overmatched Zaid Zavaleta.

The first message called me an idiot. The second a moron. The third suggested I was retarded.

And then they got nasty.

In that column, I wrote, "If you haven't seen Valero, think of a young Mike Tyson and you'll get an idea of what you're about to see. The Venezuelan fights with a fury. Remember Tyson's famous quote about wanting to drive his opponent's nose into his brain? That's the kind of fighter Valero is."

My comparison was to Tyson's aggressiveness and the impact his punches had upon opponents.

Valero may be the least-skilled defensive fighter on the planet and he's faced a bevy of C-list competition. But his power is real. I'm not saying he'd beat Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez, Joan Guzman or Humberto Soto, but I am saying that if he hit any of them on the chin, he'd knock them out.

But I've heard you: Edwin Valero is no Mike Tyson. Edwin Valero is no Mike Tyson.

Anyway, readers had a lot to say, so let's get to the questions and comments, which cover a variety of boxing topics. Of course, old standby Floyd Mayweather Jr. drew plenty of interest, as did Valero (who is no Mike Tyson), Bernard Hopkins and Winky Wright. Let's get to it:


I always enjoy reading your boxing columns and I respect your commentary and knowledge of the sport. But I have to challenge the fact that you would question Winky Wright's financial worth. In an era where shows like The Contender can make a professional sparring partner a household name, where a fighter can rack upwards of 30 consecutive wins fighting in their hometown against guys we have never heard of, it's pretty well documented Wright has not had that luxury. Wright has fought many fighters in their own backyards and has been extremely competitive in every fight he's been in.

He has never been outclassed in any fight and maybe robbed on a few occasions!!! I will admit he is not the most exciting fighter, but this guy has paid his dues to the sport. He is worth $6 million to go to the U.K. to fight Joe Calzaghe.

Mikal Gammage
Los Angeles

I have great respect for Wright, but the simple fact is, he not only lost his last fight, but two of the judges scored only three rounds for him and the other judge only gave him four. Hopkins is coming off back-to-back impressive wins over Antonio Tarver and Wright and thus has a better case for a bout with Calzaghe. If Wright's demand were for $2 million or even $3 million, I wouldn't argue, but $6 million coming off a one-sided loss is high. Would you rather see Hopkins-Calzaghe or Wright-Calzaghe? And since Wright's close friend, Damian Ramirez, said he believes Wright deserves to face Oscar De La Hoya, would you rather see De La Hoya face Wright or take on Miguel Cotto in his next outing?


Who would win a tournament at 140 pounds between the following eight fighters: Floyd Mayweather, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, Roberto Duran, Julio Cesar Chavez, Meldrick Taylor and Aaron Pryor? Assume that all were in their primes.

Austin, Texas

That would be the greatest tournament ever, if that were to have played out, even though several of the guys never actually fought at 140. I'd seed them Duran, Chavez, Pryor, Mayweather, Taylor, Mosley, Cotto and Hatton. In the tournament's opening round, I'd have Duran stopping Hatton in a one-sided bout, Chavez winning a decision over Cotto in a war, Pryor stopping Mosley late and Mayweather outboxing Taylor for 12 rounds. In the semifinals, I'd have Duran by late stoppage over Mayweather and Pryor stopping Chavez late in a small upset. In the final, I'd go with Duran by decision in a brutal, brutal fight.


I've read several of your articles concerning Mayweather, and as a fellow Mayweather fan, I agree with most of your assessments. However, I have noticed that these praises come very often in your columns. And I don't recall seeing any mention about the level of his opposition, which is my only personal criticism of Mayweather. Why do you choose to not mention this? This is my only criticism I have concerning Mayweather. I think Mayweather's handlers deliberately chose Hatton for a Dec. 8 fight because they knew Hatton was no good at a higher weight than junior welterweight.


Overall, Mayweather's opposition has been quite good, but lately it has weakened considerably. He has two wins over Jose Luis Castillo at a time when Castillo was the best lightweight in the world. He knocked out Diego Corrales when Corrales was dominating the 130-pound division. He had one-sided wins over excellent fighters like Jesus Chavez, Carlos Hernandez and Genaro Hernandez. Recently, Mayweather's opponents have been more hand-picked. I don't disagree with your assessment of the Hatton fight. Mayweather's management chose Hatton because he represented the least risk with the most reward. If Mayweather fights Cotto in his next outing, I have zero complaints about the quality of his opponents, because he'll have faced the best out there. If he skips Cotto and continues to fight, then opposition suddenly becomes an issue. That will hurt him in his all-time placement.


Far too many boxing matches are on pay-per-view, thus alienating a major portion of the sport's fan base. Hopkins-Calzaghe is a great matchup but is not a true PPV event for the fringe audience. These bouts should be network/cable broadcasts. Make good fights accessible to everyone and that will build more interest. This is needed since the heavyweight division is a complete sham!

Scott B.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

You're right, Scott, in that good fights on network television would have a huge positive impact upon boxing. But the problem is paying the fighters what they want. Networks like CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX aren't going to pay promoters to put fights on the air in this climate. So, let's say you had a fight that interested one of the networks, like Hopkins-Calzaghe. If you had to pay each fighter $5 million, the promoter would have to find $10 million to pay the main event fighters. He'd still have to pay all of the other expenses associated with promoting the fight. He'd likely take a multi-million dollar bath. Boxers have priced themselves off network television.


Why is it that you failed to mention Manny Pacquiao's title in your boxing rankings? You have him ranked No. 2, so why doesn't he have a WBC title?


Pacquiao doesn't own a world title at this point. He did win a regional title, the WBC International super featherweight title. The WBC world champion at the weight is Juan Manuel Marquez, who is ranked No. 4 in our poll. Pacquiao will fight him for that belt March 15 in Las Vegas.


Good article on Valero, but I don't understand how you said he can't fight big name super featherweights because they fight in the U.S. We're talking about world titles here, not U.S. titles. So let them fight Valero in Cancun or Toronto.

Kevin Kane
Hammond, La.

U.S. suspensions are recognized in Canada and the U.K. (and vice versa) as well as in many other spots in the world. So Valero couldn't fight Pacquiao, say, in Toronto right now. And a fighter like Pacquiao has too many options for big-money fights competing in the U.S. that he doesn't need to go to a place where it might be difficult to raise the money to pay him the kind of purse he commands.


I'm just curious if you ever actually watched Mike Tyson fight. Edwin Valero is nothing even close. He is a wild puncher with no technique at all and is knocking out cupcakes. Mike Tyson was a precise, disciplined, technical monster of a puncher. Nothing even close to this guy.

Steven G.
Los Angeles

There's no doubt that the 20- to 23-year-old Tyson was a more polished fighter than Valero at the same stage. But Valero's power is staggering. That's where the comparison lies.


Edwin "Walking Blood Clot" Valero is the next Mike Tyson? Man, are you brain dead? Maybe you have a blood clot in your head too? He's knocking out bums! If he fights the big names, he'll be easily exposed.

Karl Sulla
Los Angeles

I'm not suggesting Valero should be cleared to fight in the U.S., since I'm not a doctor and haven't had access to his medical records. But if he is going to fight, wouldn't you agree he deserves a chance to fight guys like Pacquiao, Marquez and Guzman? Valero might lose, but he'd make the bouts entertaining and that's the whole point.


I like Valero because he's entertaining, but if you put him in against a number of the top 15 boxers in his weight class, he would get rocked. This guy is nothing special skill wise nor has he really fought anyone of note.


He did win the title from Vicente Mosquera, who while not a superstar is a good, solid professional fighter. He definitely needs to step up the competition level, but that's going to be hard to do considering his suspension.


You missed the boat. The best fighter on that card in Cancun, Mexico, on Saturday was not Valero but Jorge Linares.

Kyle P.

Linares successfully defended his WBC featherweight title by stopping Gamaliel Diaz. Linares is a gifted fighter who may be knocking on the top 10 door by the end of next year.

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