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Friday, October 31, 2014

Edwin Valero Adds to Disturbing Trend in Recent Boxing Deaths

Within the last three years at least five prominent boxers have died. One was an accident, three were suicides, and one was a murder crime. Most recently, Venezuelan lightweight champion Edwin Valero committed suicide by hanging himself in his jail cell early Monday morning after being suspected of killing his wife on Sunday. Valero had a reputation as quite the mauler given his 27-0 record by 27 knockouts. He had several problems with his wife over the past year and their deaths was the end result.

Back in July of 2009, Alexis Arguello was found dead at his home in Nicaragua, the victim of a gunshot to the chest that was ruled a suicide. Arguello was a champ in three different weight classes and had recently been elected mayor of Managua prior to his death. His son does not believe his father committed suicide. Arguello was 82-8 with 65 knockouts in his career.

Two weeks later, also in July 2009, Arturo Gatti was found dead at a hotel room in Brazil, the apparent victim of strangulation. His wife was initially suspected of strangling him with a purse strap but by late July she had been released from jail and the death had been ruled a suicide. Gatti was 40-9 in his career, a world champ in two weight classes, and part of a classic trilogy of bouts with Micky Ward.

Later in July of 2009 (damn, what an awful month), Vernon Forrest was shot and killed as part of an apparent attempted car jacking. Forrest seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and paid the ultimate price for being too macho. Forrest was a world champ in two different weight classes and went 41-3 in his career, two of his losses serving as memorable life lessons for me.

Back in May of 2007, former featherweight and lightweight world champ Diego Chico Corrales died in a motorcycle accident. Corrales was biking drunk and dealing with heavy financial problems during that time in his life. Corrales was 40-5 in his career and won one of the most memorable fights ever, a 10th round TKO of Jose Luis Castillo in May of 2005.

It’s truly sad to see such an awful fate befall these ring warriors. Boxing is extremely violent by nature so it takes a daring type of person to play the sport. That’s a kind way of saying you kind of have to have screws loose to get beat up for a living. Perhaps it’s no surprise that several of these boxers wound up part of shocking and disturbing deaths. What’s the lesson to be learned here? Don’t box. OK, just kidding. I just hope we don’t see any more sad stories like this in the future and boxers need to be careful about the lifestyle they lead and the company they keep, during and after their careers.



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