© John Rivera Hoganphotos / Golden Boy Promotions
The American debut of boxing's top slugger at any weight, Edwin "El Inca" Valero, headlines a big show tonight at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.
Venezuelan southpaw Valero, 24-0 (24), knocked out his first 18 opponents in the very first round and won the WBA Super Feather title in August, 2008, climbing off the canvas to stop Vicente Mosquera in the tenth frame.
After four title defenses, all by stoppage, 27 year old Valero now comes to the US to contend for the vacant WBC Lightweight title against Mexico City based Colombian Antonio Pitalua, 46-3 (40).
At 39 years of age, Pitalua showed he can still compete at the highest level with a sixth round KO of ex-Interim WBC Lightweight titlist Jose Armando Santa Cruz in an WBC eliminator last September.
Iron-chinned Pitalua hasn't lost in nearly eight years and, having held regional titles as a light welter, and should be the bigger, stronger fighter in the bout.
The quick-fisted Valero has proved capable of knocking out everyone put in front of him at super feather but, he was never put in against top tier competition such as fellow world champion Cassius Baloyi or Humberto Soto.
It should be interesting to see if Valero can carry his power up to lightweight against an experienced opponent with proven ability to take a good shot.
There are a raft of ex-champions on the undercard in intriguing contests, all taking place at lightweight.
Former WBC Super Feather and IBF Lightweight titlist Jesus Chavez, 44-4 (30), squares off with former Interim WBO beltholder Michael Katsidis, 24-2 (20), in a battle of big-hearted volume punchers.
Ex-IBF Super Feather boss Carlos Hernandez, 43-7-1 (24), meets hot prospect Vincente Escobedo, 19-1 (12), while former two-time IBF Lightweight titlist Julio Diaz, 36-4 (26), goes up against Rolando Reyes, 30-4-2 (19).