Venezuelan boxer Edwin Valero, a former world champion and considered the second best lightweight fighter in the world by The Ring magazine, killed himself in a jail cell after confessing that he killed his wife.
The career of the 28-year-old Valero (27-0, 19 KOs) was on fast ascendancy and there was talk of a possible confrontation with the best “pound for pound” boxer in the world Manny Pacquiao.
It all came to a shocking halt Sunday morning at 1:30 am in a jail cell in Victoria, Venezuela. That is the time Venezuelan authorities discovered Valero committed suicide by hanging himself using his own clothes.
The story of Valero is one of admiration, disgust, and sadness, all at once.
On the Ring Glory
“El Inca” Valero was a widely admired boxer renowned for his aggressive always moving forward style and for his terrific punching power. He was not one to stand around and counterpunch, he looked for opportunities, made things happened, usually won by knockout and went down in history as one of only a handful of undefeated champions.
He was relentless and beyond his punching power he also had great defensive movements that made him hard to hit. That rare combination of punching and defense put him a the cusp of global fame and fortune.
Off the Ring Shame
Off the ring it was the complete opposite. “Dynamite” Valero was a “ticking bomb.” His drug and alcohol addiction and short temper repeatedly got him into trouble.
Just last month (March 25), Valero was charged with harassing his wife and threatening medical personnel who treated her in his native town of Merida, Venezuela. Police arrested Valero following an argument with a doctor and nurse at the hospital, where his wife was being treated for a series of injuries, including a punctured lung and broken ribs.
Venezuelan authorities said that Valero was detained on suspicion of assaulting his wife, but his wife told a police officer her injuries were due to a fall from a ladder. When the boxer arrived moments later, he forbade his wife from speaking to the police officer, and spoke threateningly to the officer.
A prosecutor had asked a court to order Valero jailed but that the judge instead placed him under a restraining order that barred him from going near his wife. The judicial order was repeatedly violated by Valero without consequences.
Domestic Violence Against Mother and Wife
His history of violence and unstable behavior traces back to September 2007, when Valero was accused of domestic violence by his mother and wife. Later, they both withdrew their charges.
At that time, Valero appeared before the judge and declared himself an alcoholic and was sentenced to six months of rehabilitation in a psychiatric ward. A blood test detected traces of cocaine in his blood stream.
Connections with the Chavez Regime
Valero was a passionate “Chavista,” to the extent that he chose to place a huge tattoo with the image of President Hugo Chavez on his chest, along with the country's yellow, blue and red flag.
There is strong suspicion that his good relationship with the Chavez regime was a crucial factor in his apparent preferential treatment from Venezuelan law enforcement authorities. Valero came from a poor family and did not have formal education beyond primary school. He identified with Chavez' populist politics and socialist agenda.
Deaths and Two Orphans
At the end of this gruesome boxing tale we find two young people dead and two young children left without his parents.
It is a sad story of wasted sporting talent and tragic deaths. An undereducated, poorly managed, 28-year-old boxer who takes his life and the life of his 24-year-old wife and leaves behind a 7-year-old son and a 5-year-old daughter without their mom and dad.
Drugs and alcohol are the co-protagonists in this unfortunate tale. These addictions were certainly powerful and a big factor leading to the regrettable occurrence.
But ultimately, it comes down to each individual person, and, unlike many other boxers coming from dirt poor backgrounds and suffering from assorted addictions, Valero could not manage himself. He could not control his urges and paid the ultimate price taking along other unsuspecting victims.
The final tally: A dead wife and mother, two orphans, and an ascending boxing career shockingly halted.
Tragic, disgusting, and sad.