Fight Preview: Edwin Valero-Antonio DeMarco

Antonio DeMarco gets his first crack at real stardom tonight against Edwin Valero. (Photo by Tom Casino/SHOWTIME)

Tonight on Showtime Championship Boxing, unbeaten WBC lightweight titlist Edwin Valero defends his title against rising Mexican star Antonio DeMarco in what promises to be a must-see action fight from Monterrey.

Valero (26-0, 26 KO) last fought in December, dominating and stopping veteran Hector Velasquez over seven rounds. DeMarco (23-1-1, 17 KO) was last seen on Halloween night, beating Jose Alfaro by TKO in the 10th round.

One of the most interesting things to watch over the last couple of years on Showtime's boxing programs has been the improvement of DeMarco. In 2009, he posted wins over Almazbek "Kid Diamond" Raiymkulov, Anges Adjaho and Alfaro. Now, he makes another leap in class.

While DeMarco has gotten much better from the time when he was a pretty limited young brawler, the same can be said of 28-year-old Valero's improvements in the last few years. He went from urban myth to YouTube sensation to 130 and 135-pound titleholder, knocking out all 26 fighters that stepped into the ring with him, with only Vicente Mosquera ever offering much resistance at all.

Valero fought twice in 2009. His first fight came when headlined the Lightweight Lighting PPV from Texas in April, knocking out fellow slugger Antonio Pitalua in two rounds.

Valero has learned to box a little better than he used to, but make no mistake about where his number one asset will always lie: it's in his power. The Venezuelan is absolutely lethal with his fists, and nobody yet has been able to outgun him, most guys not even making it out of a round.

DeMarco is a good fighter, but is he good enough? Valero is going to hit him. Valero hits everyone. Can he hold up? I'd even say DeMarco is probably a more complete fighter than Valero is, more well-rounded. But he does not have anything in his game that matches the sheer force with which Valero can punch.

I think we're going to be in for excitement, no matter how long it lasts. It could really be a one-round fight. That's a very real possibility. I just can't see DeMarco holding up to Valero's vicious power. Valero TKO-6

On the undercard, welterweight Carlos Abregu (28-0, 23 KO) will meet Richard Gutierrez (24-3-1, 14 KO) in another fight that should provide good action. Abregu was in a four-round war last May on Shobox against Irving Garcia, and has fought just once since, in September. Gutierrez has been inactive since May and is 0-2-1 in his last three. Watching his fight last May against Antwone Smith, it seems to me that his 2008 loss to Alfredo Angulo (TKO-5) took a lot out of Gutierrez. He hung in there bravely with a tough, hard-hitting guy, and took a good beating in the process. Abregu really isn't anything to get terribly excited about, I don't think, but I've got the feeling he'll hurt Gutierrez early and get him out of there. Abregu TKO-7

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