Pitalua vs. Valero: Another Meza-Garza?
By Ted Sares - Antonio Pitalua, a Colombian who lives in and does all of his fighting out of Mexico City has a record of 46 (KO 40)-3 and a lofty KO percentage of 81.63. Twenty-nine of his stoppage wins have come in three rounds or less. He has stopped his last fourteen opponents in a row including the highly regarded Jose Armando Santa Cruz just this past weekend. Pitalua, 38 years old, won the interim version of the WBC lightweight title with an impressive sixth round upset win over the much younger Santa Cruz.
Article posted on 23.09.2008
In 2001, he lost a SD to tough Arnulfo “Chico” Castillo, 33-1-3 coming in, and in 2000, he dropped a close twelve round decision in Germany to Artur Grigorian, 30-0 at the time. At stake was the WBO lightweight title. One of his early victories came against Cosme Rivera who gave Andre Berto all he could handle. Another came against Saul “Baby” Duran, but mostly his opposition has been less than stellar. Still, an 82% KO percentage is nothing to sneeze at. Make no mistake, Pitalua can throw bricks..
Now, according to WBC president Don Jose Sulaiman, Pitalua will be matched to fight another KO artist, Edwin Valero for the WBC lightweight championship.
If this fight is, in fact, made, the potential for another Juan “Kid“ Meza-Jaime Garza classic presents itself. As aficionados will recall, Garza, was 40-0, with 38 knockouts (13 in the first round). "Kid" Meza, from Los Angeles, by way of Mexicali, was 49-9, with 37 KO’s. When they met back in 1984, most experts felt the heavy handed Garza would do the trick. But it was not to be. After being put on the canvas for the very first time in his 47-fight career early in the first round, “The Kid” came back and positioned himself to hook with the hooker. His got there first and that was that. Meza had beaten Garza to the punch with shocking effect. The icing was named 1984’s Knockout of the Year by KO Magazine.
Edwin “Dinamita” Valero is a Venezuelan, but like the Columbian born Pitalua, does much of his fighting out of another country--in his case Tokyo. His KO percentage is a perfect 100 having stopped all 24 of his opponents, some 19 in the first round. And like Pitalua, his level of opposition has been less than compelling. More importantly, he has only fought 49 rounds or an average of 2.04 per fight. Against a veteran like Antonio (who has 221 rounds under his belt), this could prove very troublesome.
Both fighters have been decked in their career. Valero was knocked down in the third round against Panamanian Vicente “El Loco” Mosquera, 24-1-1, before stopping Mosquera in the tenth round in a savage 2006 brawl (Valero‘s toughest fight to date). Valero’s wide punches also leave him open to short counters. In this regard, Pitalua should study the films of Valero’s fight against Genaro Trazancos (also in 2006) where many of his vulnerabilities were in evidence even though he won in two less than compelling rounds.
As for Pitalua, he was stopped by Jesus Rodriquez back in 1995 in a fight for the WBC Continental Americas lightweight title, but that was thirteen years ago.
So hopefully the stage is set. A 38 year old veteran with very heavy hands coming off a stunning KO victory over Santa Cruz vs. a heavy handed world champion who has yet to taste defeat. A fight tha features two lightweight bombers who can end a fight at any time, usually in the early rounds.
If this fight is made, it should be called “Don’t blink,” because if you do, you may well miss the ending. Neither fighter will add many rounds to his record in this one; bet on it!
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