Valero: “Ready for anyone!”
Valero wants Marquez and Pacquiao
Post-fight report & photos by Chris Cozzone / Fightwireimages.com
“I delivered” and “I’m ready for anyone” were the two statements issued, both, verbally and fistically, last night by newly-crowned WBC lightweight champion Edwin Valero (25-0, 25 KOs) at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.
“This is a new beginning for me,” said Valero, who had little problem giving top contender Antonio Pitalua (46-4, 40 KOs) his first loss in eight years, after flooring him three times in round two.
“I felt I hurt him in the first with a jab, then I broke his soul,” said Valero. “Once I connected, I knew the end would come faster.”
Pitalua had few words, saying only that “He caught me first and that was it.”
“I’m ready to continue at 100 percent, ready to fight anyone out there,” said Valero.
Only two names came up: Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao.
Richard Scheafer of Golden Boy Promotions, the promoter for last night’s event, and Bob Arum, Valero’s promoter, agreed on a future matchup—just not on chronology.
“If Juan Manuel Marquez wants to fight Manny Pacquiao again, fight this guy first,” said Arum, referring to Valero.
“If Marquez wants, we’ll fight him in Mexico—any city in Mexico. I believe in Edwin Valero. What you have seen tonight is something really special, something out of the ordinary . . . You’ve seen the emergence of a star with superpowers in both hands, someone who can handle any lightweight in the world.”
Golden Boy’s Scheafer, however, would prefer to match up Marquez and Pacquiao . . . and then Valero.
“I wanted to do Marquez and Pacquiao first,” he said. “There is unfinished business there. If Marquez is ready, and should Pacquiao win against Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez should get an opportunity at the winner.
“Then we’d love to fight Edwin Valero. He needs more exposure here first.”
Valero, however, while stating he was ready for Pacquiao any time, sided with his promoter, Arum, about a Marquez matchup first.
“If the opportunity arises to fight either, I would like Marquez,” said Valero. “He is very technical and a warrior in the ring and would like to discuss making this happen.
“But there’s that so-called ‘monster’ from the Philippines I want a shot at. I am ready to fight anyone.”
Chavez yields to Katsidis
In the co-main, Austin favorite Jesus Chavez (44-5, 30 KOs) stood in the pocket with former champion Michael Katsidis (25-2, 21 KOs) for seven rounds, before retiring on his stool.
“I opted to stop the fight,” Chavez admitted. “I was not gaining momentum and it was my decision. I gave it my best shot but didn’t feel I wanted to take any more punishment.
“I’m happy with the decision I took tonight.”
Chavez said he wasn’t able to get his shots off, “had a little security issue” with himself, and had trouble figuring out Katsidis’ style.
“I have to sit back and decided my future,” said Chavez. “But, honestly, I think that choice has already been made.”
Katsidis attributed to the win to alteration in style that mixed up boxing with slugging.
“I was happy with the decision to start using my boxing,” he said. “I felt very clear tonight. Normally, I get hit. In the past, I’m like a shark on attack, when I see red.
“But I made a few changes and that, ultimately, got me the win. Jesus couldn’t figure me out, but he put up a great fight tonight.”
Katsidis mentioned a rematch with Casamayor as his choice for the immediate future.
“I want Casamayor before he retires,” said Katsidis. “But there are other big fights out there … like Amir Khan.”
Escobedo gains ground
In a back-and-forth, high-action fight, lightweight Vicente Escobedo (20-1, 12 KOs) raised his stock by defeating gutsy former champ Carlos “Famoso” Hernandez (43-8-1, 24 KOs) with a hard-earned decision.
“It was a really, really tough fight,” said Escobedo, who hit the canvas in the sixth. “Carlos came with everything he had, like I expected. I knew he could take a lot of punches, and I knew he threw a lot of wild punches, and I have all the respect for him.
“I wanted to show I can stay in there with a former world champion. Now I know what it’s like. This is gonna make me better and I’m ready for the next step.”
Escobedo knocked down Hernandez in the first and second round, but weathered a mid-fight momentum swing.
“I felt I was still ahead but the fight was turning around a bit,” said Escobedo. “I knew I had to turn it up a notch in the later rounds so I let my hands go. I felt I won the fight against a guy who kept on coming and coming at me.”
The cards read 96-91, 94-93 and 95-91 for Escobedo.
An emotional Hernandez sort-of announced his retirement—not for the first time.
“I’ll decide in the next few weeks or month to hang ‘em up,” said Hernandez. “It’s almost about that time for me. I’m not saying this is my last fight, but it could be.
“Vicente fought a great fight and you could say I passed the torch tonight. I’m not the most skillful fighter, not the most sweetest, like Mayweather, but I do promise to give you heart, passion … everything I got.”
Reyes ready for anyone now
In the biggest upset of the night, late replacement Rolando Reyes (31-4-2, 20 KOs) scored the biggest win of his career when he KO’d former champ Julio Diaz (36-5, 26 KOs) in round six.
“I came to do what I came to do,” he said, smiling, at the presser. “I came prepared to leave everything in the ring.
“I’ll take anyone on now – I’m ready.”