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Boxing Preview: Edwin Valero vs. Hector Velazquez

The hardest punching boxer on the planet returns to the ring tonight at Polideportivo Jose Maria Vargas in La Guaira, Venezuela as Edwin Valero defends his WBC lightweight title.

The occasion marks the first time in almost four years that the southpaw will fight in his native country and Valero meets experienced Mexican super feather Hector Velazquez.

Shortly after his streak of 18 first round knockouts came to an end in 2006, Valero won the WBA super feather crown by getting off the canvas to finish off Vincente Mosquera in the tenth.

Following four successful defenses, "El Dinamita" stepped up to lightweight and won the vacant WBC belt by gunning down Colombian slugger Antonio Pitalua in the second round this past April.

Now Valero, 25-0 (25), will try to retain his WBC bauble and perfect KO record against 66 bout veteran Velazquez, 51-13-2 (35).

34 year old Velazquez has been in with a laundry list of top fighters at feather and super feather, losing only to Manny Pacquiao, Israel Vazquez, Kevin Kelley, Robbie Peden and Rocky Juarez from 1999 to 2005.

The Tijuana resident has gone 1-2 over his last three appearances, losing a WBC feather title eliminator by a wide points margin to current WBC champion Elio Rojas last September.

This will be a very difficult fight for Velazquez to win as Valero can not only punch like no one else in the sport but is also lightning fast behind a solid southpaw stance.

Using his considerable experience, Velazquez must find a way to back up Valero and avoid getting caught cleanly by the Venezuelan.

Velazquez has a great chin, having only been stopped over the last 12 years by Manny Pacquiao, but if Valero can land his shots on the button, the contest is unlikely to go all 12 rounds.

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