Promoter Arum was grooming Valero for Pacquiao clash

By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Venezuelan boxer Edwin Valero, who committed suicide on Monday in a jail where he was held for killing his wife, was a "sensational" fighter who was being groomed to fight Manny Pacquiao, promoter Bob Arum said.

Arum, who co-promoted Valero's last two bouts, told Reuters that Valero (27-0) would have made an outstanding opponent for world welterweight champion Pacquiao, another of his fighters.

"He was a sensational fighter, sensational," Arum said in an interview from his Las Vegas office. "He was just electric. A complete crowd-pleasing style.

"I was grooming him as a great future opponent for Manny Pacquiao. That would have been a sensational fight."

Arum said he did not know Valero very well, but despite hearing rumors of drug and alcohol troubles for the Venezuelan had not seen evidence of that himself during several meetings.

"The times I met with him, he was very polite, very reasonable," Arum said.

"I had heard stories about drug and alcohol abuse ... but I never realized the magnitude of it.

"The few times I met with him he seemed perfectly normal."

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)