By Jake Donovan
You have to love the confidence of Eleazar Valenzuela. The scarcely-known Mexican flyweight agreed to travel halfway around the world to serve as the opponent for two-time Olympic Gold medalist Zou Shiming. Their four-round bout serves as the HBO2-televised main event live from Macau, China.
Not a soul in the world outside of Valenzuela (2-1-2, 1KO) and his camp expect anything other than a spectacular showcase win for Shiming by fight’s end. But the fact that Valenzuela has such a supportive team behind him strengthens his belief that a major upset is on the horizon.
“I feel very strong for the fight with the Olympic Gold medalist,” states Valenzuela’s trainer. “We know all about his amateur career and the two Gold medals. We know it’s going to be a very tough fight. We don’t like to speak much. I only like to say one thing. Eleazor Valenzuela has a very big heart and we are going to win this fight.”
It’s going to take a lot more than just a big heart for Valenzuela to prevail. Thursday will mark just 11 full months in the pro ranks, coupled with a minimal amateur career. The bout on Saturday not only marks his first overseas appearance, but the first outside of his Mexican home state of Sinaloa.
Still, anything can happen when fighters lace ‘em up and the opening bell rings. Extra motivation to accomplish the unthinkable can only add to the equation.
“When that bell rings, he can make his mark,” promoter Bob Arum believes of the young journeyman. “He can change the lifestyle of his family. He can change his whole history, as long as he performs at the top level. Saturday will be a tremendous opportunity for Eleazar Valenzuela.”
His appearance during Thursday’s press conference at The Venetian Macau saw the Mexican humbly address the crowd through the aid of virtual translation. Whether or not he believes an upset is on the horizon can only be revealed on Saturday evening.
“I’m very excited to be on this card with all of these tremendous fighters,” Valenzuela stated. “To be in the main event has me very excited. I will deliver a great show on Saturday.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox