People who aren’t boxing fans probably never heard of Edwin Valero until today. Those of us who do follow boxing knew him as an extraordinarily exciting fighter — 27 wins, no defeats, 27 knockouts, and a risk-taking, take-no-prisoners approach that was as entertaining as anyone in the sport save Manny Pacquiao. And it was Valero who was being eyed by promoter Bob Arum as a future opponent for world pound-for-pound king Pacquiao.
And now this.
Very sadly, just a few weeks ago Valero was believed responsible for spousal abuse that left his wife Jennifer (who was beautiful, 20, and the mother of their two children) with a punctured lung and multiple bruises. But she stood by her man, said it had happened falling down the stairs.
Then came the news yesterday that she had been found dead in the Intercontinental Hotel in Valencia, Venezuela — and that Valero had basically presented himself to the hotel security and announced that he was responsible. That act alone added a poignancy to the tragedy — as if Valero, however troubled, decided to face the music.
And then, 24 hours later, the news that Valero had committed suicide. In retrospect it shouldn’t have surprised anyone, least of all the Venezuelan police, who failed to consider him a suicide risk even though the signs were there.
The two deaths raise many questions and if this had all happened in the US, we would be watching Larry King and the rest of the talk show hosts covering this wall to wall. But it didn’t happen here, and Valero didn’t really have a profile here, and os it’s the fringe boxing press who is digging deeply into it, and the mainsream media is limiting coverage to a few brief articles. But make no mistake — this is a serious tragedy, and all it takes is to look at a picture of Jennifer Viera de Valero and the two children, along with Edwin, to feel the sadness of it.