Edwin Valero (December 3, 1981 – April 19, 2010) was a Venezuelan professional boxer. He was an undefeated two-weight world champion who held the WBA super featherweight and WBC lightweight titles.
A southpaw known for his highly aggressive style and exceptional punching power, Valero remains the only champion in the 30-year history of the WBC to have won every fight in his career by knockout. In 2010, Valero committed suicide in jail after being arrested on suspicion of killing his wife.
Valero started boxing at the age of 12, arguably compiling an amateur record of 86-6 with 57 knockouts. He was a Venezuelan amateur champion three years running, as well as Central and South American Champion (beating Francisco “Panchito” Bojado).
It was during this time Valero allegedly started using drugs (mainly cocaine), drinking alcohol, starting fights with teenagers and even some adults. Valero grew to have a reputation in his home town as a fearless street thug.
On February 25, 2006, Valero set a new world record by winning his first 18 fights as a professional by first-round knockout.
That record has since been broken by Tyrone Brunson, but most boxing experts and fans do not acknowledge Brunson’s claim because of the extremely poor level of opposition he faced while making his way to the record. (In contrast to Valero’s opponents, just one of Brunson’s 19 opponents had a winning record, and 6 had failed to win a single fight in their careers.) The previous record for consecutive first-round knockouts was 15 by Young Otto (record), who accomplished the feat in 1905.
In Valero’s nineteenth fight (March 25, 2006), Genaro Trazancos ended the first-round knockout streak by surviving until the second round.
Because of his punching power and perfect knockout ratio, he became the darling of boxing fans.[who?] His biggest backers in the sport included Doug Fischer of RingTV.com (who, on the former boxing website he used to write for, Maxboxing.com, regularly covered Valero in his articles for the website which also aired videos of his workouts and sparring sessions) and Boxing Inside with Peter Palmiere.
The Los Angeles local cable show also aired Valero’s workouts, sparring sessions and interviews conducted by journalist Palmiere.
In his first attempt at a world title, Valero met WBA Super Featherweight champion, Vicente “El Loco” Mosquera, on August 5, 2006, in what would arguably prove to be both boxers’ toughest contest.
Valero started out the match in signature fashion, knocking down the champion twice in the first round, but Mosquera recovered and in the third round and delivered his own knockdown (Valero’s first and only.)
At this point in his 19-0 career, Valero’s longest fight had only been two rounds, and the question remained whether the untested Valero had the stamina to go the distance. The answer came after ten grueling rounds when the ever-tenacious Mosquera finally started to wane under the challenger’s continuous heavy-handed counters.
Deciding Mosquera had received enough punishment, the referee called a halt to the match at 2:00 of the 10th round, making the 24-year-old Valero champion. Valero would go on to successfully defend the title four times before moving up in weight class, with his final defense a 7th-round TKO victory over Takehiro Shimada in Tokyo on June 12, 2008.
On September 3, 2008, Valero vacated his WBA title to fight in the lightweight division.
On April 4, 2009, Valero fought Antonio Pitalua for the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) Lightweight title at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.
The bout marked the first time Valero had fought in the United States since 2003. Pitalua came in to the fight with 14 consecutive knockouts on his 46-3 record, and with Valero’s 24 consecutive knockouts (24-0), the stage was set for a decisive match between two heavy hitters.
After an uneventful first round, Valero knocked Pitalua down just seconds in to the second round with a right hook. Pitalua managed to get up, but suffered two more knockdowns before the referee stopped the fight at 0:49 of round 2.
Valero’s next fight came on his home turf of Venezuela (in La Guaira), where he successfully defended his new WBC Lightweight title by a TKO victory over Hector Velasquez in the 7th round. Valero’s second and final defense of the belt came against Antonio DeMarco in Mexico on February 6, 2010.
In the second round, Valero suffered a serious cut over his right eye after DeMarco landed an unintentional elbow. But Valero was able to continue the fight and went on to win by RTD when DeMarco failed to answer the bell for the 10th round. This would be Valero’s last match.
In March 2010, Valero vacated his WBC Lightweight title in order to compete in the light welterweight division.
Valero’s professional record at the time of his death was 27-0, making him one of the few world champions to finish his career undefeated (along with Rocky Marciano, Ricardo Lopez, Joe Calzaghe, Dmitry Pirog, Ji-won Kim, Terry Marsh, Michael Loewe, Pichit Sitbangprachan and Sven Ottke.)
On February 5, 2001, Valero was involved in a severe motorcycle accident in which he wasn’t wearing a helmet. He fractured his skull and had surgery to remove a blood clot. This injury was sustained prior to him launching his pro career, and it created roadblocks to major bodies sanctioning his fights.
Valero claimed that his doctor cleared him to fight on January 17, 2002, and he turned pro that July with a first-round KO.
Valero appeared to hit the jackpot when he was signed after his 12th pro fight by Golden Boy Promotions. Valero was scheduled to appear on HBO’s Boxing After Dark, but in January 2004, he failed an MRI due to brain scan irregularities in New York and thus was not allowed to fight in the United States.
As a result, the fight did not take place. He continued to fight outside the US and on March 25, 2008, Valero was cleared to box in the state of Texas.
It was reported on September 27, 2009, that Edwin Valero had been arrested on assault charges. A man alleged that the boxer attacked his mother and sister over a feud. Valero denied the allegations and considered them an attempt to harm his reputation. His mother came forward to tell the media that no foul play was involved.
On March 25, 2010, Valero was again accused of assault, this time by his wife, who was sent to hospital for bruises and a damaged lung. Valero denied any wrongdoing, stating his wife stumbled from a stairway but investigators doubted him.
His wife later told authorities that her injuries were caused by an accident on some stairs, despite the fact that she had been treated for similar injuries twice before at the hospital. Because of the vicious personality he showed at the hospital where his wife was treated, Valero was sent for six months of psychiatric rehabilitation.
On April 18, 2010, Valero was arrested after police found the body of his 24-year-old wife, Carolina, in a hotel in the city of Valencia, Carabobo.
Valero was considered a suspect and was taken to jail. Valero allegedly admitted to hotel security and police that he had murdered his wife. The following day he was found hanging in his prison cell, by his pants. He was pronounced legally dead, at 1:30 AM.